MiniRoos in the Discovery Phase
ABOUT THE DISCOVERY PHASE
- The first and most important step is to take the word ‘coach’ out of your mind. Your role is summed up as a facilitator of fun, safe and engaging games. Just let them play!
- Create an environment that encourages children to freely express themselves
- Provide ample opportunities for children to experience success
- Encourage children to improvise and be creative with the ball at their feet
- Develop children’s passion and love of football
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN IN THIS AGE BRACKET?
- They are still ‘clumsy’ (lack fine motor skills), because they are still developing their coordination
- They have a short span of attention and are quickly and easily distracted
- They are ‘self-centred’ and not yet able to really work together (so do not ask them to perform team play, it is impossible for them!)
- They play or participate for fun with short bursts of energy and enthusiasm
- They are unable to handle a lot of information (instructions; feedback)
A training session for children of this age can consist of 5 components: Small-Sided Game, FUN Football Game, Small-Sided Game (with variation), Physical Literacy Game, Small Sided Game. It’s important to note that facilitators should respond to the players needs and manage how many and what type of game to use in their situation.
1. Small-Sided Game
This is a FUN way to commence a practical session that allows children to showcase freedom of expression in a safe and supervised environment that resembles street football. It is also easy to set up, caters for any number of players and establishes an easy arrival routine of playing a game.
2. FUN Football Game
Child friendly games that are related to the game of football which enable all children to experience success, provide players with lots of repetition at high speed and enable children to develop competence in the fundamental movements that forms the base of their technical development.
3. Small-Sided Game (with variation)
Return to the original small-sided game with a slight variation. Introduce scoring system as an incentive to encourage certain actions but does not restrict players from freedom of expression. For example, in a game with two wide goals, a goal is worth three points if scored in the other goal, yet still worth 1 in the same goal
4. Physical Literacy Game
Games focusing on the development of physical literacy with important points being that all children have the potential to be competent and confident, activities are easy and flexible to adapt to different development levels and incorporates an holistic and player-centred learning approach.
5. Small-Sided Game
Return to the original small-sided game and let them play!
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TRAINING SESSIONS WITH CHILDREN?
We believe that this fun and free approach to playing football will give thousands of young players enjoyable football experiences that will foster their love and passion for the beautiful game.
With these resources we want to support facilitators in order to create a SAFE environment which empowers children to thrive by offering activities that suit their stage of development, age, abilities and interest. We want to also stress the importance of adapting and modifying activities by embracing the rich diversity of our players and adopting INCLUSIVE practices. When planning games, it is important to understand each participant’s physical, psychological, social and cognitive capabilities. Depending on their level, adjustments or modifications may need to be made to ensure all players are engaged and included in order to achieve an adequate level of success.
Your most important job is to recreate that street football environment, be a facilitator 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.
To assist you in this, we highly recommend that you undertake a Football Australia Coach Education Course. Coaches at all levels play a crucial role in ensuring that football is an enjoyable experience for everyone, as well as laying the foundation for the development of better players. As such, our Coach Education courses have been designed to support you in whatever role you have whether it be in youth or senior football.
In the Discovery Phase, we highly recommend that coaches undertake the MiniRoos Certificate (Community Pathway) and/or the Football Australia 'C' Youth Licence (Advanced Pathway) which will assist you in planning/preparing sessions and how you conduct and evaluate training. Click HERE for more information on our Football Australia Coach Education Courses and to find which course will be right for you, your own coaching journey and the players you are working with.