Training five- to six-year olds

Part 2 by Richard Moller (DOC and Head Coach at Maryland F.C.)

Choose age-appropriate objectives and activities

1.    Enjoyment of the game: To create it, you have got to let children play freely, with a minimum of externally imposed rules. Let them try out activities, on their own or with others, and discover their own solutions.

2.    It is the experience that counts: Rankings and championships have no place at this age level. Organize play days and fun fairs that emphasize the experience of the game, where every child wins! Play areas and obstacle courses help to provide a wide range of physical activity.

3.    Emphasize comprehensive movement training: Utilize the basic building blocks for play sessions appropriate for this age level. A wide range of physical activities and games – ideally packaged in motivational stories – tie each session together. Soccer-oriented activities combine general motor skill training with soccer-specific content. And of course you will play soccer too, in small groups on goals, usually as the high point of the session. 

Appropriate and inappropriate objectives for five- to six-year-olds

Inappropriate objectives!

1.    Tournament/championships

2.    Focus on the score

3.    One-sided soccer training

4.    External interference

5.    Early specialization

Age-appropriate objectives!

1.    Play days, fun fairs

2.    Focus on play

3.    Wide range of activities 

4.    Personal development

5.    Broadly general training

Part 3 will address the three critical building blocks for this age group.