NEED FOR SECURITY
During training children need a familiar and intimate atmosphere which
gives them security and confidence. It's not recommendable to change frequently
neither the training site nor the coach or educator. Returning to games
which they already know (but presenting variations) is welcomed by the
kids so long as the contents of the training sessions link with something
that they already know. Children demand stable relations like in their
family. Besides, the coaching should take place in a save environment
(for instance on playing fields without stones of holes), applying specific
rules which assure safety and avoid any dangerous situation.
NEED TO GAIN NEW EXPERIENCES
Nothing can be understood completely, as long as it wasn't experienced.
Instead of telling the kids, the teacher should allow them to experiment
the task. Children need to discover on their own everything which surrounds
them. This applies also to the world of sports and for soccer in particular.
Instead of being instructed, kids should get stimulated with simplified
games and multilateral activities which are within their physical and
mental capacities. Teaching this way, children through discovering will
develop their intelligence step by step.
NEED THAT THEIR EFFORTS ARE RECOGNIZED BY OTHERS
Children get highly motivated when tribute is paid towards their efforts
in mastering a skill or a problem. Through praise they are getting encouraged
to try even harder. For the under 12 years old children, the teacher,
coach or parent is like a mirror in which they see their capacity or incapacity.
That is why educators and parents have to learn to be positive, praise
the children frequently and keep critical comments to a minimum.
NEED TO SHOW RESPONSIBILITY
Children prefer to do things on their own without depending too much on
the adults. They like to reach as quickly as possible independence. The
coaching methods and the behaviour of the educator should consider this
need, making sure that the children find frequently on their own the solutions
to the problems which they present. The educator only should interfere
when the problems can't be solved by the pupils.
Putting down or collecting cones, modifying the rules of a practise game
or choosing players for demonstrations or certain tasks should become
also a task of the children. Their need to demonstrate responsibility
could be stimulated also by allowing them in each training session to
choose freely during 10 minutes what to practise, how to do it , where
and with whom to execute a determined skill or game.
NEED TO PLAY
Playing games is as vital for them as sleep: necessary for the health
of their body and their mind. As children learn by playing, the central
part of each training session is the practise and understanding of a simplified
game. The art of coaching is to always adapt it to the children's ability
and capacity level and not vice-versa. Playing games communication with
others and decision making are stimulated. Playing without thinking is
like shooting without aiming.
NEED TO SOCIALIZE WITH OTHERS
Instinctively children look for communication with others. The older they
are, the more they need company of a similar age. They love to be associated
to a group and to identify themselves with a group or team with the aim
to achieve common objectives.
NEED TO MOVE
Nature wants the child to be active. He is no patience to wait in queues
until his turn arrives. Standing isn't child-like. Rules of the adult
games have to be modified to allow the children to play the ball more
often. Games with few players assure active participation.
NEED TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT
Generally spoken, neither the past nor the future interests the children
very much. Their sense of time is completely different to that of the
adults. A child lives very intensively the present moment and the today
without bothering about tomorrow or yesterday which seems to be very far
NEED FOR VARIETY
More variety, less boredom and fatigue. A great variety of stimulates
is fundamental to maintain the attention level for a certain time. Without
varying frequently the method of presentation and the contents, the attention
of the children usually deviates. It's also necessary to vary the grade
of intensity of the exercises and games . Variation can also be assured
through mixing the specific with the general or multilateral preparation,
through switching from the global to the analytic method or from individualised
training to group practise.
NEED TO BE UNDERSTOOD BY ADULTS
Children seem to live in a different world as adults. They have different
problems as adults, learn in a different way and don't think as logical
as adults do. Their ideas, thoughts or reasoning are lacking coherence.
Their emotional constancy depends in a high degree on their speed of biological
growth. Generally they don't know to use well their energy and therefore
get tired very easily. They behave in a way they feel.
For all these
reasons, adults who live and work with children, should be well-prepared
persons in order to be able to stimulate and guide them well in their
search for personality and identity.
has worked for many top clubs such as Real Sociedad, Leeds Utd, Sunderland,
Inter Milan and is currently at the Centre
of Research and Development of the Royal Spanish Football Federation.
He has also wrote numerous books on soccer, offers regular coaching courses
and recently ran a session for the English Football Association. You can
e-mail Horst on email@example.com.
We would like to thank him for the kind donation of this article.
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