Coaching Children Ages U6/U8 – Part 2

This is the second in a three-part series on coaching children at this young age.  Look back to the previous month to view the first part.

Introduction

Children at these ages are being introduced to just how much FUN it is to play soccer.  By providing a safe and fun environment you can ensure a positive experience for the children.

You are coaching because you care for children.  You may not even know much about soccer (well, not yet anyway), and that is OK!  What you bring to the soccer field as their coach is your personality!  Your enthusiasm for them will show through any misgivings you might have about your soccer coaching abilities.  Remember that these children may not remember what you teach them about soccer, but they will always remember how you make them feel. READ MORE

Do you believe in Miracles? YES!

40 years ago, Al Michaels gave us this unforgettable call in the final seconds of the USA / Soviet Union Olympic Hockey Game.  Sports Illustrated named the “Miracle on Ice” the top sports moment of the 20th century.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary, our local sports stations have interviewed several players from that Gold Medal-winning USA Olympic team.  Recently I heard an interview with Rob McClanahan.  What I found of interest was what he said about his personal preparation for the August USA tryouts. READ MORE

Coaching Children Ages U6/U8 – Part 1

This is the first in a three-part series on coaching children at this young age.

Introduction

Children at these ages are being introduced to just how much FUN it is to play soccer.  By providing a safe and fun environment you can ensure a positive experience for the children.

You are coaching because you care for children.  You may not even know much about soccer (well, not yet anyway), and that is OK!  What you bring to the soccer field as their coach is your personality!  Your enthusiasm for them will show through any misgivings you might have about your soccer coaching abilities.  Consider this:  these children may not remember what you teach them about soccer, but they will always remember how you make them feel. READ MORE

New to Coaching? What to focus on.

You just got talked into coaching your first soccer team.  CONGRATULATIONS! 

Here are FIVE tried and true suggestions for you.

Be Positive

If you want players to come to practice, respect you, have their parent’s respect you, the other coaches respect you, and – yes – even the referees respect you . . . be positive.  Look for little “victories” with each player and compliment them when they succeed.  Success breeds success.  Sarcasm and negativity will tear a player down rather than build them up. READ MORE

Where are the skills?

Have you watched a youth soccer practice or asked your 5th grader about their soccer unit for gym class lately?  What are your observations?

I have, and as a lifelong soccer coach it scares me.  What I have been seeing in the classroom and on the soccer field is an emphasis on playing games at the expense of time spent on individual skills.

Now we all know that the kids, when asked what they want to do, will say enthusiastically “PLAY.”  Not surprising is it.  Playing is FUN, and that is why soccer is such a success with youth in and out of the classroom. READ MORE

Kindergarten Cop and Coaching

There is an old Arnold Schwarzenegger film called “Kindergarten Cop.”  In it, Arnold becomes a substitute kindergarten teacher who barely made it through the first day!  He felt totally overwhelmed and under prepared.

That is how many of us begin our coaching careers – feeling overwhelmed and under prepared.  That anxiety can lead to fear, even before you take the field for the first time with your team. 

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”  Mandy Hale READ MORE

First Touch Is Still King

Jϋrgen Klopp is a hot commodity these days.  You see him interviewed all over the internet.  He is a great interview, loves the camera and most importantly has some excellent advice for us novice coaches.

He was asked to give some advice to players and coaches.  Here is what he said, “The more you do with the ball – the more you play with the ball – the better you will get.  Nobody should think that any world class player recognized when he was 10 (years old) ‘there’s a ball.’  That makes it quite easy then for youth coaches, because we have to start with technical things . . . The first touch for example.  (If) the first touch is perfect – and everyone can train the first touch – then you have time to see what’s around you.  If you take 5 seconds to control this thing of leather (the ball) then everything has changed around you.”[i] READ MORE

US Women’s National Team Has Fun!

Watching the US Women’s National Team win the World Cup was a joy for me.  It was not just the victories nor the celebrations by the players and the fans.  It was the tremendous skill seen by player after player, all executing at such a high level and at such a pace.

It was Morgan’s Cruyff move for a goal verses Thailand or her laces volley verses Japan, Heath’s fake shot to the outside and goal verses Sweden,  and  Rapinoe’s inside of the foot no panic pass to the back of the net verses England that I loved to see. READ MORE