My homeschool coaching attempts in the weeks preceding her practice focused on kicking, running and making sure she was aware of the financial flexibility a soccer scholarship could provide us. But I should have been teaching her so much less. The best soccer lesson you can apparently give a 3-year-old is to forget everything you have been taught Soccer fields are where the best-laid plans to shield children from loss, thieves and kicks to the shin are transformed into a fleeting hope that nobody gets hurt.
In lieu of treating others how you want to be treated and other traditional parenting lessons, here is what your son or daughter needs to know when stepping on the soccer field:.
The golden rule is not in the soccer rulebook. If you pass the ball to your opponent, they will not pass it back. In fact, they will try to take the ball from you whether you want to give it to them or not. The best defense for defense is better defense.
Take the ball from the other team and never share it with them. Treat them exactly how you have always wanted to treat your siblings. Taking turns is for warm-ups. Once the whistle blows, embrace the call of the cheerleaders. You must want the soccer ball more than the other team. You must want the ball like you want chocolate cake for breakfast and breakfast cereal for dinner. Sure, sitting down and picking grass might look like a great idea when a player on the other team does it.
But that is your chance to kick the ball while the other team is down. When the game is tied, you can't assume the other team will let the ball go through their legs for a goal like your mom and dad always do. Sometimes, the ball will be kicked through your legs for the winning goal. If it happens, don't cry. And for that matter, don't cry if your shoe is untied, if you see a bee, if the game ball isn't your personal ball, if somebody on the other team bumps into you, if the sun is in your eyes, if you have to go to the bathroom, if you did go to the bathroom but on the field and not in a bathroom, if you kick the ball into the wrong goal or whatever other reason might seem like an appropriate time to cry.
You have been told you are the best, and you are, but not really. The best player on your team isn't even the best player.
Playing your best is an acceptable consolation. Ideally, you should play at percent, which is mathematically possible in sports math only. Don't pick up the ball. Soccer is nevertheless an effective way to introduce the group sports experience to preschoolers.
They get to run and kick, interact with friends, and learn the basics of how to follow rules and cooperate with a team. Preschool-age children have a short attention span so drills need to be short, snappy and fun to do.
This is a pre-dribbling practice drill, and it's simple. Give each of the children a soccer ball and have them pass it back and forth between their feet, right to left or left to right and back again, tick tock, like a clock. This will actually be very difficult to do for this age group, but that's OK. Tell your preschool charges that practice makes perfect and demonstrate it for them complete with your own mistakes -- accidental or intentional.
The most basic soccer drill at the preschool level is kicking on target. Children can practice kicking a soccer ball at a person, including the coach, a parent or another adult volunteer.
Or they can practice aiming at a cone or a set of cones -- set up three or four as if they were bowling pins. Target kicking is an important skill in soccer, and it's also one that kids love to practice.
After you have taught the basics of how to dribble a soccer ball by taking little kicks on the inside and outside of your foot, you can progress to short practice drills. Each child gets a ball to dribble. Say "green light" and let them dribble the ball toward you. Say "red light" and they must stop until you say "green light" again. This way they develop stop-and-start skills while controlling the ball.
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