Coaching Kids Soccer
Coaching kids soccer can be difficult, because
young athletes seem to always be wandering in a different
direction! How can coaches keep their athletes’ attentions
and keep control of their practices? By mixing up activities
and using as many senses as possible, coaches give athletes
an outlet for their energy while still teaching them. By keeping
lessons short and focused, they also encourage athletes to
pay attention before being let loose.
Mix it Up
Coaching kids soccer requires one to
be innovative and always engaging. Kids do not stay focused
for long, so coaches must constantly invent new mechanisms
for keeping athletes excited about participating in soccer
and learning. To do this, coaches should rely on their own
creativity and try to involve as many senses as possible in
For example, when teaching a new skill, coaches
can explain orally the moves, involving listening and paying
attention. Athletes can repeat the soccer
coaching tips they've learned; this will ensure they pay
close their attention. Then, athletes can touch the soccer
ball and work on physically trying the new skill, using movement
and the sense of touch. Together, athletes stay engaged in
the lesson and the coach maintains control of the practice.
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Keep it Short
Coaches do not have much time with athletes
before their minds will begin to wander. To stretch out this
time and get more undivided attention from young athletes,
coaches should work to involve athletes by asking them questions,
asking them to repeat things just said, summarizing important
lessons, and making the session interactive.
Because of short attention spans, coaches should
keep lessons concise and very focused. By encouraging athletes
to pay attention to one lesson at a time, broken up by periods
of physical activity and reviews of material covered earlier
in the practice, coaches lengthen the amount of serious time
they have with young athletes.
Increase Interactivity When Coaching Kids Soccer
Youth today are not as able to sit and absorb
information as previous generations because of the readily
available media streams. They are now able to process multiple
inputs at once and often get bored or restless if they are
simply listening to someone talk at them. To reach young athletes
on their level, consider introducing interactive components
to soccer practice.
Coaches can use media in different ways during
practice. If there is a facility with a computer and internet
access, coaches can show athletes videos of famous soccer
players in competitions or demonstrating new skills the coach
has just taught. A good resource for this is youtube.com.
Coaches should remember that any internet usage by young athletes
needs to be heavily monitored by responsible adults to prevent
athletes from wandering to inappropriate sites or accessing
Those coaching kids soccer can also provide
written material or charts for older athletes who can read
and write. Charts could contain a list of what skills have
been taught, when they were first introduced, and the coach’s
assessment of how well the athletes perform that skill. For
written material, coaches can pass out brief instructions
about skills or a one-page review of what has been taught
to that point in the season.
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