Coaching Day 1: The U7s
October 7, 2010 3 Comments
So, just under 3 months after creating this blog and I’ve now completed my first coaching session! I spent an hour helping another guy/coach with his U7s side and it was a fascinating first experience. Oh, and by the way, when I say U7s what I really mean is 5-7 year olds.
There were a few interesting initial observations about the children who we were coaching. Firstly – their age range (as stated above), secondly – the mix of boys and girls, thirdly – the fact there were players from other villages and finally – there were quite a few there for the first time. This differed to my expectation whereby we’d be working with a fairly standard group of regular players who were all within the appropriate age group. Anyway, not that it mattered, but worth sharing my thoughts on that.
The session started with a warm up and the main coach used the game Sharks v Minnows to do this (or bull-dog, whatever you want to call it) which proved a fun and energetic way to start the session.
After that, we split the kids up in to two sections – he took one group and I took the other. This took some quick thinking because all the planning I had done before the session had assumed there I would have a football for each child, but I didn’t have this luxury. I’d also intended to start with a game of sharks v minnows but because we’d done this as a warm up (without footballs) I didn’t want to repeat it – time to think on my feet.
I tried a few games with the children, a group of around 10, over the course of the next 30 minutes. I tried Moves in Twos (from Level 1), a game of 5 v 5 scrimmage and I also did some basic passing. I learnt quite a lot in this 30 minute window and am quite happy to admit that at times I found it quite difficult. So, what did I learn?
- It was very difficult, bordering on impossible, to get every child to listen to my instructions. Even when my instructions were very brief.
- They were mainly interested in when they’d get to play a match
- They quickly lost concentrating when they weren’t involved (I feared this upon realising we didn’t have enough footballs for one each)
On the games I used:
Worked ok and kept each child fairly involved but I could see they were getting bored of it fairly quickly.
Worked reasonably well because it forced them to have more awareness of the other goals (I used 4 goals) so you could see them thinking a bit more about where the space was. The only downfall was that they defaulted to wanting a goalkeeper for each goal (interesting) and therefore a couple of the ‘keepers got a bit bored. I think this proved useful though so I’ll do scrimmage again next time but I’ll probably make the teams even smaller and create two pitches so that the kids get more touches of the football.
Moves in twos
I believe is too complicated for 5 – 7 year old children so I’ll probably not use this again.
So in summary, an insightful hour:
- It was useful because I now know what to expect next week
- Which means I can be more prepared and take along games which I know will be useful to the children whilst ensuring they’re simple to understand and implement
- One of the problems I knew I’d have is that I don’t know much about children of that age as I’m neither a parent, nor have I coached before
- However, I did try to ensure anything I did focussed on developing the kids technique, rather than on anything competitive (i.e. just a match)
- I introduced myself to as many parents as I could so that they knew who I was and why I was there
I’m really glad that I have now completed my first bit of coaching. I can build on this experience, get to know the kids better and understand more about coaching – learning as much from the other coach as possible in the process. Role on next week!
P.S Any tips on keeping their attention gratefully received!