U4-U6 Player Development
The U4-U6 age group is truly a magic time in a players development.
This is the time where kids are naturally curious and love to play. With a little direction, they will go for hours and hours. These are the times when you parents get stuck at the fields because they just don’t want to leave – and it’s probably because they want to climb on the goal or hit the swings.
Here are a few key factors to acknowledge about the U4-U6 age group. You might not believe me on all these – but they are true!
They are kids… NOT adults – therefore they will act like kids, not adults. Be ready because it can be a test of patience. Avoid yelling at them. It sets in their mind that something is bad (because of the yelling), and if they are yelled at every time they are at soccer then the logical conclusion is that soccer is bad.
They are curious – they will be distracted by shiny objects!!! Or butterflies, or birds, or loud noises, or dirt! Ahhh! How can you be distracted by dirt? It doesn’t even make sense… oh yeah, they are not adults that’s right. Be ready for any and all shiny objects.
Their imagination is dialed way way up. Isn’t it amazing how kids can just sit and play imagination games. And how about all the imaginary friends in the room playing with them. Kids have their imaginations turned on High. This is great! Take advantage of this and play, play, play. Games are good. Rediscover being a kid and put that imagination to good use. Caution: Kids get scared… many times this is because their imagination. Walk carefully in the world of pretend.
They have to learn to listen to you – dedicate a minimum of 2 practices to TEACH them to listen to you. Little games like Simon Says will go a long way to help you establish the rules and command their attention. Set boundaries and expectations First!
Movement works – keep them moving. The second you stop and don’t have command of their attention you lose the battle. Every once in a while this will mean completely dropping your drill and having them follow you in a snake.
They lose attention no matter how great the lesson is – yep, they don’t really care how valuable the information you are giving them is… (not adults). Reasoning with them that they “Need to know this…” is pointless. For this age group hammer them with the actions and not so much the words. Keep them moving!
Showing them is better than telling them – be ready to demonstrate! They will need to watch you do the moves. Be able to break it down into a couple of steps for them. If you can’t demonstrate – use our videos and show those to them! They just need to see it! There is Power in Seeing… seeing is believing.
You are not their Parent (at least not all of them out there) – you are not responsible for the discipline of each and every individual kid. Discipline can be tricky. Calling on them to answer a question or lead a drill might help refocus a disruptive kid. If not send them to their parent. ***A Parent MUST stay at practice the entire time.*** You have the entire team to deal with and cannot lose your practice to 1 disruptive kid. That is the parent’s responsibility, not yours.
In games, there is 1 TOY ON THE FIELD. Encourage their desire to play with the 1 toy – yes all of them, and yes at the same time…
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Video: Power of Seeing
Seeing the moves is the fastest way to success! Either demonstrate or show them the video.
Warning: Patience Needed!
Watch and see that kids will be kids. Be patient and allow them to express their inner fun – it’s what makes the game great!