Hey Coaches! Week 5 already!? This season is flying by! It has been so great to see every team having fun over the first 4 weeks. Remember, our goal is to help teach our players all while having fun. The more fun that they are having the more they will learn (whether they realize it or not!).
As I’m sure you have all noticed, the attention span of kids at this age is quite small, and it can be a challenge to keep drills or games going. Sometimes it’s tough to even get them motivated. One way to help motivate your team is to always be vocal. What I mean by this is to always be encouraging them (celebrate every good pass or kick or goal). Talk to your team, get down on their level (get down on your knees while you talk). Have fun. Kids love it when we act ridiculous and crazy. Enthusiasm goes a long ways with 4 year olds. If you’re not having fun, the kids won’t either.
Also remember that most of the kids are competitive. This is a great thing that as coaches we can use to help motivate them if they are struggling to pay attention. Obviously, there is a certain way to do this. We don’t want to create a bad attitude in them, but we can encourage them to see who’s the fastest, or who can kick the hardest? Don’t actually keep track of this, but it can be a useful tool to get them to do something.
Today we’ll be working a little on kicking. Here are some kicking pointers:
We never kick with our toes. This hurts, and also we cannot aim with our toes. Say “no more big toe!” if they are kicking with their toes. Have players point out where their toes are and continually remind them not to use their toes.
Planting Foot - The foot that is not kicking should be beside the ball (not behind or in front), and pointing where you want to kick. The ball will go where your toes are pointing. If your foot is pointing to the side, the ball will go that way. Point this foot towards your target.
Kicking with Laces - Also known as the Instep Kick, you kick the ball with your laces. Feel your foot. Notice that big bone towards the inside, usually right along the side of the laces? You want to kick with that part of the foot. It’s the strongest part.
Kicking with the instep (inside of the foot) - This is like passing, but with a little more power. Biggest thing here is to open the body up so that the inside of your foot is able to hit the ball. Follow through with your leg.
1. Coach Says. Start off with this to get your players moving.
Played like Simon Says. Anything that gets those little guys moving goes. Use the whole body. Start without soccer balls for movement and stretches. Jog around the area, one foot hopping on each foot, high knees, skipping, kick your butt, etc.
2. 1-2-3 Kick
Line up balls in front of the net, one with each player. Have them wait their turn, and say, “1,2,3 (name) kick!” This will make them listen to you (hopefully), as well as not give them time to think. They won’t know when they are going to kick, and will help them not over-think shooting the ball.
3. Monster Kick
This game is practicing powerful kicks. Set up cones in a line to act as the “shooting line” where the players will shoot from. Have the kids kick the ball as far as they can *using proper technique*. Once they have all kicked, have them run and get their balls as fast as they can and dribble back. Be creative on how to encourage them to kick further and further. Have a coach or parent stand as a target, move the net out there, place a ball on a cone, lay down on the ground and have them hit you (it won’t hurt, they aren’t that strong :) )
4. Through the Hoop
I will have Hula Hoops out for you in the cart. Line the kids up and take turns kicking the ball (using laces) through the hoop into the net. Feel free to get down on your knees behind the hoop and have them shoot at you (again, this won’t hurt and they love it). As they kick the balls, have a coach or parent retrieve the balls so that you don't waste time having the kids do it. We want them to shoot as much as possible, and the faster they get the ball back the more engaged they will be.
5. Hit the Coach
We’ve done this before, but again, the kids love shooting at your. Don’t you feel loved? Feel free to have parents step in as well ;). Run around your area and have them players try and hit you. This is a valuable skill to learn as they are practicing their aim and hitting a moving target. As they get older and we work more on passing this is exactly what they need.
6. Balls in the bag
This is really just a way to clean up before the game, but we might as well have fun! Make sure everyone has a ball, and hold your ball bag open on the ground. Have them shoot their ball into the bag. Once all the balls are in, say something like, “what’s that? Oh no! There’s a hole in the bag!” and dumb all the balls out. Do it again, but maybe move the bag a little, or have them stand further back.
The horn will go at 4:30 to signal you to get ready for your game. The game will start at 4:35. If you are the first team listed you are the home team. The away team (second team) will come to you. Remember, the game is about getting lots of touches on the ball. Feel free to add a second ball. Score doesn’t count at all, we want to see lots of touches on the ball.
Here is the game schedule: