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Posts: 7,866
Reply with quote  #1 
It's unfortunate that the site is kicking back up just as the seasons are winding down, and without a major tournament in the summer for us all to argue over.

So I figure to tide us over as we get the site active again, it would be good to catch up.
Giss has retired from coaching, AFB has stepped away a little bit, Ed is contemplating returning to England ...

As for me, I've re-entered the club world at the academy level.  I'm currently coaching 6 year olds, and having a blast.  I have one little girl who has her parents set up a chair on the sidelines for her teddy bears to watch her from, and another who can't remember which goal she is supposed to be attacking.  The sprinklers came on during practice yesterday, much to their delight.

I can't recall ever having worked with a team this young, so does anyone have any advice?  So far, we've been concentrating pretty much on 1 v 1 stuff, learning to control the ball.  Any other suggestions?  we do some passing, but for the most part, if they pass to their own teammate, it was a dribble that got away from them.  Lots of bunch ball, but they are showing improvement, even though most of the time they are just yelling "pass!" to each other.[biggrin]

"When you start, you may have to move tons of dirt to find a gold nugget .... but when you start mining for gold, you overlook the dirt."
-Andrew Carnegie

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'm new to the form.

I am a Director at a major club in region 2.

Still plugging away just getting ready for tryouts and regionals.

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Posts: 6,420
Reply with quote  #3 

Coaching the littlest is very rewarding. You will see improvement quickly giving you as a coach rapid, positive feedback.

To your questions. The most important attribute to bring each day is bubbling, effervescent enthusiasm. I mean over the top, larger than life joy. Harder still, you need to pour it out for the entire practice.

At this age their interests wander, they are distracted, their emotions are easily susceptible to other emotional outbursts. If you project constant, overwhelming joy at being there you will override their occassional negative bouts and infect them with a joy for the game.

Their attention span is short, so vary activities frequently, but have those activities still revolve around the day's theme. In otherwords, have constant games flowing every ten minutes to a different game, but in each game offer extra rewards for correctly performing the skill de jour.

Use breaks for water as a time to reset the field for the next activity.

I know much of this is old hat for you, but for any novice coaches avoid like the plague lines and lectures. Do quick demos of the skill and then go to the activity. Work with players individually within the activity to make corrections as opppsed to freezing play to make a correction and speech. Constant praise is the order for each practice.

Most activities at this age should involve one ball for each player and only about a third to a quarter of the practice should be one ball to two players (passing). Do not worry about the herd. With one ball to a player it will break apart for the herd is caused by players being attracted to the lone ball. With each having a ball the cause (in practice) is eliminated. When you conclude practice at the end with a brief game, welcome the herd for it becomes the equivalent of defensive pressure and will aid in the refinement of skills.

Obviously spend no time on tactics. Work is on ball manipulation. Constantly exhort the players to perform the skills with their heads up. I used to walk amongst them tapping their chins saying, "Head up!" When they can reasonably consistently play with their heads up you will have your signal that it is time to begin to introduce off the ball movement (tactics). As always it is movement that initiates the pass, not the onset of pressure.

Have fun!

Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."

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Reply with quote  #4 
Sounds pretty much like what I've been doing, the biggest challenge has been getting them back from water breaks when they're squirting each other with their water bottles.
One thing that I have noticed is that the later in the day it is, the more their attention wanders.  Any game we play past 5pm is a real challenge for them, and since we practice at 5:30, that's a real test.[biggrin]
And it took about 5 minutes to realize that the heads up challenge is key.  We played one team who wore the same colored socks as we had, and it was crazy.  The girls couldn't figure out who they were playing with.

"When you start, you may have to move tons of dirt to find a gold nugget .... but when you start mining for gold, you overlook the dirt."
-Andrew Carnegie

Posts: 2,832
Reply with quote  #5 
Well, I got back into club coaching for the first time since 2013.   I made it half way through the spring season before injuring my knee at work. Have been laid up for 3 weeks.  Probably part of the reason I found my way back to and-again - lots of time on my hands. 

I am also currently the head coach at a division I (large) high school in Ohio. I have been contacted this spring about applying for several open high school positions and have done so.  It's nice to be appreciated and wanted.   

I conduct team camps throughout Ohio and surrounding states through the summer. Come on knee!  Need to be healthy soon!  lol.

Have spent quite a bit of time tracking down out of publication soccer books. There are some great reads out there that have become difficult to find.

Whatever happened to.... Nah, don't want to go there.

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Posts: 5,581
Reply with quote  #6 
Retired, but still breathing. Just for the record, paulee
Be Impeccable with your Word -- Don’t Take Anything Personally -- Don’t Make Assumptions -- Always Do Your Best:

Posts: 1,206
Reply with quote  #7 
I am still coaching club soccer here in Region 3. Getting back into shape and looking to do the new B License. I recently had trip to Manchester England and was able to spend a week between the academies at Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool through a coaching buddy. Only got to watch a game at Liverpool's academy, but got to speak to coaches and watch training sessions at both Manchester City and Manchester United each day. It plan to make a post, but that has really given me a new perspective from first hand knowledge.
The Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With The First Step

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Posts: 14,627
Reply with quote  #8 

Its all about engaging with them.
Remember, these little'uns are experts at games....not the structured stuff us adults dole out, but Games
Great Games have simple 'rules', quick to recognise how to play and provide a positive reward.

I have even used the Challenge, Competiton, Consistency approach and diluted down to their level can be a blast
Give them Challenges, introduce light Competition with a Fun reward, let them all know when one of them has done the challenge correctly and the fastest.


Posts: 1,506
Reply with quote  #9 
It's good to see this place back! I have spent the past 2 1/2 years coaching field hockey...

Posts: 429
Reply with quote  #10 
Just stumbled back to this site and I was surprised and happy that it is back up and many old posters are here!

I have been pretty buy with coaching now that I am retired from work and can focus on it more fully. I am currently assisting with two girl teams U13&19 in the District summer program in MA, in the Fall I will move to Block Island where I Coach the Coed HS Varsity team (4th year coming up) and I the Spring I help out with the U6-U8 town program and try and help with a travel team here in Burlington.

I am so happy to find this site up and running again. I have bebefitted so much from it I the past.

Posts: 1,579
Reply with quote  #11 
Good to see the site making a comeback. It was a big help when I was coaching ulittles a long time ago.

After 18 straight years I won't have a kid playing soccer this year. (My youngest wrestles). But, helping to start an inner city club which is fun and a learning experience.

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