Our Coach Education group is set-up to share ideas and best practice among football coaches. We look forward to connecting with you.
At MoF, this is the age we usually introduce children to our programme. We need to consider that at this age - perhaps more than at any other age - the children are hugely different from each other. There will be some children who are bouncing with confidence and ability and others who need much more support in order to get through a session. For some children at this age group, we encourage a parent or accompanying adult to be with the child for the session or parts of it.
This is a great age to coach! But it is difficult. Coaches working with this age group are our most important coaches. They are the gatekeepers of the child's first experience of football. What a responsibility! We need to be prepared and full of patience, praise and enthusiasm. The coach for this age group needs to balance a variety of activities with a set of regular, well-known and enjoyed activities. For more info on working with very young children, see our Coach Ed page here.
The main themes for this age-group are Agility, Balance and Co-ordination and Technical development. Most 4 and 5 year olds may not comprehend directional play, and the coach needs to gently introduce this, working towards a stage where they can play 1v1 games. However, the main part of the session should include activities with a ball each. The games on the Parent-Child page would be useful with this age-group, but try to get children doing the activities without a parent where possible.
'One ball each' technical activities
A good coach of this age-group will have loads of one-ball each activities to challenge the children with. These activities can be great as warm-ups, homeworks, or for children to try while the coach is setting-up a new group activity.
This can be set-up by asking each child to get two cones and make a gate. You can then challenge them to dribble through every gate and back without crashing into anyone. This can be progressed by adding in certain moves on the gates, such as: figure of 8 dribble round the two cones; dribble through a gate, turn and then come back through the same gate; pass the ball through the gate, but you run round the gate etc. This activity can then be developed into a Follow The Leader game.
Our venues have walls, and it is great practice to ask children to spend time passing and recieving against a wall. Add in some variety though, or they get bored quick: Pass onto the wall, let the rebounding ball go between your legs, spin round and score in a goal. Can you turn in other ways? Can you turn using a touch ot two touches of the ball? When can you turn with no touches and when do you need to touch the ball to turn?
Children aged 4 and 5 will vary greatly in how physically competitive and confident they are. There are many ways to set-up 1v1 activities. The best option for beginner children is for each 1v1 to happen in its own area. This means they aren't sharing pitch space or goals with other children. The traditional set-up is to have two goals facing each other, but we find this means that the child without the ball just goes and stands in goal, and the contest becomes a shooting match. Instead, we turn the goals around so they are back to back, and this means the child must dribble the ball around the goal and turn with it before they can shoot. If we also encourage the other child to come away from the goal and go and try to win the ball, then we get some much more varied contests. (If you don't have enough goals, then use spots on the floor to denote goals).
Two more complicated 1v1 set-ups are shown below. They both involve the children sharing space and goals, and having two goals rather than one to score in. This set-up adds an element of chaos, and more decisions to make. They both offer the chance to match children of roughly equal ability.