Coaching Preschool Soccer

Coaching preschool soccer can be challenging but also fun. My husband coached our oldest son’s four year old team and we learn a lot about coaching preschool soccer before the season was over. The first rule is to remember that it’s not about competition at this age. It should be all about fun and if the kids learn soccer skills in the meantime, then that is an added bonus.

Children of preschool age have a very short attention span. When teaching them new skills be sure to give them water and rest breaks after about 15 minutes. They need to stay hydrated and have time to refocus on learning. You will find that some children have longer attention spans than others and have to be forced to take a break when the rest of the team does.

Always keeping in mind that preschool soccer should be fun first, there are a few skills that can be taught at this age. First, make it a strict rule that no hands are to touch the ball ever. This helps preschoolers get used to using their feet only but is also a safety measure that keeps them from getting their head, arm and hands kicked by other players. At this age they do not “throw in” so the use of their hands is unnecessary. To help them learn this skill in a fun way, have the children pretend to be “pencils” and run with their hands behind their backs or straight down by their sides. As coach, lead by example and kick the ball where it needs to go instead of carrying it.

Another skill that can be taught while coaching preschool soccer is passing. Have three or four of the children practice passing the ball while standing in a square or triangle. They can pass diagonally or to the person standing next to them.

The trickiest skill to teach when coaching preschool soccer is aim. Put the children at different distances and angles from the goal and have them practice kicking into the goal. Practice makes perfect in this case.

Coaching preschool soccer is a fun and rewarding experience as long as it is kept fun and the children are not pressured. Have parents sign up to bring drinks (specify water or 100% fruit juices) to games. Remind parents that competition and score keeping are not appropriate for preschool soccer.

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