6 TO 8 YEAR OLDS
Children aged 6 to 8 are hugely varied in terms of their experiences in football, their perceptions of their football ability and enjoyment, their confidence to compete physically, their learning styles and their athleticism in terms of balance and co-ordination. The main challenge for the coach is to choose activities which are appropriate to the needs of the children and the group, and to identify those children within an activity which are excelling and need their learning extended, and also those who are struggling and require help. When planning sessions, coaches need to include ways of adapting each activity so that all children experience enjoyment, success and the opportunity to express themselves.
Children in this age range should be practising with a ball at home or in the school playground, and it is essential that coaches extend the learning of the session by giving children something technical to try for homework. This frees times up in the session itself for activities that include elements of game-related decision-making.The main themes at this age should be Agility, Balance and Co-ordination and Skill development.
By this age, children should understand directional play. As as all age-groups, there is a need to ensure that all children experience as many learning opportunities as possible in the session. Simultaneous 1v1s allows all children to play at once, and also creates interference during the session as all pairs are using the same space.
Moving from 1v1s to 2v1s may seem a small change, but it introduces many new concepts: For the 2 it introduces the decision of whether to pass or dribble, and how to support the player with the ball. For the 1, it introduces a new problem - how to defend when outnumbered? When the 1 makes a tackle, it now creates another new problem which is often over-looked by coaches - can you take on 2 players and score?
This activity uses two 3v3 games in the same space. This includes interference as well as opposition. If the group does not include even numbers, then use a 3v2 instead.
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