Practicing With U-Littles (U-5 and Younger)
The basic Thoughtful Soccer practice works with all age groups and ability levels. Players U-5 and younger, though, aren’t quite ready for it. They’ll be unable to compete at some of the activities, including most of the scrimmages. The name of the game is to use fun, “stepping stone” activities that move the players quickly toward the basic practice.
As the Applicable Activities section shows, U-Littles can compete at many of the activities. Most of the shots can be practiced. (What better way to begin soccer than shooting in as many different ways as possible?) Some of the dribbling games work fine, particularly with a few adjustments. Two important stepping-stone activities, Settlers and Alligator River, can also be played right away. And for scrimmaging, mini-scrimmages make a nice introduction.
How should you organize your practices? You’ll be tempted to cover passing one night, dribbling the next, and shooting the next. The Multiple-Theme Approach makes more sense! You can play a particular game several times during the season, and you’ll see more improvement.
What if you’re organizing practice for a large number of U-5’s, with few or no assistants? The parents can help organize and run the activities. In doing so, they’ll also learn how to practice with their children at home. The Circuit Approach becomes the ideal way to set up a multiple-theme practice.