Sunday, December 23, 2012

U4 -Last "Active Start" session for this group

Nobody would ever guess that you prepare more as the age group gets younger.

Yesterday was the last U4 Active start session for this group.  It was my third with them, but they had 8 as a group.

What I learned:
  • I am not afraid of professionals, college players or youth travel teams.  U4 players keep me on my toes and nervous enough that I come to the field with nothing less than my very best.
  •  The LTPD recommendations for this age group are useful and very applicable.
  • Parents being involved on a 1v1 level is essential for success with U4.
  • Parents want to learn what you're showing the children.
  • Children do want their parents close by.
  • The level of participation is high when parents are involved.
  • Parents start to sweat quickly in their jeans and sweater  :)
  • One ball per player is the most basic and important requirement.
  • Spending time on physical literacy is a must.  Children that young do not total control over their bodies.  Some can barely run in a fluid motion.
  • Preparing for a U4 session requires time and effort as you have to make sure the session is busy enough that the players do not disappear on you.
  • These children are not ready for games.  Getting them to play 1v1 with parents and understand their direction of attack is a major undertaking.
This week, in addition to activities they were familiar with, we introduced tumbling (from a stand still and a short run) and dribbling with some direction.  The dribbling was a bit of a challenge but we got it on the table.  For those who return, they will see it more often and we will build on it every week.  There was still a lot of time to manipulate the ball and learn basic soccer movements. 
My goal for the next set of sessions after Christmas is to work with at least 8 of the parents and have them attend the Active Start course, so they can start delivering sessions when summer arrives.