Football - Sports for Children
This article was written with help from Paul Johnson at Soccer Funweeks. Soccer Funweeks provide professional term time and holiday time football coaching at numerous venues around the Northwest. To contact Soccer Funweeks visit Soccer Funweeks or call 01244 316493.
What is a Good Age for a Child to Start Football Coaching?
Organised Aged 4 onwards. Before this give children a small ball and let them have fun kicking it round the house or garden. The important point is to make sure they enjoy playing football. They will have their own way of telling you when they are ready to start playing.
What Equipment Do They Need?
Normal leisure clothing and footwear to suit the surface - aged 5 upwards you can be more selective on footwear.
Younger children find a smaller ball easier to control and also less intimidating. You should be able to pick up a suitable ball for a couple of pounds.
As your children get older and need more specialised equipment such as football boots then I would suggest making sure these fit properly in the same way that you would when choosing shoes.
An important accessory when games become more organised are a pair of shin pads. These come in various sizes so ensure you change pads as your child grows.
Are There Any Equipment Brands You Recommend?
Any high street stores will stock numerous options on equipment. (Boots / kit). The leading brands are Nike, Adidas and Puma.
How Much Does the Equipment Cost?
A pair of shin pads cost around £10. A pair of starter boots could cost around £20. Boot prices vary greatly. The important point when buying a boot is not the price tag, but a comfortable fit. Nobody wants to be running around for an hour or two in boots that make their feet sore.
Can You Buy Equipment Second Hand?
Yes you can pick up second hand boots and shinpads from friends. Try to ensure that inner padding of boots is still of a good quality.
Does The Kit Need to be Looked After?
Boots need to be cleaned. If they are left wet and muddy after a game/practice they will turn rock hard and will be uncomfortable to wear. Make it a condition of buying bots that they are cleaned and polished after every use.
Trying to get your children to clean muddy boots is always hard going!
Can You Recommend Some Good Football Coaching Books?
Many professional players and some managers have had books covering technique launched in their name.
How Much Do Lessons Cost?
On average £2 per hours sessions ranging from £12-£20 per day.
How Do You Find Good Football Coaching?
Anyone coaching children should have FA coaching badges. This does not mean that they will be masterful coaches. Keep an eye on the sessions yourself and discuss them with your children. Request verbal confirmation of qualifications and or certificates.
How Much Practice is Needed?
As much as possible in normal play. Encouragement is great, but pushing children to practice more, particularly in their early years can be counterproductive.
How Long Does it Take to Develop Skills?
Within weeks/months of playing.
Are There Any Tips You Could Offer?
Children will play and practice if they enjoy the sport - find a coach / club that has a light hearted approach and builds relationships with the children, this alone will help them improve.
Try not to overcomplicated things early on. Help your child to learn the fundamentals first such as passing and ball control. Flicks and tricks can be left for later as confidence is growing. With young children make sure coaching sessions don't become too serious. If they want to simply run around with the ball then let them.
Football is about hand to eye coordination, so playing other sports and simple catching games will help too.
Most children start playing more organised football through their schools or in local Saturday morning training sessions. Talk to other parents to find local teams and coaching groups.