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The aim of this division is to introduce younger players to the key fundamentals of the game through a series of FUN based practices and small sided games.
Players are divided into age and gender specific teams that will play one game per week through an 8 week season in both the Fall and the Spring. Each team is expected to practice at least once per week and players are also given opportunities to participate in professional training throughout the year.
At the ages of five and six, the following techniques will be introduced and reinforced:
- Individual Moves I.e. Pull back or L Turn
- Short Passing
- Spatial Awareness
- Introduction to Soccer Language
- Introduction to Small Sided Games and Rules
These techniques have been selected because research shows that these are the areas that young players can learn and more importantly, enjoy learning.
The emphasis of the work with younger players is focused firmly upon introducing them to the game in a manner which leaves them excited about playing. Therefore, the following guidelines will be followed:
Age - 5 and 6
Max Sessions per week - 2
Duration of Sessions - 1 hour
Type of Game - Small sided, 4vs4, no goalkeepers
Length of Game - 32 minutes total
The guidelines below can be used as "golden rules" which will help you run your games and practices in a developmentally appropriate manor.
1. Players learn best when touching a ball. Try to give the players as much active time with the ball as possible.
2. Juggling and Dribbling type moves should be part of every session you do.
3. Do not use practices that involve the players standing in a line.
4. Play scrimmages that are as close to the recommended guidelines as possible. Ideally 3vs3 or 4vs4 with a goalkeeper.
5. Try to finish the practice on a positive point and when the children are having tremendous fun.
6. Be an entertainer. A child's world is one with color and imagination. Avoid treating them as a mini adult.
7. Use your body language to express enthusiasm. Young players relate better to enthusiastic characters.
8. Try to use language that encourages participation from all players (The hardest working player wins), rather than encouraging participation from a select, gifted few (The first player to .... Wins).
For assistance in planning an appropriate D1 coaching session, please view / download the division 1 curriculum (PDF).