So, your child's caught the football bug, eh? Maybe they're kicking a ball around the garden every chance they get, or perhaps they're glued to the TV every time a match is on. Now, you're probably wondering, "How can I help my child get better at football at home?"
Well, let me share a secret with you: You don't need to be the next Pep Guardiola to guide your child. Honestly, a bit of enthusiasm and some basic drills can go a long way. So, let's dive in!
1. Avoid setting up boring drills with cones
It is tempting to set get your hands on some cones, and have your child, weave in between them, but guess what? Its boring and it doesn't really replicate the game at all! What is important is to focus on , is what is known as the ABC's. These are Agility, Balance, and Coordination, these core principles will help your child to weave through tight spaces, much better than dribbling in and out of cones. Below are some practical examples:
Agility is all about those quick, explosive movements. How fast can your child change direction while keeping control of the ball? A simple way to practice this is to have your child run with the ball at a slow pace, then yell "turn!" when you want them to change direction.
Balance. This isn’t just about standing on one leg without toppling over. In football, balance means maintaining control of the body during movement. It helps with everything, from powerful shooting to fending off opponents. Try this: have them stand on one leg, then throw a ball to them and get them to throw it back without losing their balance.
Coordination. This is how well they control the ball, their body, their movements, all in unison. A fun way to improve coordination is to play 'Simon Says' but with football movements like 'Simon says kick the ball high', 'Simon says dribble fast', and so on.
Think of these ABC's as the secret sauce. They’re the core skills that’ll help your child become a more confident, controlled player. But remember, this isn’t about creating the next football prodigy overnight, it's about the joy of learning, the thrill of improving, and the sheer love of the game.
Passing Drills: More Than Just a Kick
When I say passing, you're probably imagining two people, a ball, and a back-and-forth kicking game, right? Well, that's a start, but passing drills can be much more exciting and challenging.
How about we set up a target? Find a bucket or a box and draw a chalk circle, or if you're indoors, an empty laundry basket will do just fine. Start by placing it close to your child, and let's see if they can pass the ball so it lands right in or hits the target. Not as easy as it sounds, is it? But oh, the fun you'll have! As they get the hang of it, gradually increase the distance.
Football is not played in straight lines, so it's important to create practices that are varied, in terms of how the child passes and receives the ball.
Celebrate their successes, laugh at the near misses, and remember, it's all about improving their aim and precision in a fun way!
3. Shooting Drills: Scoring Goals in the Garden
Set up a small goal, or even just two objects to act as goalposts. Get your child to practice shooting from different distances and angles. It's not just about power here, but accuracy too. Remember, we're aiming to hit the back of the net, not the neighbour's window!
4. Practice Juggling: Not as Hard as it Sounds
Juggling the ball with feet, thighs, and head helps improve ball control and coordination. It may seem a bit tricky, but trust me, with practice, they'll get the hang of it. And it's always a good laugh! Allow a bounce between each 'keepy uppy' if they need it, and as they practice more, the ball will touch the ground less and less.
Now, you might be thinking, "My child isn't very good at these drills." But guess what? That's okay! I remember when I first tried surfing in my 30s, and I was falling off the board more than I was standing on it. But the joy of learning, improving, and just being out there in the waves... it was unforgettable.
The same goes for your child. They don't need to be a superstar from day one. They just need to enjoy playing football. Remember, it's all about having fun, getting better bit by bit, and maybe even discovering a lifelong passion.
So, let's not worry about becoming the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Lucy Bronze just yet. For now, let's just focus on encouraging our kids to give it a go, have some fun, and who knows, one day they might just surprise us!