Friday, August 18, 2017

Our Micro Soccer program is a unique program that is aimed to meet the physical and social needs of 4-5 year olds. Children this age enjoy movement, interaction with teammates, but it is also an ideal age to develop basic movement skills with and without the ball. We sat down with Technical Director Robert Parr to get some insight on the Micro Program and the age group in general. See the Q&A below or visit the Micro Program website for additional details.  

Q: What are our main goals for players in the Micro Soccer program?

A: Our focus is always to give players a fun experience playing soccer. We want all our players to develop a life-long love of the game. 

So, what is "fun"? When the challenge posed by an activity matches the ability of the participants, that is FUN. When the challenge is too great, that is frustrating. When the challenge is too low, that becomes boring. In all our programming, we seek to match the challenge of the game with the physical, technical, tactical, mental, and emotional needs of the players in our programs.

In our Micro Soccer program, we simplify the game by reducing the number of players on the field, reducing the size of the field, and eliminating many parts of the Laws of the Game (as played by adults). We also focus on teaching the basic skills of the game -- how to control (trap) the ball, how to run with (dribble) the ball, how to strike (shoot) the ball, and how to win the ball (defend) when you don't have it. Players at this stage also need to practice basic motor skills without the ball, such as running, changing directions, jumping, skipping, and standing on one leg. As players become more skillful, they gain confidence, which leads to more enjoyment when they play.  

Q: What is involved in coaching a Micro Soccer team?

A: The most important requirement for a coach is to love young children! Having a background in soccer (specifically) or team sports (more generally) will always be helpful, but this is not at all necessary to coach a Micro Soccer team. Micro soccer players should not be coached the way we would coach a high school team or even a U8-U10 team, because they are not at the same stage of growth and maturity. In many ways, experience as a teacher or as a parent is the best preparation to be a coach of U5 and U6 boys and girls.

We provide complete lesson plans to all our coaches that you simply need to follow at your practices throughout the season. Teams should hold two practices each week (45 minutes long), and will play one game a week at the Gulf Coast Soccer Complex on Saturdays. As coach, you will determine the days and times of your practices, after confirming a field reservation for your practices with the Micro Program Director.

Micro Soccer games are very easy to coach! The main duties are to get action going again quickly whenever a ball goes out of play, to ensure that each player plays at least half of every game, and to provide tons of encouragement to all the players. If you can roll a ball with your hands, keep track of time, give a "high five", and say "great job!", then you have all the skills you need to coach these players!

Q: What does the Team Manager do for a Micro Soccer team?

A: The main function of the Team Manager is to assist the coaches with communication throughout the season. The Team Manager needs to stay in regular contact with the other members of the team to make sure they are informed about practice and game schedules, team picture schedules, and the rotation for providing post-game snacks. The Team Manager will also ensure that all players have received their uniform kits, and will organize an end-of-season social event for the team.