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paulee

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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]

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ALAN

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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.
AFB

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Reply with quote  #3 
Paulee,

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!

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paulee

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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.

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"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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