Remember that kids will develop differently, both physically and socially. You must take the needs of ALL of your players into consideration.
• are in the early stages of development
• can run, jump, and skip well; motor skills are continuing to develop
• have lots of energy, although in bursts; they tend to tire quickly
• can perform runs, starts and stops
• can’t sit still for long
• may have fears of the unknown
• experience rapid and unpredictable mood changes
• tell tall tales
• need encouragement
• may have difficulty sharing
• crave praise and attention
• do not like to repeat
• lack judgment regarding their own safety and abilities
• don’t think logically
• ask lots of questions
• are fond of stories
You will find kids this age extremely curious and highly impatient. They just won’t stand or sit still. Their short attention span causes them to be easily distracted by anything that catches their interest-even right in the middle of a game!
You may find communicating with them difficult. Their verbal and communication skills are somewhat limited.
Their ability to deal with abstract concepts is still developing, so, when-ever possible, demonstrate what you want them to do. Also, remember that they will take what you show or tell literally, so be sure to say exactly what you mean.
Lastly, make everything positive and they will respond positively to you and your directions. Traditionally, youth soccer is viewed from an adult perspective, using the 11-a-side game as a reference. We need to remember that children:
• must be treated as children, not as mini-adults.
• are essentially self-oriented and naturally relate only to a friend or two, not to groups of six or more.
• cannot sustain prolonged activity, and can function best with frequent rest periods.
• have a limited span of attention, so frequent activity changes are necessary.
• focus best when learning activities are fun.