Sunday, 29 April 2012

Active Kids Weekend: Growing Up With Soccer

This weekend my 9 year-old daughter Flash, had her first soccer practise for the 2012 season. I watched Flash and her team mates confidently take to the field as if they owned it. They ran around completing their drills. They played games of one-on-one and practised shooting, dribbling and tackling. The team are getting better at positional play and are starting to really play interesting and competitive games.

It dawned on me that this is Flash's 6th year in soccer. She started as a four year old  in the pee-wee's. I started to reflect on those 'good old days' of the pee-wee's and how much the kids have learnt and improved.....
 First ever soccer game  

   As a big 9 year old!

   ......The kids would move around the field in a little pack with the ball stuck in the middle. Sometimes the kids would not even notice the ball as they were more interested in the mud puddles, the clouds in the sky or a blade of grass.

Playing in the mud....what soccer ball??


The most common instruction given to the players by the coaches was to correct the direction in which they should be kicking the ball!

This way!


You may be wondering what is the point of starting kids so young in soccer. Well, with the help of the wonderfully patient coaches and weekly repetition the little ones just learnt so much. There was such an incredible difference between the first game of the season and the last!

The kids began to understand the fundamentals of the game (and slowly got better at kicking the ball in the right direction!). They were taught simple skills such as passing and dribbling. The coaches even instilled in the children the importance of shaking hands at the end of the game...the basis of good sportsmanship.



Learning the fundamental skills of soccer was not the only benefit to the kids from pee wees. The kids enjoyed being out and chasing the ball. The kids were getting fresh air and exercise. They even learnt about the importance of regular water and fruit breaks. ....and they looked so cute in their little uniforms :)

Of course everyone seems to have stories of horror sports parents and coaches. But my experiences with Pee wee soccer was very positive. both the coaches and parents were encouraging and supportive.

 I remember that my daughter was scared and nervous the first time she played. She was not the only one. There were quite a few tears on that first morning, gentle encouragement was all that was needed to get the little ones smiling again! But as the weeks progressed the kids became more skilled and confident....the sheer thrill of scoring their first goal was such a confidence builder (the kids had no idea their scoring opportunities were being surreptitiously set up by the coaches... so every child had a turn).



Goal!


I would really recommend early soccer programs such as pee wees as a great introduction into sport. It is easily done in retrospect, but I think it's important for parents not to have their expectations set too high at the beginning of the season. With children so young sometimes a little encouragement and persistence is required. However, trust your instincts and if you know your child really doesn't enjoy the experience, it may be better to stop and try again when they are a little older.

Flash ended up have a wonderful soccer season with her little friend
One of the aims I have for this SportyMummy blog is to create a community of parents interested in sport and a healthy lifestyle for their children.

If your kids have participated in a sport or a fun energetic activity this week, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. You can also comment on the SportyMummy Facebook page. If you have written a blog post about a sport or activity your children have participated in this week, you can add it to the linky tool at the end of this post. It is my hope to create a supportive community that will also motivate others to get involved with an active lifestyle.

7 comments:

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    1. Thanks...I can't believe she was so small....

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  2. When Sophie was 6 my husband "ref'd" one of her games and to this day he can't talk about it without laughing so hard he cried. The kids were so cute and the things they said hysterical.

    His favorite:

    He was asked by one of the boys why the lines were painting white. My husband said I don't know and the little boy said "why are you out here if you don't know?".

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    1. Little kids can be so funny...especially when they are trying to be serious :)

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  3. Great shots as usual. Never could understand this strange thing called sport. Perhaps it's only me. Everyone else seems to like it.

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    1. Thanks Roger. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I really enjoy it :)

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  4. That is fabulous to see children of such a young age getting into sports. My hubby is super keen to get Mr4 involved in sport asap. Though he is keen for rugby league and I am freaking out about that... I have been trying to get myself used to it ever since he was born, as I knew that would be hubby's intention. However, we are going to leave it open for him to decide too. He loves sports already, so I don't think he'll need too much encouragement!
    Gorgeous photos, so cute! xo

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