Updated Sunday July 10, 2016 by Ben Craigo.
Our club is working together with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer (EPYSA) to standardize on their training plans for our Intramural training curriculum. The link to the plan is below.
Development Stage for U5/U6
When coaching U5/U6 players, it is important to understand where they are developmentally. Massachusettes Youth Soccer sums it up nicely:
"In order to make practices run smoothly and be fun, it is important for us to have a basic understanding of the intellectual, emotional and physical developmental stage of the players we are coaching. Here are some typical characteristics of the Under 6 player.
- Focused on themselves – reality to them is based on what they see and feel
- Unable to see the world from another’s perspective
- Everything is in the here and now
- Cooling systems are less efficient - need frequent water breaks
- Enjoy playing, not watching. Every player should have a ball in practice
- Limited attention span - keep directions concise and to the point
- Effort is performance – if they try hard, they are doing well
- Active imaginations – utilize their imagination in activities, and they will love practice!
- Look for adult approval – be encouraging when they say “Coach, look what I can do!”
- Unable to think abstractly – spatial relationships are a mystery
- Typically have 2 speeds -- extremely fast and stopped
- Usually unaware of game scores – keep it that way"
The U5/U6 Curriculum
The U5 and U6 age groups will use the U6 training plan from the EPYSA. A couple of notes to go with the developmental goals of the season:
- Developing comfort on the ball through dribbling is the primary focus. Use of all parts of the foot and both feet are important.
- Introduce the drag back turn
- Being able to stop the ball with the sole of their foot
- Understand that they cannot use their hands in soccer
- Basic understanding of transition - when we have the ball we're attacking and when we don't we're defending.
- Heading should not be taught
Rules of the Game for U6
- Break every six minutes for water
- No goal keepers
- No heading allowed
- No offside
- Kick-ins instead of throw ins
- During goal kicks, opposing team retreats to about mid field
- Enforce touchlines and goal lines
- Only call fouls, and give free kicks, on:
- Deliberate handling - obviously grabbing for ball with hand or making themselves "big". If the arms/hands are close to the body and the ball hits it that is NOT handling.
- Tripping or pushing