7 Ways to Put the Fun Back into Football Training for Kids
Sadly, the number of people playing grassroots in the UK is declining with a lot of people falling out of love with the game. The increase in competitiveness is one reason why more casual players are choosing to spend their time doing other things rather than developing their skills in a hyper-competitive environment.
Kids need to train for many hours a week in order to develop fundamental technical skills and this simply isn’t possible if they do not enjoy the sport. When you don’t enjoy football you won’t give 100% and may lose interest in the game altogether.
The following article will outline some of the things that can rekindle your love for the game.
1. Parent Games
Family is hugely important in keeping kids interested in football. One great way is to support your kids by attending training sessions and games. Some parents overstep the line by being too vocal and involved and in turn making it an overly competitive environment.
Another way where parents can get more involved without overstepping the line is by participating in parent games. These can bring everyone together and is a lot of fun for kids to see their parents in action. Games don’t have to be long and can be five side affairs. These can also involve older kids and are a lot of fun for everyone involved.
2. Challenges in Training
Long uninterrupted periods of drills can be tiresome and lead to a loss of interest. Breaking these up with fun little challenges can be the perfect antidote for this. Introducing two or three little challenges per session will keep attention levels high and bring in some more fun between the less entertaining segments of a session.
One example of a classic challenge you can throw in is the crossbar challenge. This is an old favourite that engages important football techniques but is primarily built around fun. Another possible challenge to include is the keepy up challenge which doesn’t take too long and can be fun and engaging.
Any fun distraction that can be included will keep kids’ attention for longer periods of time.
3. Mixing up Drills
As much as a structure to training sessions is important, mixing things up from time to time has a lot of benefits, particularly towards engagement.
Beginning sessions with different games that can get everyone warmed up without going through the mundane jog back and forth will get everyone excited for the session ahead. Dodgeball and bulldog are two fun ways to get everyone warmed up without even thinking about it.
In addition, a change in location can mix things up and help keep training a bit more interesting. If you regularly train on grass, maybe consider astroturf from time to time and vice versa.
4. Playground Games
As mentioned above, long periods of concentration on technique will lead to mental fatigue and a drop in quality. At school, kids blow off steam during break time playing playground games and are energised and ready to learn as a result. The same principle can therefore be applied to football training sessions.
A bit of freedom from playing some playground games during a training session will allow kids to relax for a bit and give them more mental energy to concentrate later in the session.
If you can set some time aside during the training session for some unstructured play, they can enjoy themselves without having to concentrate. Provide some cones and a ball and let them get up to whatever they want.
Children are likely to break off into smaller groups and have fun doing their own thing. Leave them to their devices and you will no doubt see the benefit of this later in the session.
5. Introduce Awards
A great way to introduce motivation to success is through awards. A trainer of the week award can reward the player who trains the hardest, giving kids a reason to try hard. This doesn’t necessarily have to be for the child that performs best, it can also be given to someone who has made a notable effort in the session.
Awards like this will give kids a reason to remain focused and engaged in the session. Make sure to give out the award to different kids who deserve it throughout the season to make sure everyone feels included and valued.
6. Samba Soccer Schools
If you’re looking for a fun training school to take your child for regular sessions why not consider Samba Soccer Schools? We teach football the Brazilian way in an engaging environment where kids can make friends and receive professional feedback and encouragement from trained coaches.
How do you make football fun for kids?
The above article has a few tips for coaches and parents to keep kids interested in football training.
How can I make my football practice more enjoyable?
There are lots of ways training sessions can be made fun. The key is to keep things different and put fun first.
What are some good football drills?
Some great football drills that will help kids to develop their skills can be found here.
How do I teach my 8 year old soccer?
For information about teaching kids the fundamentals of football have a look at this article and consider bringing them along to Samba Soccer Schools.