These are the youngest stars in soccer. I am intentionally omitting detailed descriptions of training methods or behavior patterns in playing.
Nevertheless, however, I would like in the foreword to dispose of something else in the training method for children: Years ago preschool kids were often put in gymnastics clubs to prevent physical inactivity right away. Body control was imparted there by targeted motor function drills combined with coordinative capabilities. The kids were introduced to other kinds of sports only later. Today, more and more children go directly to soccer, which means great responsibility of the trainers for the health welfare of the children. Only few fitness trainers are qualified for this activity.
There are many training programs that emphasize soccer training of kids too strongly. It is being attempted to bond the kids already to the sport of soccer so that the battle for numbers of participants against other kinds of sports is not lost. This is done at the expense of the kids, who can only rarely be comprehensively trained physically and mentally. Competitive games and soccer games, in small groups when possible, are indispensable for promoting the fun of doing things together.
Offer drills in your training units that induce children to deal with the group. This requires social competence, helpfulness, awareness of responsibilities, reliability, and ability to compromise. Each child has the feeling of helping the team by his activity and presence.
However, this is not enough by itself to encourage the children optimally. Not least, a number of resources are necessary to support the kids. Many groups have only wickets, marking plates, or poles in their equipment inventory. However, the kids also have to scramble or play with many different balls, for example.
The development of motor capabilities, the correction and prevention of postural problems, personality development, and the development of social skills, are the most important objectives in childhood training. Outings and other joint team experiences are also part of the program in the same way. A difficult and time-consuming task, but one that every trainer should be aware of. Children cannot be looked after just in passing.
As it is said so truly: "The smile of a child is the reward for my activity as a trainer!" However, how can I bring the "smile" to the faces of the kids? To deal properly with children as a trainer, some features of the psyche of children have to be known.
02. Concentration, action, curiosity and fantasy
Kids are very interested in everything that happens right around them. They want to have their own experiences and to move around constantly and variably. A child is not able to perform a time-consuming drill because of the many influences on the soccer field. They get tired quickly, so that the strong curiosity of the kids has to be aroused time and time again. Give the drill a name and a story line. The children like this fantasy world and will follow you better if spaceships, princesses, pirates, cowboys, and kings are involved. If they are school-aged kids, they have already used up their daily ration of concentration for school and homework. In soccer, the message is action and fun; adults don't always understand this.
03. Boredom and lack of understanding
Children have no time, they always want to experience something and discover something. For this reason it makes no sense to demand concentration on long-winded technique drills, or tactics, when possible. The kids will look inquisitive to you, but they don't understand at all what it is you want from them.
04. Carefree and clueless
It is impossible for a child to review his own actions. Freedom from care, cluelessness, and willingness to take risks oblige the trainer to show responsible leadership of all activities in the group.
05. Wellness factor
Provide optimal surroundings and a pleasant atmosphere for your soccer kids. This way you control the development of social behavior and lay the cornerstone for many beautiful years in the group.
06. Role models and rituals
Besides the child's mother and father, the trainer is often also a role model and thus leaves a mark on development. Always be conscious of your role model function in every action and with every word. This begins with a greeting and ends with departure. A little digression in this regard: Children love rituals! The greeting and departure are exceptionally suitable for this. A song, a saying, or a common circle are enough for an amazing ritual.
07. Pats on the back for personalities
Give each child a lot of praise, recognition, trust, and respect. Make the kids pay attention to their strengths; avoid responding to soccer shortcomings that play a role for the smallest ones, no matter what. This is the only way for the children to develop into stable, self-confident personalities in life and thus also in soccer.
08. Uncritical confidence-building
A child masters other tasks more easily when he has confidence in the sporting arts. You destroy the illusions of each child about his own abilities by criticizing. In the worst case, this can even lead to mental problems. If the child lacks recognition by his trainer, he feels socially unwanted, so never forget praise, praise!
If you recognize a sports deficiency in a child, it's up to you to correct this specifically. Criticism is not necessary to do this.
Never speak negatively about a child in the team group or around it. A breach of trust has devastating consequences and can seldom be repaired.
Treat the kids with lots of respect and trust, so that they can play soccer in an inspiring way, even after many years.
09. The most beautiful side effect in the world
Don't take up all the children's time with soccer. You have to leave enough room for school and other outside interests. The child is still becoming oriented, and should not be fastened on soccer games too soon, even though you would probably like to achieve that. The overall physical development of the child is in the spotlight, not the one soccer player, whether male or female.
10. Mental resilience
Everyone knows it for adults, but the mind plays an even bigger role for the physical strength of a child. Problems with the family, in school, and in sports can throw a child completely off the track. Anxiety can also lead to severe mental stress. Anxiety is always a poor counselor in training and game playing.
11. Victory or defeat
The concept of performance in soccer should not begin already in kids. Preschool children can't start off with that anyhow. Competition really is exciting, but it's quickly forgotten.
It's soon enough for the idea of performance to become prominent in adolescence. For adolescents, it's then a question of success or failure, victory or defeat. This is the attraction for adolescents, and soccer lives for them. But lack of success also often leads to leaving the group. Why do we want to do this to children, inasmuch as they define success or failure completely differently than we adults do?
© Jose Manuel Gelpi-Fotolia.com