Kids are very slow and lack reaction time and acceleration

Kids are very slow and lack reaction time and acceleration

Hello all! My kids aged 9 and 7 are very slow when compared to their peers of the same age. They don't seem to fight for the ball and get and watch others play their game. They seem to lack the urgency (heart) needed for the game. (They LOVE football). How can make them move around and react faster. Any help you are able to provide is greatly appreciated. Thanks O

Football CoachCoach
Jmorozowski Coach, United States of America

Have you ever tried to make a game out of whatever you are doing?  For instance, if Team A wins (complese more passes successfully, scores more goals, etc.) then they can decide what Team B must do (push ups, run a few laps, etc.).  I don't really coach kids any more, but perhaps if there was some sort of achievement based rewards in training then it might carry over to matches.  I'm sure that other, more experienced, coaches will have much better insight, but that' just my two cents.

Scott Coach, Ireland

Are you talking about your own personal children or a group of children ??

The reason i ask is that i find in some cases that kids coached by there own parents can sometimes take a more laid back approach to things as the coach is the dad meaning they can take a few extra liberites and still be involved and play. As its there father doing the coaching they can sometimes be less focused and not listen as much. Try allowing them to train or play with another team for a bit or if possible get in another coach to help you out and put your kids with them see if that sparks there urgency a little more.

The other things to try and encourage and work on in training with kids like this is reaction training there are some reaction balls you can get (Used in SAQ work alot) which when rolled or thrown on bouncing they can move in unpredictable ways get them to chace down the balls and things like that. Also work a little more on SAQ training (Speed - Agility - Quickness). Teach them to not stand flat footed teach them to be on there toes and anticipate things happening rather than reacting once its happened.  Try and teach them to come toward the ball more rather than waiting on the ball coming to them there are many many more things i could list etc etc.

There are many simple drills you can find to encompass all the above in some way. See how this goes for you.

Craig PearceCoach, Australia

Scott makes a great point, as I have coached my son over numerous seasons and it can be a contributing factor in kids not being as intense as others in training especially, but also in matches.

Perhaps the most important insight I can add, as difficult as it may be for an enthusiastic father/coach (in which category I fit), is that it is not the kids' intensity which matters. It is their enjoyment.

So if they are enjoying themselves, which as you point out they are, then job done. If they develop the intensity which is required for them to be one of the better players, that's great. But don't sweat it. Our job - in my view - as kids coaches is to improve their skills and foster a love of the game, not to make them into professional footballers. And it sounds like you are succeeding in this, so well done.

Football CoachCoach

I agree as long as the kids are enjoying themselves and having fun that's all that matters. Also agree with making games fun but adding a competive edge to them I use football rounders which gets my U10's running and moving whilst having a fun competitive game. Keep doing what you are doing only worry if they start to hate coming to training.

Football CoachCoach

Thanks to everyone that took the time to reply.

The boys I am training are my two sons. They are involved with a professional soccer academy. But I put in an extra three sessions (1-1.5hrs/session) of drills training myself.

They love the game and find training with me very fun. It is very rewarding for me as well to see my boys develope.

I always get them involved in the drill design and we always talk about what to incorporate at each training session.

I try to incorporate their ideas into the drills as well.

Does anyone recommend any drills that I could use to improve their speed and agility?

Jmorozowski Coach, United States of America

Do you own an agility ladder?  There are lots of good agility ladder drills out there.  Also, I'd look into running sprints.

Strength training can also help improve speed.  Your kids are pretty young and I don't have much experience coaching kids that young so I don't know if starting them on strength training at that age will have any adverse effects.  I'd check with a medical professional on that front before starting any strength training, but squats (bodyweight), lunges, burpees,  etc.  can help.  

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