How to coach pre-school children

It is important to understand at the outset that players coming to any sport prior to the age of 6 years old, in general, do not do so by their own choice. As a result, their coaches need to give them something about which to get excited. Further, at this age, learning to play soccer is secondary to most other things in their lives.

With the above assumptions, let’s look at some things that we can do to energise the U-6 players, and, hopefully, get them to the point where they will enthusiastically initiate the sign up for next year.

Each session should be geared around touching the ball as many times as possible. Basic movements such as running, skipping, hopping, etc. need to be emphasised. If these can be done while kicking, catching, rolling, or dribbling a ball… all the better.

Training should not last for more than one hour. This is primarily due to physical fatigue and attention span considerations. Train once or twice a week.

Have as many different kinds of activities ready as you can get into one hour. The emphasis must always be on FUN.

Encourage your children to bring their own size 3 or 4 ball.

Although your children may be very much the same age chronologically speaking, their physical and/or mental maturity may vary by as much as 36 months. You need to be aware of this and plan your activities accordingly.

Team play and passing is an alien concept to these players because they know that if they pass the ball, they may never get it back. In fact, they often will steal it from their own team-mates. So don’t be concerned if they won’t pass, just let them dribble to their heart’s content.

Plan for at least four 90 second drink breaks, especially in warmer weather. Their “cooling system” is not as efficient as in older players.