Working Together to Improve Soccer Skills in the Off Season

Oh, the weather outside is becoming delightful…

And getting ready for the soccer season can be a little frightful.

Since it is possible for you to make some time to play…

Here are some ideas on preparing your child for the season starting today!

Parents, surely you realize that you are your child’s first and most influential teacher/coach. The stimulation and support you provide can instill a desire for your child to want to improve. So, it is important that you make learning experiences as fun as possible in the hope that your child will eventually become self-motivated to want to improve.

Foremost, you must find out if your child is actually interested in improving during the off-season. Make a conscientious effort to listen to your child by engaging in two-way conversation, meaning you’re talking and listening. Be sure to talk about in which areas of the game your child would like to improve.

Then, find out from your child’s coach what areas your child needs to improve so you can work on those strengths and weaknesses using the following techniques:

Read About Soccer Together

This can and will show your child the value of reading and maybe even improve their reading skills. Second, you will be showing your child affection and providing comfort. Third, you will show your child that you are interested in developing and sharing in his/her interests. Finally, through the reading material, you may stimulate your child’s interest and establish that soccer is serious fun and not serious work. Note: I recommend my TOTALLY book as a must-read (of course!).

Watch Soccer Games Together

As you are watching games, decide what you will focus on: A specific player, a specific technique, a specific running pattern, etc. Ask your child to imagine being part of the action on the field. Discuss the action on the field and find out if your child is really observing the game as a participant. But, remember the younger the child, the shorter the attention span!

Watch Training Clips Together

Select only one technique per viewing. Plan to repeat each segment several times so the subconscious can record the action. Look for different aspect of the movement as separate focal points, such as head movement, body movement or foot movement. Have your child explain to you what each movement would be if they were performing the movement.

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Practice Soccer Together

Find out what your child’s coach expects of your child so you can reinforce those expectations at home. Or have your child put into action what you read about or observed. When trying to show your child how the technique looks, be sure to laugh at your own mistakes. Your practice sessions should be short in duration unless your child shows great interest in continuing.

Play Together Today and Every Day

Since this will be your child’s only childhood and they are available right now, start playing right now! Delaying practice until tomorrow is always too late, so practice together today because sometimes tomorrow never comes! When practicing together:

  • Do allow them as many touches with the ball as possible.
  • Do give them encouragement.
  • Do have lots of fun together.
  • Don’t hog the ball; your child needs to touch the ball as often as possible.
  • Don’t make fun of your child’s mistakes; allow them to experiment without comments.
  • Don’t make your child look foolish or silly; they need to be successful or they may not want to play again!

Finally, when learning soccer together, remember when your child was first learning to walk or ride a bike, and be as helpful, understanding and patient as you were when your child was learning these other skills in life.

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien) was the state director of coaching for the California Youth Soccer Association from 1979-2012, is the author of the internationally published “FUNdamental SOCCER” books series and is producer of the highly acclaimed “9-Step Practice Routine” DVDs. You can contact him at [email protected].


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