I hope everyone is baring up as best as possible during the lock-down, of course it’s clear for all to see, that children are chomping at the bit to get back to having some outdoor fun, seeing their mates and getting back on the football pitch or futsal court.
Over the past few weeks we have engaged with lots of children, either be it through our YouTube football fitness classes, or via our live Zoom skills classes, so this time is definitely an opportunity for children to keep up their football fitness, and learn new skills, you don’t even have to have much space or even a garden.
At our regular sessions we have a very diverse range of attendees, however there is one thing we find most children have in common, and that is an abundance of energy. So we have come up with an initial 4 top tips to keep your children active, while keeping their hand (or rather foot) in football.
Tip 1 : Try to keep to your child's regular football routine, if for example your child normally has a weekly session on Tuesdays at 530 or a Saturday at 930am , then ring-fence this slot and dedicate this time to football training, either in the house or if you are lucky in the garden. We have seen this regularity help bring back some 'normality' to children.
Tip 2: Work on the ABC's, this is: Agility, Balance and Coordination and these underpin every sport and physical activity. Create fun obstacle courses that include, hopping, skipping, jumping, catching and throwing. Our friends at Gympanzee posted an inspired idea, where a parent had chalked out an obstacle course on the pavement outside their house, obviously be careful of social distancing, but it’s a brilliant fun way to keep your child (and the street) active. The ABC's can be more important at a young age than specific football training, even for long term football development.
Tip 3: Be careful on spending too much effort on the classic ' football drill'. E.g. In and out of cones, pass to shoot, etc. Most children particularly under 10 years of age will soon get bored of this and fitness training is not high on their agenda. Young children like to move around, and have fun. They love a challenge, but be careful it’s not too repetitive or doesn’t bring much success, eg, 'how many keepy uppys' can become disheartening and a bit boring. We have set our own fun 'Sponge Bob Square pants challenge' see below. Its fun for all ages:
Tip 4: Keep in touch with friends! At Soccer Shooters we have been running live Zoom classes, its been a great way to show children some new skills and offer them coaching points, however what we find most enlightening in these sessions, is how much the children love seeing familiar faces, especially their friends. Young children don’t really chat on Zoom or Facetime for long, but having a shared experience with their friends, followed by a 'Hello Rufus' and ' Goodbye Jess' really does make them smile, ,but if this is not possible then try to set up a quiz night with your child’s friends or with their football club.
I hope you find this useful, as we learn along the way ourselves, we will share our thoughts and ideas. In the mean time we at Soccer Shooters wish you, your friends and family our best wishes and hope you all stay healthy!