Johnston - Urbandale Soccer Club U6. Coaching Curriculum

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1 Johnston - Urbandale Soccer Club U6 Coaching Curriculum

2 JUSC U6 Theme: The Ball is Your Friend.

3 U6 Topic Finder Click topic and jump there. Coaching Introduction and Overview Coaching pillars of the game for U6 players Qualities of U6 players Practice Overview Game Overview and Parent Communication Practice Activities Word Game Mr. Wolf Body Parts Treasure Hunt Crab Soccer Chain Game Rabbit Shoot Around the World Bulldog Dribbling Relay 1,2,3 Go Gate Race Stuck in the Mud Red Light Green Light Scrimmage Two Goal Scrimmage Stinging Bees Lilly Pads Contact Info

4 U6 Coaches Curriculum Template U6 Coaching Introduction Keep it simple and FUN! At the U6 level, the primary concern is age appropriate activities geared toward frequent contact with the ball and making sure the players are having fun. One player, one ball activities, and various fun games are excellent compliments to small sided soccer at this age. 5 and 6 year olds are too young to be involved in any structured, organized soccer program. At most, they should be involved in fun activities that encourage them to explore their physical abilities, while including a ball with which to play. The soccer ball should be considered a toy. Make sure these are activity-based games and there should be no activities where players wait in lines to perform. Although sometimes we may mistake 5-6 year-olds for little adults, they are clearly not little adults. They have many years of childhood and development to enjoy before they are able to look at life in a similar fashion to adults. The reason for this is that they need time to intellectually, emotionally, and physically develop. Although we do live in the same world, the adults and children experience is quite different. Always treat children with care, patience and give plenty of encouragement. U6 Coaching Overview Goals for U6 coaches To set the foundation in their players to achieve the best long-term player development environment U5-U18. Why these are the goals for U6 coaches (Long term development plan) If you can set the foundation for your kids at this young age, they will have the best chance at becoming top players later on. Qualities of a good U6 coach Fun, patient, positive, animated, supportive, sensitive, encouraging, inquisitive, has a sense of humor towards themselves and the players, is willing to relate to kids and speak their language, accepts that five and six year olds playing the game will not look like soccer, refuses to discuss positions, tactics, or any other team concepts with players. Note that the words knowledgeable, experienced, or successful are not included.

5 Coaching pillars of the game for U6 players Using the 4 pillars of the game, here are some goals U6 coaches should have for their players. 1. Psychological Soccer is fun = I want to play more The ball is your friend = I want to touch the ball more The environment is fun = I like soccer with my parents and my coaches Understanding a Basic Soccer Vocabulary = I understand what do with the ball when the coach says: Stop Use the bottom/sole of my foot to stop the ball Start Start dribbling the ball by pushing the ball with my laces Hook Change the direction of the dribble with the outside of my foot Chop Change the direction of the dribble with the inside of my foot Drag Back Put my foot on top of the ball and drag the ball behind me 2. Technical Basic dribbling - does not need to be coached as much as it needs to be illustrated through games and activities played at practice o Learning how to use different surfaces of the foot Inside Outside Bottom Laces o Learning to slow down and stop with the ball o Learning to change direction with the ball o Looking up while dribbling o Keeping the ball close 3. Tactical None No positions, formations, passing patterns, or tactics should be discussed 4. Physical Learning how to move and use their body o Running o Jumping o Tumbling o Stopping o Starting o Using body at different speeds Why these are goals for U6 players (Long term development plan) o These are staples of great players at older ages and while important, do not need to be mastered yet, but simply introduced and shown in some capacity by the coach. o These qualities are important to have in your mind for your players, but keep in mind that not all players will acquire these skills and traits while they are with you.

6 Qualities of U6 players Focused on themselves - reality to them is solely based on what they see and feel Little concern for team activities individually-oriented. Enjoy playing, not watching - make sure every player has a ball in training so they are always playing. They feel no enjoyment from watching others play when they could be playing too. Short attention span - on average 15 seconds for listening, minutes when engaged in a task. Keep activities short and simple, keep lectures to a minimum and make your directions clear, concise and to the point. Typically have 2 speeds - extremely fast and stopped. They re constantly in motion. No sense of pace; they will often run until they drop. Heating and cooling systems are less efficient than adults - give frequent water breaks (every 8-10 minutes) or they may just run until they cannot run anymore Effort is synonymous with performance - if they have tried hard, they believe they have done well. This is a wonderful quality and we should be supportive of their enthusiasm Active imaginations - utilize their imaginations in training activities and they will love training! Unable to think abstractly - asking them to think about spatial relations, positions or runs off the ball is unrealistic Unable to see the world from another s perspective - it is the world according to me time. Asking them to understand how someone else is seeing something or feels is unrealistic Everything is in the here and now - forget about the past and future, they live in the moment. Look for adult approval - watch how often players look to you for approval or to see if you are looking. Be encouraging when they say Coach, look what I can do! Usually unaware of game scores - we should keep it that way Often like to fall down just because it s fun - they are just children having fun Often cannot identify left foot vs. right foot - they know which foot they use most and if they point to their feet you can help teach them left and right

7 Practice Overview Practice structure and ideas Practice Time should be anywhere between 45 min - 1 hour. Depending on your coaching style/organization players will benefit from a filled 45 minute session or a relaxed hour. We encourage you to combine your practices with 1 or 2 other teams. This will allow you to have at least 2 coaches present which will keep the practice flowing regardless if an individual player needs some special attention. (players laces need tying or emotions are running high) Have a plan for your practices. Do have games/activities mapped out that you wish to play. Understand that you will have to BE FLEXIBLE because of many factors (weather, attendance),but primarily due to the fact that U6 players are unpredictable. Balance your practices with activities that are competitive and those that are not. Some players enjoy the thrill and pressure of competing against others, while some players will enjoy activities that allow them to go at their own pace and compete against themselves. Be understanding of different personalities and be sure to praise all players for working hard. The majority of practice should have the kids with a ball each to maximize touches on the ball, fun, and to foster a mentality that they want the ball at their feet. Activities which have more players than soccer balls (scrimmaging for example) can be done but are not as beneficial for kids developing a relationship with their soccer ball. Repeating Activities - Do not be afraid to repeat activities that the kids like or that work well for your group. Often times after the kids have played a number of games, you can ask them what they like the best. Ask your players questions. Take time during practice to ask about their day, what they had for dinner, what their favorite movie is, and if they have any brothers and sisters etc. Showing that you care about your players will slowly generate a positive environment for your players and will help them become comfortable with practices, games, and soccer in general. Also, it will make coaching more fun for you to get to know their personalities and to hear the wonderful things that come out of 4-6 year olds.

8 Game Overview Have a warm-up game for the kids to play upon arrival similar to a practice activity to get them enjoying themselves. Have a parent or assistant coach sit with the players on the bench who are not are not actively participating to keep them somewhat engaged and under control. Stay calm, positive, encouraging, and supportive. Do not let the added atmosphere of goals, sidelines, parents, opposition, and opposing coaches change your attitude or demeanor towards your kids. The environment can be a lot for kids to handle. As long as you are there and helping each player to enjoy the game it will be a positive experience for the kids that they can be proud of. It is ok if your players crowd the ball like a swarm of bees. It is a great instinct that the kids want to go get the ball. Do not give out tactical advice such as: o Positions o Formations o Set-Plays When the ball goes out of play encourage your kids to dribble the ball in. This is a great time to give players who normally do not get chances to touch the ball during the game to do so. Try not to encourage Booting it, Kicking it, or Smacking the ball. Players at this age benefit the most from touching the ball again and again. The ball is your friend. Parent Communication o o Take the time to write a short pre-season to your team and a few brief updates during the season. Frame what your goals are for the team, what you are trying to get the kids to do, and how the parents can help and support you. The more you can include your parent group in what is happening with soccer the better they can talk and relate to their kids about the game. Also, this way, if questions or issues arise during the season, you have an to point to and discuss. Emphasize the importance of dribbling the ball at this age to the parents. Explain that you are trying to improve ball skill within your team by encouraging the kids to keep the ball close and to generally look after the ball. Discourage parents from saying things such as Boot it out, Clear it, Whack it or Smack it.

9 Activities for practices Combine 3-5 of these games to form your practice plan. Remember to mix up the competitive to passive games and try to maximize the time each player has with the ball. Activity #1: Word Game { field 30 x 20 } Why play Word Game? : o Players keep ball close so they can put their body part on the ball quickly o They stop the ball with the bottom of the foot to gain control The players dribble the soccer balls around the field. The coach will shout out word (examples below) that has to do with an activity the kids can perform with the ball. Stop: Stop and put your foot on the ball Start: After the ball is stopped, start dribbling again by pushing the ball with your laces Stop and Hop: Stop your ball and hop over it Drag Back: Drag the soccer ball underneath your body with the bottom of the foot and dribble the opposite direction Hook: Hook the ball with the outside of your foot to change the direction of the dribble Chop: Chop the ball with the inside of the foot to change the direction of the dribble Tornado: Spin in a circle without the ball while dribbling Toe Taps: Tap your feet on top of the ball alternating Right and Left foot Penguin: Touch the ball as quick as you can with the inside of each foot Be creative and make up some of your own words.

10 Activity #2: Mr. Wolf { field 30 x 20 } Why play Mr. Wolf? : o Keeping ball close so they can keep it closer to the starting line (safety) o Stopping the ball with the bottom of the foot to gain control o Turning with the ball backwards when it is dinner time to get away from Mr. Wolf or defender The players line up at one end of the field with a soccer ball with the coach Mr. Wolf, in the center. The players take it in turns to ask What time is it Mr. Wolf? If you say for example 6 o clock they must take 6 touches on the dribble towards the opposite side of the field. If you say dinner time, they must turn and dribble back to the start line while you try to pick up their ball before they get there. Repeat a number of times. Activity #3: Body Parts { field 30 x 20 } Why play Body Parts? : o Players keep ball close so they can put their body part on the ball quickly o They stop the ball with the bottom of the foot to gain control. The players dribble the soccer balls around the field. The coach will shout out a body part, for example the head. The players must try to stop the ball without using the hands and place that part of the body on the ball. Repeat using different parts of the body. For variation the players could complete a forward roll or a tumble before they control the ball.

11 Activity #4: Treasure Hunt { field 30 x 20 } Why play Treasure Hunt? : o Players keep ball close so they are able to knock over the cones o Players learn to slow down, as they approach the cone o Keep your head up, so you can see where the next cone is Each player has a ball. Place cones on the field and hide a small item such as a coin which represents the treasure under a cone. The players dribble round the field and aim to knock over the cones with their ball. The first player to find the treasure wins the game. Repeat a number of times. Activity #5: Crab Soccer { field 30 x 20 } Why play Crab Soccer? : o Players keep ball close so they are able to keep the ball o Players learn to change direction, as they approach the crabs o Keep your head up, so you can see where the crabs are The players start at one end of the grid with the coach or a selected player sitting in the crab position in the center of the field. The players aim to dribble to the opposite end of the grid with the coach trying to kick the balls off the field while staying in the crab position. Any player caught joins the coach in the middle of the field and the game continues. The last player to get caught wins the game. Repeat with different players in the center.

12 Activity #6: Chain Game { field 30 x 20 } Why play the Chain Game? : o Players keep ball close so they are able to keep the ball o Players learn to change direction, as they approach the chain o Keep your head up, so you can see where the chain is The players have a ball each and line up at one end of the field. The coaches or two selected players stand in the center and form a chain by joining hands. If the chain is broken the players must join hands again before they continue with the game. The players aim to dribble past the two defenders in the center to the opposite end of the field. If a player s ball is kicked out of play they must join the chain or form a new chain. The last player left in at the end of the game is the winner. Activity #7: Rabbit Shoot { field 30 x 20 } Why play Rabbit Shoot? : o Players keep ball close so they are able to hide behind the ball o Players use the sole of the foot to stop the ball The players are lined up at one end of the field with a ball each. The coach stands at the opposite end with his back to the goal. The players dribble forward to the line opposite. When the coach turns round pretending to shoot them they must lie down and hide behind their ball. If they do not get behind the ball in time they must return to the start line. The first player to reach the coach at the end line with their ball is the winner.

13 Activity #8: Around the World { field 30 x 20 } Why play Around the World? : o Players keep ball close so they are able to change direction o Players keep their head up, so they can see where they should be going The players dribble around the field keeping their ball under control. Give each corner of the square the name of a country or place. When the coach calls out a country the players must dribble the ball to that corner of the field. The coach on occasions should call out more than one country so the players have to change direction. The last player to get to the corner loses a life. For variation the players have to perform a tumble or a roll before they set off. Activity #9: Bulldog { field 30 x 20 } Why play Bulldog? : o Players keep the ball close so they do not lose it to one of the bulldogs o Players keep their head up so they can see where they should be going o Change direction with the ball to take it past one of the bulldogs The players line up at one end of the field with a ball each. Select yourself or one player to stand in the middle of the field and attempt to stop players reaching the opposite end of the field. If a player reaches the opposite end of the field they stay in the game. Any player whose ball is kicked out of play joins the players in the center. Repeat until all the players have been eliminated. The last player to get knocked out wins the game.

14 Activity #10: Dribbling Relay { field 30 x 20 } Why play Dribbling Relay? : o Players keep their head up so they can see where they should be going o They can take bigger touches when they have space o They can take smaller touches as they dribble around the cone The players are in teams with each player lined up at one end of the field with a ball. The first player in line has to dribble the ball up to and around a cone 25 yards away, taking at least 3 touches before returning to the line and tagging the next player. The next player in line completes the course and repeats the process until the whole team has gone. The first team to complete the course wins the race. Activity #11: Go { field 30 x 20 } Why play Go? : o Players keep the ball close so they do not lose it to their opponent o Change direction with the ball to take it past a player Put the players into two teams and place two small goals at either end. The teams line up on either side of their goal. Each player is given a number with players on both teams having corresponding numbers. The coach calls out a number and the players run out and play one v one until a goal is scored or the ball runs out of play. The coach calls out another number to continue the game.

15 Activity #12: Gate Race { field 30 x 20 } Why play Gate Race? : o Players keep the ball close and slow down so they can dribble through a goal o Players keep the head up so you can see the next gate to dribble to Set up 4 6 small goals { 2-3 yards wide } and give each player a ball each. The aim of the game is for the players to dribble through all the goals without knocking over any of the cones. The first player to complete the course wins the race. For a variation the players have to perform a roll or tumble at the start of the race. Activity #13: Stuck in the Mud { field 30 x 20 } Why play Stuck in the Mud? : o Players keep the head up so you can see the players to set free o Players keep the ball close and slow down so they can dribble through the player s legs Select 1-2 players or yourself as the tagging players. All the other players have a ball each and dribble around the field aiming to avoid the tagging players. If a player is tagged they stand still with their legs apart and hold the ball above the head. They can be set free by one of the dribbling players passing the ball through their legs. Play this for a minute or until all the players have been caught. Change tagging players after each game.

16 Activity #14: Red Light Green Light { field 30 x 20 } Why play Red Light Green Light? : o Players keep the head up so you can see when you stop or go o Players use the sole of the foot to stop the ball The players have a ball each and line up on the end line. The coach stands on the opposite side of the field and either calls out red or green or holds up a red pinnie or a green pinnie. If the players see a red pinnie they need to stop and if they see a green pinnie they need to go. The first player to get to the end line opposite wins the game. Repeat a number of times. Activity #15: Scrimmage { field 30 x 20 } Why Scrimmage? : o The players want to play The teams play 3v3. If the ball goes out of play the players can dribble the ball back into play.

17 Activity #16: Two Goal Scrimmage { field 30 x 20 } Why play Two Goal Scrimmage? : o The players want to play The teams play 3v3 and can score in either one of the two goals. If the ball goes out of play the players can dribble the ball back into play. Activity #17: Stinging Bees { field 20 x 15 } Why play Stinging Bees? : o Players have to keep their eyes up to see the coach o Players have to change direction frequently with the ball o Players love to hit the coaches with the ball The players have a ball each and act as if they were bees with the coach aiming to avoid them. The aim of the game is for the players to sting the coach by striking them with their ball on or below the knee. Every time they sting the coach they get a point. The player with the most points wins the game. Play each game for around one minute changing the player in the center each time.

18 Activity #18: Lilly Pads { 20 x 15 } Why play Lilly Pads? : o Players keep the head up so they can see which lilly pad to go to next o Players must keep the ball close and be able to stop the ball on the lilly pad with the bottom of their foot and start the ball quickly to get to the next one The Players have a ball each and when the coach says Go they try to stop their ball with the bottom of their foot on as many cones(lilly pads) as they can before the coach says Stop. Repeat a number of times and encourage players to set a high score. To progress, set different colors of cones around the field and tell players to dribble freely around the field while occasionally saying a color. Players then have to get to that color quickly as only one player is allowed on each cone. Whoever does not get to a cone should do a goofy/fun exercise. Questions If you have any questions/comments/issues please direct them to Tim Dobberfuhl: U6 Director Tim Dobberfuhl (972)

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