Coaching in the Discovery Phase is all about:
For U/6’s and U/7’s two weekly training sessions of 45 minutes and one game during the weekend is a suggested workload, while for U/8’s and U/9’s the length of the sessions can be increased to 60 minutes.
A training session for children in this age consists of 3 components: The Beginning, The Middle and The End. It’s important to note that coaches should respond to the players needs and manage how many and what type of practice to use in their situation. Sometimes you might go straight into a game after a brief warm up.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN IN THIS AGE BRACKET?
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TRAINING SESSIONS WITH CHILDREN THIS AGE?
Just let them play a lot of varied fun football related games!
In the ‘good old days’ as a kid you learned to play football in the street or the park. There were no coaches involved who made you run laps or do stretches and push-ups. When you were with just one mate you played a 1 v 1 game, when there were 8 of you, you played 4 v 4. There were no referees either, you made your own rules and every problem got solved. You just played, every free minute of the day. Funny as it may seem, this was (and still is) the best possible way to develop a basic skill level, understanding and passion for football.
The old saying “the game is the teacher” still applies and is one of the reasons why we find so many creative and technically good players from Africa and South America where there is less structured coach led sessions for younger age groups. As parents we now send our children to a club or academy to learn to play football and, despite all good intentions, here we make the mistake of ‘coaching’ children this age. The first and most important step when ‘coaching’ the youngest kids is to take the word ‘coach’ out of your mind. Your most important job is to recreate that street football environment, be an organiser of fun football-related practices and…….let them play! This approach, where they can ‘discover’ how the game works in a natural way, is the right one for the Discovery Phase.