Coaching U5-U6
My Personal Thoughts by Eddie Lima

eddie limaTHANK YOU COACH....for offering your time to volunteer/coach for Vienna Youth Soccer.

If you’ve never coached or played soccer, you might have an advantage over people that have. Experienced coaches have a vision in their mind of how the game is to be played. Many of these coaches can have problems bringing it down to the level of a U5 and U6 player.

The Eddie Murphy Approach

A parent who understands children at this age will usually be a very successful coach, because they do not have extremely high expectations of what these kids can do in relation to soccer.
They go out, play a few games, kick the ball around, joke with the kids and just have a good time. A key to success at this age group is to bring your intellect down to that of a 5/6 year old. Their behavior is both pretty simple and pretty silly. In my opinion, the perfect persona for a soccer coach for this age group would be that of Eddie Murphy.

Be A Kid Again

Working with U5 and U6 players can be one of the most challenging age groups. At the same time, it can also be one of the most rewarding for coaches.
Everything is fresh and new to the players. You will find some players that treat the activities and games as though it is the final of the World Cup, and for others it may be a great day to pick grass or do cartwheels on the field. So, try to put the “out of this world” problems, issues and stresses in your life aside for this brief time and enjoy this more simple carefree time. Build their imagination, creativity and adventure of learning the game. You will find a lot of challenges working with this age group, but also a great deal of fulfillment.

Build Blocks, One Block At A Time

Children of the same age may differ a great deal in their motor skills development. Children’s physical skills develop in a particular sequence: first they learn to crawl, to walk, to run, then to jump and hop, in that order.  There is a developmental sequence for learning a single technique as well.
So, do not provide information, activities or games that kids in this age group are not able to comprehend. Remember that each basic skill is a “building block” that will need to be mastered one at a time. When the foundation is strong and we have patiently allowed these kids to learn in a fun way that enables them to remain passionate about the game, that is when these blocks come together to build their future as a soccer player. 
For example, we do not teach algebra in the first grade. Likewise, you should not be teaching possession at U5 and U6. Instead, help them to understand the concept of “spreading out.” This will probably be your biggest hurdle, convincing them to spread out. 
Understanding this major building block will be essential in the future when learning how to maintain possession. Maybe by telling the players to stop when they bunch up… and ask them … "Are you guys chickens? Is the ball corn?" … they should say … “NO” … so, you could respond … “Then, spread out.” They will laugh, but they will gradually learn that the field is a big area that needs to be covered

They’ll Eventually Get It

It may not work the first day, week, month, or year.   But remember your constant emphasis on this, as well as every skill that you introduce to your players, will gradually be absorbed and they will learn in their own time. 
You will be amazed at the progress from the first day to the last and take great pride in all that you have accomplished with these young people.

young soccer players"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But, people will never forget how you made them feel. ", Maya Angelou



Eddie Lima
VYS Technical Director

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