Spring Break! Maintaining Skills/Routines

TonyM CoachCard 150x150 Spring Break! Maintaining Skills/Routines
Tony M., Coach/Brand Ambassador

Have you ever asked yourself “What can I play with my child at home or what can I do so my child can practice his/hers skills?”. Here are a few fun games you can try at home. 

The key to playing soccer is knowing how to dribble with the soccer ball, and keeping the ball close to your feet. Dribbling is the ability to carry the ball past an opponent while in control of the ball. So what child doesn’t like an obstacle course… right?! There is nothing like working around an obstacle course to improve your dribbling skills. You and your child can start by using an object you find around your house to create a course, where you and your child will be moving around obstacles, zig zagging, knocking down items, like cones or cardboard boxes. You can change speed by going fast and then going slow. Make sure to give yourself enough room to maneuver without losing control of the ball. As you and your child gets comfortable, add some more
obstacles like scoring from a certain spot to practice their shooting. Just remember the point of this game is to never let the ball get too far from your feet. Keep it close. 

Another fun game to practice dribbling and the control position of the ball is soccer win Spring Break! Maintaining Skills/Routinesplaying the Ice Monster game. In this game children will practice their control position and how to dribble by keeping the ball close to their feet. To begin this game mark off an area for the game to be played, and select who will be the “Monster”.  The person not selected as the “Monster” will dribble their soccer ball within the area that has been marked. The “Ice Monster” attempts to touch the soccer ball, at which point that player “freezes” with their foot on the ball. If a player’s ball goes out of bounds, they also freeze. Switch roles so everyone can have fun being the monster. 

ROAR!!!!

The last fun game that children seem to love playing is “The Big, Friendly Bear”. The object of this game is to dribble around and be able to control the ball when told to do so, and to shoot their soccer ball at the “big friendly bear” and stop him from getting the honey. For this game you will need a couple of cones to set up as your flowers around your playing area. To begin this game select who will be the “big friendly bear”.  The person not selected as the “big friendly bear” will dribble their soccer ball around the cones (flowers) as the bee is making sure all the 43a83816c71c7c73d165ce08aecd1adc Spring Break! Maintaining Skills/Routinesflowers have honey. After a few minutes explain that you are a big friendly bear and that you would love some sweet honey! When you say “go,” the bee must come out to shoot their ball at your feet to keep you away from their honey.

Don’t forget to just go out there and have fun! Whether that is playing a game from the this blog or simply passing the ball back-and-forth. Have fun scoring goals!

Soccer Shots: Parent Expectations Re: Ages + Stages

AlyssaM CoachCard 300x300 Soccer Shots: Parent Expectations Re: Ages + Stages
Alyssa McGarigal, MA, PPSC, Program Director

As an educator, one of the most common conversations I have with families center around what is “expected” for certain ages and stages of development.

(Don’t get me wrong, as a parent I find myself having this conversation with myself too!)

My child is throwing cones… Is this supposed to happen?

She seems scared to play with the group… Why?

He doesn’t seem like he enjoys the scrimmage… What should I do?

So much of what we see (and do) at Soccer Shots centers around the developmental ages and stages of the children. With expert designed curriculum that put this at the forefront, we are infusing developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) into everything we do.

What does that actually mean? What are the ages and stages? What can I expect from my child at Soccer Shots?

All great questions!

In our Mini (2 year old) sessions, we offer a basic introduction to soccer and character concepts. More than that, we’re building motor skills by running, hopping, sorting, stacking, and kicking. Social and emotional skills are developed listening to and following directions, going on very basic imaginary adventures, and playing along side others. It’s important to note that at this age, we expect children to engage in solitary or parallel play. This means we expect each child to come to the field and play on their own, in a group. Running away and testing boundaries is expected, as is some resistance to change (i.e. a brand new activity like soccer). Our hope and goal for this age group is that they have fun, run, kick, laugh, and develop a young love for being outdoors engaging in physical activity.

Ages and Stages 1024x589 Soccer Shots: Parent Expectations Re: Ages + Stages

Soccer Shots Classic (3-5 year old) sessions are a little different. At this age, we’re focused on introducing more soccer specific skills that continue to develop and refine motor skills, as well as infusing social/emotional learning (character development) into the curriculum. At the younger end of this age group, children are still engaging in parallel play, testing the boundaries, learning about their own capabilities, and are eager to help and succeed. Towards the latter end of this age group, we start to see cooperative play (group play) emerge, as well as the desire to please and follow the rules. Imagination continues to develop, and we use this to our advantage; our curriculum is loaded with imaginary scenarios and lots of fun! Self-awareness begins to develop as well, and we can see this sometimes in the hesitancy to try something new (for fear of failure). Other times we see the highly social, overly talkative confidence prominently. All of this is totally expected for this age group, understood by our team of coaches, and incorporated into the way we approach each session.

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The social aspect of youth sports and activities begins to take center stage in our 5-6 year old Premier sessions. Is your child waving to you instead of listening to coach or chasing the ball? (Yup! That was me as a child too!) That’s totally expected at this age. This age group begins to understand and appreciate cooperative play, taking turns and following the rules. They also feel pride in their accomplishments, enjoy having basic responsibility, and may get excited to show off a new move or two! Ask them to teach you what they’ve learned, and they’ll eagerly oblige. As physical confidence develops, so does intellectual ability. We continue to have intentional conversations around social/emotional development and aim to create positive feelings associated with physical activity. Even as competitiveness emerges, we teach winning and losing in a constructive way that builds everyone up, rather than tearing ourselves or others down.

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Any questions we didn’t answer? Let us know! Or speak directly to your child’s coach, many of which have received collegiate level child development units and have training from Soccer Shots on the ages and stages!

Source: Child Development Institute, 2015, General Developmental Sequence Toddler through Preschool (https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/devsequence/#.WObS4FKZOV4)

Chop Move!

KimZ CoachCard Chop Move!(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

This week we will be discussing the inside and the outside Chop Move.

This is another move that teaches our children how to change direction quickly and effectively. We teach the kids this move by practicing dribbling one direction, and then “chopping” the ball back the other way. This is done with either the inside, or in future weeks, the outside of the foot, by placing it in front of the ball and using the inside/outside of the foot to chop back the other direction.

This move works really well in the Race Car game that we play. We use the same lights as in Red light, Green Light, only this time, when we say “crash” or “orange light”, it’s time to do a soccer shots move. Soccer players then do the chop move and go in the other direction on the race track. This shows young players how to change directions quickly, and they get to play race cars which tends to be a favorite game for many kids!

Passing and Trapping!

KimZ CoachCard Passing and Trapping!(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

This week is all about sharing the ball, which in soccer is called passing. This is a great skill for kids to learn especially at an age when it can be hard for them to understand sharing.

We teach this with team building games because passing utilizes teamwork. There is a game we play called blob tag, which calls for the children to run around and once they get tagged they must join hands and make one big chain which looks like a “blob”. This game is great, but depending on the size of the group it may be easier to play a different version of the game, such as freeze tag. Either game teaches the children the need to work together to accomplish a goal.

When we teach passing and trapping, we show the students that we want to use the inside of their foot when they kick or trap the ball. Now of course this may take a few times to learn but the most important thing is that they are kicking the ball to a friend and that they are sharing. This skill isn’t easy to learn and is such an accomplishment when they do, because at this age sharing can be hard. As coaches we celebrate everything the kids do but seeing the kids passing, especially during scrimmage, really is remarkable.

Step Over Move!

KimZ CoachCard Step Over Move!(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

The Step Over Move teaches kids how to get around another player and keep the ball.

This move can be taught in many different ways but the main idea of this move is to keep the ball away from the opponent. We teach this move because it is important to know how to navigate the field and keep the ball in your possession. The Step Over Move is essentially faking one direction while stepping over the ball and then going in a different direction. Whether you turn around or just veer to the side depends on the situation.

One fun way they to practice this new move is during Red Light, Green Light. This game can be played differently by different coaches; I like to give them “steering wheels” (colorful rings) and have the children pretend to be cars with their soccer ball being the car. Red Light means stop position, Yellow Light means “slow like a turtle”, and Green Light means “fast like a bunny”. This gives them an opportunity to practice their dribbling while also “driving” their car. Then… I say Orange Light, which I learned from another coach and use it as a Soccer Shots move light. When I say Orange Light they show me the Step-Over Move to change directions, that way we can practice it and still have fun!

Speed Dribbling!

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

KimZ CoachCard Speed Dribbling! This week is all about speed dribbling. In the first few weeks of classes we go over a lot of the basics and dribbling is one of them. In later weeks we focus on the importance of speeding up and slowing down.

Dribbling is the move that is done the most in soccer and is thus very important. I like the fact that when the coaches teach this skill, they explain it by asking which animals go fast and which go slow and then they act out the animals we our players to imitate. For example when we explain how to go slow like a turtle, we hunch over and walk slow and pretend to have a shell on our back and then ask the kids to do the same. Also when it is time to learn how to go fast like a bunny, we pretend to have floppy ears and show small, fast kicks. The kids can now associate dribbling with animals which will make it easier for them to remember.

Our soccer players practice this new move with a goal scoring game this week. The game involves pretending to be airplanes. We explain that when airplanes take off on a runway, they start off slow and then speed up. When it’s their turn, they practice dribbling by going slow then speeding up which helps them be able to keep control when it comes to scrimmage.

This week is essential to your child’s development in soccer and is also a fun week for them to pretend to be animals and airplanes.

Pull Back Move!

KimZ CoachCard Pull Back Move!(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

This week we are covering the Pull Back move. The great thing about this move is that since we taught the Stop/Control Position last week, the kids are now set up to do the Pull Back move.

The Pull Back move is taught so that the children learn how to change directions when dribbling the ball. This move is really easy to explain and is a fun move to learn. It starts out with the child standing in Stop/Control Position then just rolling the ball behind them. The kids love it when we pretend that we don’t know where the ball is and they have to tell us or show us that it is behind us.

There are many games we use to showcase our Pull Back move. The most popular are the Mr. Fox and Pirate Ship games. What makes these games so effective is how they engage the children on their level. The games take something they really like and put a Soccer Shots twist on it. By doing that, it really helps them remember the move by associating it with the game. I have children who have done multiple seasons who remember a lot of moves just by recognizing the games we play.

The Pull Back is a very useful move that can help kids when they are playing scrimmage by teaching them how to keep the ball close to them but away from the other team. It is just one of many moves we use to set them up for later soccer success.

Stop/Control Position!

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

KimZ CoachCard Stop/Control Position! Welcome to my new series of blog posts. This time I will be covering the different skills and moves that we teach your kids every week in class. The first move is called the Stop/Control Position. 

The first week of class can be very exciting and also nerve wracking for your child and thus we try not to overwhelm them to much with too many moves or drills. We also integrate a lot of fun into our class to make them feel at ease. Stop or Control Position is a very simple move for kids to learn.

We encourage the kids to sit down on their soccer balls to watch us demonstrate or we wait to give out the balls until after the demonstration. First we show them that we use two feet in soccer but to stop the ball we only use one. We show them by putting our arms out to the side like an airplane and then putting one foot gently on the ball. We explain that by putting our arms out it will help us from falling over. At this point we start handing out the soccer balls or have them stand up off their soccer balls. We have them put their “airplane arm wings” out and put one foot on the ball. It doesn’t matter if they can do it for two seconds or twenty minutes, we always encourage them and give them a high five for their effort.Screen Shot 2014 09 11 at 1.18.39 PM Stop/Control Position!

This move helps to foster balance and coordination which are crucial for our kids’ ages 2-8 years old. This is the time where they really start to master their small and large motor skills and balancing is a huge part of that. This also sets them up for success with the rest of the moves that we cover and for playing our games because it teaches them to keep the ball close while having “control” over their soccer balls.