There are many things in life that give kids the ability to grow and mature. One of those things is youth soccer. Youth soccer, in most places in the United States, is wildly popular. It gives kids the opportunity to have fun, act like kids, and develop a sense of community and responsibility. There are several activities that can be done to enhance youth soccer and those will be discussed in this article.
One great activity to implement into youth soccer practices is an activity called keep away. To play keep away, you pair two youth soccer players together. You then set a timer for a short period of time, not too long or the youth soccer players will tire. One or two minutes should be plenty of time. One youth soccer player attempts to dribble the ball and keep it away from his or her opponent. The opponent counts how many times they took the ball away and that is the score they receive. This is a great activity for several reasons. First, it allows youth soccer players to really hone their dribbling skills. Dribbling is an essential skill in youth soccer and it a skill that can become boring for kids to practice. Therefore, if you make a game out of dribbling, it will provide them with a fun and easy way to develop their skills, which is the whole point of youth soccer. Keep away is also great for developing a sense of healthy competition. While youth soccer should always focus on fun, it is never bad to introduce a bit of competition into the lives of young people. Finally, keep away is physically challenging. While one or two minutes does not seem like a very long time, it can be quite physically taxing if you are actively trying to keep a defender away for that period of time.
Another fun way to end a youth soccer practice is to practice shootouts. These are fun because they simulate the end of a soccer match and give kids the feeling or opportunity of winning the match. The shootout, much the activity of keep away, has many benefits to youth soccer players. First, shootouts can groom youth soccer players by providing them with opportunities to really feel the pressure of a shootout situation. Again, youth soccer is something that should primarily be about fun for the kids. However, some of the kids that play youth soccer will likely move on to the next level where competition is much greater. Therefore, it is a great idea to provide them with opportunities to really feel game like pressure in practice. Shootouts are also great for kids who do not get to experience the thrill of a game winning shot. For example, many players will be assigned to play positions like defense. These folks will have much less of a chance to participate in a game winning shot than players who play the forward position. Therefore, implementing the shootout is a way to give these kids a chance to really experience this thrill.
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