The U6 season ended on Saturday. With the season in the past, it was time to put some thought to the player performances and how we can progress in the spring.
The majority of the technical skills were taught by the club trainer. While the training started off a little slow – and losing a few players in the early weeks – I felt like the training improved over time and all of the players improved their technical skills in training.
The difficult part for a lot of the kids was translating the skills from training to game. Kids have a hard time with heads-up dribbling, and thus have a hard time avoiding opponents. They probably need more direct instruction and practice on turning and changing direction with the ball.
One of my objectives with all of my teams is to raise the level of independence and autonomy that the kids can operate with. Since my first coaching course last winter, I’ve stopped giving any instruction to the kids on the field while they play. I’ll give some praise (Good dribble, good tackle) but I avoid giving direct instructions, including “Pass” or “Shoot.”
The kids have progressed well on game knowledge. There’s a solid core on the team who understand the flow of the game – kick-offs after goals especially. In the spring, I hope to firmly establish kick-ins after ball out-of-bounds so they are well prepared for U7 next year.
The difficult part of team recreation sports is the uneven playing levels of kids within the same team. Thus, you might have a player or two with above average skills and a start at good tactical knowledge but doesn’t have anyone to play with to help them progress.
I’m hoping some winter pick up will be a good stand-in for helping them learn some additional team skills, but I’ll also pick out a couple of kids to work with in the spring in our extra minutes before practice starts to help them learn some team skills. Again, it feels like we have a good opportunity to introduce some topics in the spring before they get to U7 that will be more needed there.
Just like last year, I feel like the players match up with each other well in terms of personality. All of the kids knew at least one other player before the season, and now seem to all enjoy playing with each other. Definitely a successful season there.