Welcome to Beverly Hills AYSO Region 76
Ellen Lamm's great advice on dealing with the little ones:
I have been a U6 coach for three seasons; this season being
my third. On Thursday I had my third practice. It was one of the worst I have ever
had. Boys were jumping on top of each other, running in all directions, and generally not
listening to a word I had to say. I told my husband that I was ready to throw in the
towel. My husband said
that the most important thing was to have fun. Well, I can honestly say that this coach was not having fun!
When I read your letter [from a posting on the AYSO Listserv], it put a smile on my face. I knew exactly what you were talking about. Coaching is not an exact science. Reading the kids' moods and altering your practice accordingly is most helpful. The more you have in your bag of tricks the better off you will be. There are a few things I learned from watching the coaches at the MLS Camp we had here that helped me:
When you are talking to the players and don't want them moving around, have them sit on their balls. That prevents the kids from throwing the balls around and keeps the children relatively still. (NOTE: To those of you who are worried about damaging the soccer ball, think about these same players leaving their ball in the backyard day and night. I know that sitting on the balls may not be the best thing for them; but remember we're talking about balls for very young children, not professionals.)
When you need to gain about 30-60 seconds to grab a clipboard or whatever, use freezing dust. This is the magical dust you have in your hands that when sprinkled on the players makes them freeze in place, like statues. The kids enjoy pretending to be statues and it gives you a little time to grab something.....or get a head start....
If you are "losing" the kids, have them yell. For example the coaches at the MLS Camp would turn around at times and ask the kids, "What time is it?" They would yell back, "Game Time Woo." Then the coach might say, "What time?", prompting them to yell even louder. Other things like, "Are you ready to play?", "Are you having fun?",
etc. also work.
By the way, I have the new AYSO U6 coaching manual. I also have the MLS Coaching Manual--Munchkins Program (U6), which has many games to play that almost make drills a thing of the past. They do hold the kids' attention more, but nothing seems to work all the time. As an AYSO U6 coach, you should have the new coaching manual. But I would highly recommend you get a copy of the MLS manual as well (call
1-888-226-7765). I can't say this enough: The more tricks you have the better things will be.