For U/6’s and U/7’s two weekly training sessions of 45 minutes and one game during the weekend is the maximum safe workload, while for U/8’s and U/9’s the length of the sessions can be increased to 60 minutes
A training session for children in this age consists of 3 components: The Beginning, The Middle and The End.
Just let them play a lot of varied fun football related games!
In the ‘good old days’ as a kid you learned to play football in the street or the park. There were no coaches involved who made you run laps or do stretches and push-ups. When you were with just one mate you played a 1 v 1 game, when there were 8 of you, you played 4 v 4. There were no referees either, you made your own rules and every problem got solved. You just played, every free minute of the day. Funny as it may seem, this was (and still is) the best possible way to develop
a basic skill level, understanding and passion for football.
In third World countries the old saying “the game is the teacher” still applies and is one of the reasons why we find so many creative and technically good players from Africa and South America
in the European top leagues. But in our developed society children do not play sports in the streets and parks that much anymore. They watch television, surf the internet, play computer games, chat on Twitter and Facebook as well as having to study.
As parents we now send our children to a club or academy to learn to play football and, despite all good intentions, here we make the mistake of ‘coaching’ children this age.
The first and most important step when ‘coaching’ the youngest kids is to take the word ‘coach’
out of your mind. Your most important job is to recreate that street football environment, be an organiser of fun football-related practices and.......let them play! This approach, where they can ‘discover’ how the game works in a natural way, is the right one for the Discovery Phase.