U5 and U6 soccer players are fragile psychologically.
They constantly crave acceptance and approval.
As a coach, this is important to know in forming groups, being careful to celebrate successes while minimizing social embarrassment.
Attention span is short, so you must keep players active and avoid lines.
Frequent changes that present new challenges keep games fresh and players engaged. Players that are “not listening” at this age is an indication that the activity is not fun or engaging, so change it! Prepare different possible exercises for each skill you plan to work on at a session. That way, if one activity is not holding their attention, you can introduce a different one that will continue to reinforce the intended lesson.
U5 and U6 players love to use their imagination when they play. Keep this in mind when designing games.
They enjoy playing on their terms, and as a by-product of their play they will gain some limited comfort with the ball. Although they love to play, their ability to stay focused on any one thing is very limited. So, keep the activities short and simple!
Always “fill their tanks” with positive reinforcement for great motivation. This means maintaining a positive attitude and providing uplifting comments, to and around, your players.
Most importantly, remember that we will be teaching them life lessons by treating them with care, patience, respect and plenty of encouragement.
Keep it fun and enjoyable to foster a desire to play - Instrinsic Motivation
Key components of teaching/learning - Psychological:
- Sharing; fair play
- Parental involvement
- “How to Play”
- Emotional management – need positive reinforcement and praise
- Good Humor
- Willingness to see the world through a child’s eyes.
- Know how to fill their tanks (self-esteem, confidence)
- Start to understand the concept of sportsmanship.
- Build the love for the game
- Realization that their main focus is “me”
- Psychological differences are minimal between boys and girls
- Short attention span unless peaked – keep interest high.
- They like to show what they can do – encourage trying new things.
- Develop self-esteem – activities should foster positive feedback with attainable, positive success.
- Children have not yet learned the skills of compromise and team play. Expect frequent arguments between players. Do not immediately interfere with their discussion, as it is a part of their learning process. Team games call for social and mental skills that they are just starting to develop. If it does not appear to be heading in a positive direction, at this time then try to redirect the situation.
- They have not learned to accept mistakes – their own or others.
- You should not expect the children to play a team game the way adults would. You should bend the rules to fit their physical and mental maturity. Fewer players result in more touches with the ball. Equipment should be suitable to their age and size resulting in better play.
- They lack the ability to make quick decisions.
- Adult reactions to their efforts are often mistaken and become a blow to their self-confidence.
- They are in need of understanding and encouragement.
Article - Psychological: