As a company that offers children’s football coaching in Leeds we are constantly trying to think of new ways to get children to practise their football skills away from our training sessions.
They train with us at our various venues in Leeds for around 1-2 hours per week and we know that this on its own isn’t enough to truly develop their footballing ability.
So, what can help?
Make it competitive
We find that competition really helps engagement and encourages children to practise playing football away from their standard football team training or coaching sessions.
One way we do this is through our Monthly Challenges where we give the children a football skill to practise at home. The one who can do it the best at the end of the month wins a prize.
It is a bit of fun but it works and we can immediately see those who have actually got out and done the work!
What you can do as a parent
Parents of football-mad kids often ask us what they can do to help their child get better at football.
The only way to do this is to get them to practise more but the football practise needs to be purposeful.
‘Go out and practise’ means absolutely nothing to a young child. You need to give them something specific to do.
An easy-one is kick-ups.
Set them a target of, say, 5 kick-ups in a row on Monday and they need to beat their record by the end of the week.
A great one is to show them their favourite player doing a football skill on YouTube and then challenging your child to be able to do it by the end of the day, weekend, week.
If you’d like some free examples of various skills then head over to our YouTube channel and take a look at our videos.
The language you use makes a difference
How you ask your child to practise has a huge impact on if they will do it not. Check this example –
‘Why don’t you go out and practise’
‘Do you think you could do this skill?’
See the difference? The second ones gives them some purpose and a challenge.
Another good example –
‘I wonder if you could beat your keepy-up record before Sunday’
Be mindful of how you ask them to practise and you’ll find they’ll be outside with a ball at their feet a lot more than they currently might be.
If all else fails then good old bribery can be used as a last resort! ‘Do 10 kick-ups by the end of the week and you get…’.
It isn’t how we like to do things but it can be effective!
Please feel free to comment below with your success on this. We are always eager to learn new ways of getting children to practise their football.
Foot-Tech Academy provides children’s football coaching in Leeds through our weekly football training sessions, after-school clubs and holiday camps. For more info on what we do please visit www.foot-techacademy.co.uk
Quite an open question but, in sport, speed is becoming more and more important and it will affect your child at some point.
A study found that a modern top-class footballer completes 50% more sprints in matches now than they did 10 years ago. The game is changing and training needs to change with it.
This has already started to filter down into junior football teams and it is a trend that will continue. How many players in your child’s team do you know who are ‘the fast one’. They stand out a mile and often aren’t even the best player by a long-way. It is their physical attribute that gets them noticed and into the team.
Long-gone are the days of the big, slow defender or ‘the big man upfront’ who was there to simply win headers. We’re now seeing speedy players in pretty much every position in the elite teams, including goal-keepers.
Check out Man City at the moment – as great as they are with the ball, it is no surprise to see that every player has pace. When you combine speed and skill it is an unbelievable combination.
How does this impact your child?
Sport in general is seeing an increase in demand for speed. Rugby, basketball, hockey to name just a few.
Rugby in particularly is a really interesting example of how speed and athleticism has taken over from the stereotypical days of big guys with big bellies!
A conversation with a speed training coach highlighted the issues facing young footballers in an already competitive market.
He had the pleasure of speaking with a junior football coach at Ajax. This academy is one of the world’s best and known for developing very skilful footballers.
The coach was asked, ‘what do you look for when scouting a young player?’.
The response, ‘Speed. Give me a fast player and I will teach them everything else’.
Basically, your child will have an advantage, in terms of playing a sport at a high-level, if they are fast.
But my child isn’t fast – should we just give up?
No. Absolutely not!
We are certainly not saying that speed is the be-all-and-end-all. What we are saying is that is gives your child a competitive advantage in the eyes of the decision-makers at professional academies, schools and junior football clubs.
So, what can you do to help your child improve speed?
It was long believed that we were born fast or we were not, but it has been proven that speed can be trained and developed in children and adults.
It is why we have spent so much time learning and qualifying in speed coaching. We know how important it is to provide this training to children in order to help them in sport and everyday life.
Imagine the confidence boost it would give a child when they can suddenly move so much better and quicker. That is what we want and what we will strive to give our members.
We’ll be posting some hints and tips for parents to pass onto your children that can be practised at home so keep checking the Facebook Page for the videos and blogs.
Foot-Tech Academy offers junior football coaching in Leeds to children aged 4-14 through our weekly group sessions, private 121 football training, after-school clubs and our brand-new specialist speed training.
For more info please visit www.foot-techacademy.co.uk
Is Your Child Sleeping Correctly?
I recently finished a really interesting book by ‘sleep coach’, Nick Littlehales.
Nick has worked with everyone from Cristiano Ronaldo to the GB cycling team to help them reach optimal performance through sleeping better.
It is a great read for anyone who wants to work out how to get a good nights’ sleep…how many of you parents have just clicked straight through to Amazon!
Back with us? Good.
So, the whole basis of the book is the fact we sleep in 90 minute cycles where we enter different stages of sleep. If we wake up inside a cycle we will get that ‘groggy’ feeling and if we wake up between cycles we should feel more refreshed.
Nick also talks about the fact you don’t need a really expensive mattress and how 30 minute naps through the day can also be great (if only!) to help us get the amount of rest we need.
Perhaps most interesting was the fact that we don’t necessarily have to sleep for long periods every night. He advises to pass through several 90 minute cycles but, let’s face it, life sometimes gets in the way in some way, shape or form.
Reassuringly, Nick says that as long as we stick to the 90 minute cycles, and wake up between them, we have a better chance of being more alert through the day. The idea is that we must try to at least get a good few cycles of sleep a majority of the week but that a couple of nights where we sleep less than we’d like doesn’t mean the next day is a struggle.
It got us thinking about the benefits this could have on children and how some sleeping routines may actually hamper their chances of being more alert for school, sport etc.
We hear from parents that sometimes they need to pretty much drag their child out of bed on a morning yet on other days they are absolutely fine. This might have something to do with the fact they are waking up inside or between cycles.
Nick advocates sticking to a routine but says we should count back in 90 minute slots from the time we want to wake up i.e. if you want your child to wake up at 7am the best times to fall asleep would be 7pm, 8:30pm, 10pm or 11:30pm.
The earlier the better but if, say, you have a family evening out and miss bedtime, it could actually be better to keep your child awake until they reach one of the above times.
Following the books instructions, if you get home at 9:15pm it would be better to let your children fall asleep at 10pm rather than rush them straight to bed.
If your child struggles to get out of bed on a morning check the hours and maybe give the strategy a try.
If it is good enough for Cristiano…
The book is called ‘Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours’.