Monday, January 7, 2008

Coaching Youth Soccer

It is important to understand the reason youth players choose to participate in any sport. Sometimes players do not come to sport by their own choice, but rather by the choice of the parent’s. As a result, instructors need to give youth players something to get excited about.

We need to keep in mind that at a very young age learning to play soccer is secondary to most other things in their lives.

Let’s look at some things that we can do to energize youth players and hopefully get them to the point where they will learn enthusiastically.

Sessions should be geared around touching the ball as many times as possible. Involve the ball in each activity. Movements such as running, skipping, hopping, jumping, rolling, etc. must be emphasized to build coordination and athleticism. Players must develop the physical capacity to perform technical skills.

Training sessions should not last for more than 60-90 minutes. Physical fatigue is a factor and attention span is a consideration. Train once or twice a week.

FUN is the emphasis while working with the young age groups. Always remember the players’ physical and mental maturity. Each activity should accommodate the players’ level of understanding.

Team play and passing is a psychological threat for younger players. The player feels that if they pass the ball, they may never get it back.

Sometimes you will notice that teammates will steal the ball from each other. Frustrating to the coach for sure but normal behavior and logical if you understand things from the child/player’s perspective. The coach must understand and accommodate this perspective.

This article was featured in the Scuola Calcio Magazine

Scuola Calcio Coaching Magazine is aimed to improve youth players from the age of 5 and up. Every activity will be specifically targeted to the appropriate age group.

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