Training five- to six-year olds

Part 1 by Richard Moller (DOC and Head Coach at Maryland F.C.)

Comprehensive movement training has a profound effect on personal growth and should therefore be part of every play session for four- to six-year-olds. A one-sided fixation on exclusively soccer-specific objectives, benchmarks and activities is not age-appropriately and should be rejected automatically. To put it more bluntly, failure to provide a sufficient variety of physical activity disregards children’s needs and negatively affects their physical well-being, social integration, self-confidence and self-reliance. 

Understanding five- to six-year-olds

Physical potential:

Kids this age

1.    Have a strong desire to move and play

2.    Get tired quickly

3.    Are extremely flexible

4.    Have relatively undeveloped muscles

5.    Are not very coordinated

= So provide a variety of physical activities in every session!

Behavior:

Kids this age

1.    Are curious 

2.    Are extremely self-centered

3.    Focus primarily on the coach

4.    Have powerful imaginations

5.    Have short attention spans

= Kids’ relationship to the coach is extremely important!

Five- to six-year-olds form strong bonds with adults. For them, coaches and managers are people to look up to. To create and atmosphere in which children feel comfortable, adults must approach them with openness, warmth and believable enthusiasm. At this age level, the coach’s personality takes on enormous significance!

Part 2 will discuss how to choose age-appropriate objectives and activities