Part 2 of an incredible interview with Ralph Perez, coaching since 1974, so make notes!
7 Responses to “Paul Walmsley & The Soccer Coaches Show Episode 1879”
I have just started coaching a local club and I was wondering if you can give me some fun games I can play with my team, I can 3 year olds as well as 4 & 5 & 8 year olds, so am looking for fun games I can do with the little ones. I know traffic lights so any like this or any at all you could give me would be amazing! many thanks in advance!
Hello Emma, thanks for visiting the blog and also our Facebook fanpage!
I have coached kids in a Lil’ Kickers program from 18 months old and upwards and ran a very successful MiniSoccer program for a City Rec Dept so I have lots of experience with this age group.
The most important things to consider are:
1. You must control the parents.
With that I mean you have to let them know that while you are coaching, the only things the parents can say are simple comments such as “Well done,” “Good Job,” “Way to go” etc. They are not allowed to shout things like, “Kick the ball,” or “Kick it,” or even worse, “Wrong Way.”
If you don’t do this, all the kids will hear is lots of adults yelling instructions to them. This will take a lot of the fun away from the kids and will completely confuse them.
Also, you need to be in charge of water breaks and “boo boos.” You need to tell the parents that you will give specific water breaks and the parents are not allowed to let their kids go to them for extra water breaks, or adjusting of their socks or any kind of extra attention. Otherwise while you are working with the kids, they will start to drift off to mommy and daddy for attention and you will have lost them.
If any kid gets a “boo boo” make sure you get to them first and do your best to head them off before they run to mommy or daddy. If not, again you will lose control and at every opportunity the kids will go running off.
Sounds harsh, but I promise you after a while the kids will get used to it and so will the parents. (The parents will have the biggest difficulty with this!)
2. There is only one thing more contagious than enthusiasm and that is a lack of enthusiasm!
You have to be totally â€œUp for itâ€ and full of energy and enthusiasm and your players will respond to you and match you. If you are not very enthusiastic, they will catch on to it and you will struggle.
3. Avoid having the kids standing in line. Not only do they participate less when stood in line, but they also then get bored and get up to mischief!
4. Keep them busy!
Have them so tired at the end of the practice that they are buzzing, have rosy cheeks and they are talking a million miles an hour, they will want to come back and so will their parents.
5. Best way to keep them busy is to have them work with their own ball as much as possible and give them lots of simple task such as rolling it, using the side foot, inside/outside of the foot, stopping the ball with the bottom of the foot etc.
6. USE TENNIS BALLS
One of the best tips I can give you is to give them a tennis ball each at the beginning of practice. Then have them do skill work with the tennis ball. This will first of all prevent them from smashing the ball around and chasing it because that is hard to do. Also, by having them work with tennis balls, that trains them to use light touches and get away from just kicking it. As a bonus, you will completely command their attention as they focus on the tennis ball and you will look like a genius as suddenly all of your players are quiet, focusing on their skills and you have their full attention!
7. Use fun games, â€œNon Directive Coaching.â€
By using fun games such as â€œTraffic Lights,â€ â€œShark Attack,â€ â€œCrab Soccerâ€ etc. You will keep them busy, give them lots of touches on the ball and they will have fun.
Finish the practice off with a simple small sided scrimmage. Split the team into 3 small sides, reds/yellows/blues.
Have reds play yellows with blues waiting, after 3 minutes or so swap reds for blues and continue rotating. Donâ€™t let any one team dominate, mix up the players if necessary and you be on the field to play as a free player for either team and show off a little as well as get the ball if they are playing bunch ball, pass the ball into space to spread the play out.
So a typical 60 minute session may look like this
Welcome and Warm Up 5mins
Fun Game 10mins
Water Break 2mins
Skill work with tennis balls 12mins
Fun Game 10mins
Water Break 2mins
Warm Down and home skill assignment 5mins
Hope this helps. I haven’t gievn you any specific fun games, there are millions of the on the internet. I do have a bunch of them if you would like me to pass them on to you.
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thank you so much for your reply! that has been very insightful and helpful and a lot of points made has made me think more about things that I had not before so a big thank you for that!
If you could pass on those games to me that you have that would be great! and a big help for me trying to help little ones in under privileged areas/backgrounds which i am volunteering to do so any thing you can give me i am sure they would enjoy!
The idea of the games to use at the beginner level is to give each player as many touches on the ball as possible. At the ealry stages it is all about touches on the ball. Too early for passing or shooting or controlling the ball. Everything is designed to just have the players running with or dribbling with the ball.
Quick clarification. When a player is running with the ball they are just usually kicking it out a short distance in front of themselves into space and then running after it. So, typically the player finds himself with space in front and kicks it forwards and advances towards the opposite goal usually.
Dribbling the ball describes running with the ball but with the ball much closer to the players and lots more touches. When dribbling the ball the player is usually trying to get past an opponent and often has to change direction a number of times. Dribbling the ball requires much closer control and many more lighter touches on the ball.
So, at first concentrate on games that involve both running with the ball and dribbling with the ball. That’s it, no complex passing drills or shooting etc, just simply work with the players so that they feel comfortable on the ball.
Recently Miriam Hickey was interviewed by Soccer America, Miriam was the US Youth Soccer’s 2008 Competitive Coach of the Year and she is also on Michigan Youth Soccer’s board as Recreation Director, here’s what she said, “At age 7 and 8 we don’t worry about passing. Let them dribble. If he loses the ball too many times his teammates will tell him , “Hey I was open, give me the ball.”
So, games are based upon players having the ball at their feet and being “chased” by the coach and other players, so that they have to run with the ball and dribble the ball to safety.
The games can have all kinds of topical names such as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Transformers,” “Space Invaders’” “Crab Soccer’” etc.
Here is a simple one to start off with:
Mark out a suitable sized area with cones and then in the middle of the area mark out a smaller circle with cones that is the “island.” Outside of the island and out towards the outer cones is the “sea.”
You are the “Shark” and the players have to “swim” with their ball in the sea. Teach them how to “swim” with their ball by keeping it close to their feet and touching the ball as lightly as possible.
All of a sudden, you become the “Shark”and yell, “Shark Attack!” The players then dribble their ball to the island and have to stop the ball on the island with the bottom of their foot to be safe from the shark. The “Shark” tries to chase each player in the sea and kick their ball out of bounds. If the shark is successful, that player then becomes a shark as well and joins you to chase the other “swimmers.”
You can be creative and come up with your own versions of the above game and call the game something more topical or something more appropriate for your players.
Another game is “Crab Soccer.” This is a game that involves the players trying to dribble from one line to another line past some of their teammates who are on the ground and moving like crabs across the ground trying to kick the other player’s balls out of bounds. If successful the player then becomes a crab and joins the crabs until there is one player left and they all go after that one player.
So, no rocket science here, just fun games that involve each player having lots of touches on the ball as they run with and dribble past their opponents.
Be creative with games like these, make them simple and fun. Run your ideas by me if you like.
Hope this helps! Let me know!
Hi again! Great tips! Please please please do email me some more games like you have mentioned above! It wiuld be a massive help! Many thanks in advance and you have my email address! Thanks again
OK Emma, I will pass on some more to you. Let me know how your practices go and ask more questions. Good Luck!
By the way Emma, did you watch the video on Tips and Advice for Coaching Under 6 Soccer?…you got a mention!