I am sure many of you are beyond frustrated (as well as us) with the current situation and the current uncertainty of when youth sports will resume for our communities. About 10% of our soccer community; they have begun preparing for play to resume locally, or they have already resumed playing in out of state tournaments. However, what about the other 90% of our kids? The challenge is here and now, and best for parents and kids to be involved together (without their teams yet).
You do not need a large area of space for a field or a goal…None of that. All your kid needs is their ball, shoes, and water (to properly train and always prepared…a good habit for them when team training resume). Suppose you (as the parent/coach) have 4 cones…Great. If not, it does NOT matter. Tell your kid to grab 4 objects (cans, spare shoes, etc.), so they can set up a field to play/train. This is the crucial part of the parent’s role in their child’s development and love for the game. Get them outside in the open air!!!
Whether in the backyard (space permitting) or a nearby park take them to open space and have ‘them’ set up a field space of 10 to 15 steps between their ‘cones.’ This creates the “FUNdamental Square” for them to begin playing/practicing in.
Our District coaching courses show this activity/game to the coaches to use for their players beginning EVERY practice. It builds a routine for them, and it keeps the coach organized. Most importantly, it creates a playing field for the kids to build on their foot skills (critical, by the way), and they can also build up their fitness. It also creates an opponent every time…Themselves.
Start them dribbling around within the field, doing foot skills (with both feet), include a couple of foot skills that help build endurance, such as ‘toe touches’ on top of the ball, ‘boxing’ between their feet, etc. I have used these exercises with kids as young as 6 years old, so they can try (at THEIR pace…not yours) let them continue to TRY until they begin to improve. It WILL happen.
Please encourage them to do this for 5 to 10 minutes or until they start showing their boredom. Then, begin finding challenges within the same ‘game.’ Get them to start competing with themselves. Also, the more they are moving and putting energy into the ‘game,’ their fitness will improve.
We show this game to the coaches (along with their participation), show them the foot skills and calisthenics (boxing and toe touches), and add time factors into the game; something occurred. Coaches realized they could do up to 12 different skills (6 skills per foot equals 12 different ones), picked up more energy, and became stronger (more fit). No laps, hurdles, etc. They all have a purpose, but not needed for everyone.
If you don’t know those foot skills or want a better understanding of the ‘game,’ please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask your kid if they understand it. They may already know it from their other coaches (which is fantastic!!!). If not, let’s chat about it.
Hopefully, this will become a daily, individual, or family routine. Provide the opportunity to your kid and have fun!! More next month…HAVE FUN!!!!!