Saturday, December 8, 2012

Second U4 "Active Start" Session

On Saturday morning, with the continued help of the parents, we had a very productive session.

12 players and 12 parents for 50 minutes.

I think that last week parents thought I was a little crazy for having every player with an adult at a sports session.  They were supportive, co-operative and helpful, but I think they were still wondering what I was doing.  By the end, we were on the same page.  Today they were with the program from the first minute and the progressions went smoothly.

The Active Start stage of LTPD is one of the most important, in my opinion.  It sets the stage for a patient and nurturing training environment.  It also helps parents understand that they need to remember what age their children are and what's appropriate in terms of information and situations. 

The parents worked hard today.  :)  Some were sweating and they were whooping it up with their children and the other players.

Why not involve the parents?  So much good comes of it:
  • MOST IMPORTANT.  The children have the person who loves them most close by and are comfortable doing all of the activities.  So you get a full session from each child.
  • The session stays organized.  Easier to coach.
  • Parents are directly involved in their child's activities, learning the "why" and "what" about your program.
  • Parents are the lifeblood of grassroots sports.  Involving them may lead to expanded interest in the organization and their desire to serve in the future.
  • Some parents who thought of coaching but were unsure might develop the confidence to step up.
This week we added a few more physical literacy exercises and parent-child ball sequences.

One main thing I added today was a little more running.  A lot of young children are still learning how to run and stay balanced.

A major change from last week was the game portion.  I did not do a 3v3 or 4v4 game today.  Instead we had a marked off area with 2 goals on either side.  All of the children played 1v1 with their parent and had 2 goals to score in.  I felt a lot of the children were afraid to play but I knew they wouldn't be afraid to take the ball from their parent or try to keep it away from them.

The multiple 1v1 games seemed to be successful as every child was playing and attacking the right goal.  That's not always the case in 3v3 4v4 at this age.  I will go back to small sided games next week to see how we progressed

We added a few more drink breaks.  We also made sure we had more goal celebrations, cheering and high fives and the parents did a great job with that.  I didn't stress that enough last week and I saw how it really gets the players going.

I've learned that the success of Active Start is a combination between a coach who believes in the philosophy and parents who are ready and willing to help and keep the message consistent.  The parents hold the power in this one.  If they start pushing for games or adult style drills, it will be pre-2010 all over again.  If the coach does a good enough job then they will see the benefit of patience.

Parents always have to remember and support ... "the right information at the right time".

Although I've coached U4s before, I really enjoy employing the LTPD philosophy in the program.  I look forward to delivering more sessions and sharing this information with other coaches who attend.