Friday, November 17, 2017

Gulf Coast's Micro Soccer Program offers U5-U6 players an introduction to the game in an age appropriate manner that is consistent with nationally recognized standards and best practices. The focus of our program is to help your child develop a love for the sport of soccer. Introduction to the game and the fundamental skills of soccer will be joyfully delivered in a variety of fun activities geared to bring laughter, enjoyment, and the love of the game to your child. The Micro season runs weekly, typically 6 weeks in the spring and 10 weeks in the fall. Players are placed on coed teams and randomly selected to promote even teams and equal number of boys and girls. Each team will hold two (2) 45 minute practice session during the week and a 3v3 game on Saturday.  

What Parents Need to Know About Micro Soccer

Competitive games are more fun to play in! Teams are formed through a random draw format to encourage evenly balanced teams. Our goal is to have evenly match teams playing in closely competitive games that are fun and exciting for ALL participants and spectators. See our Recreational Fair Play Team Formation Policy for additional detials or contact the Micro Program Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Competent players have more fun! Coaches are encouraged to utilize the Gulf Coast Soccer Curriculum Documents to build competence in the players and enhance their enjoyment of the game. Gulf Coast training staff are available to assist in coach and player development and we encourage all coaches and parents to take advantage of these valuable resources. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information.

Equipment:

  • Size 3 soccer ball (properly inflated (with name on it)
  • Soccer cleats
  • Shin Guards
  • Water bottle (with name on it)

Understanding U5/U6 Players

  • Minimal differences between boys and girls
  • No sense of pace; easy fatigue and rapid recovery
  • Primitive motor skills and eye-hand/eye-foot coordination
  • Throwing, catching, and kicking a ball present real challenges
  • Still learning to control their body; love to run, jump, and roll around
  • Very short attention span; need simple instructions
  • No understanding of time and space relationships
  • Tend toward illogical thinking; fantasy and reality frequently intermingle in playtime
  • Highly egocentric; play in parallel to (and not with) each other
  • No sense of “team” or group dynamics
  • Focus is on the ball; they do not like to “share the toy”
  • Psychologically fragile (very vulnerable to criticism from adults)

Age-appropriate Implications for U5/U6 Players

  • Movement education is very important; balance, skipping, hopping, jumping, running (forward and backward), getting down and back up, and changing directions are all essential skills to rehearse often
  • Ball control (trapping), running with the ball (dribbling), ball-striking (shooting and passing), and ball-winning are the main priorities for skill development
  • “Kicking” (or “booting”) is NOT SOCCER!  We must teach players that we always control the ball first, and then decide to dribble, pass, or shoot.
  • Give generous praise and provide a pressure-free environment
  • Practices = 45 minutes in length
  • Coed soccer is the preferred format, as it exposes all players to the widest-possible range of personality types.  Boys tend to be naturally more competitive in nature, whereas girls tend to be more cooperative.  Soccer at the higher levels of play requires players to have BOTH these attributes.
  • Players have issues with throw-ins and kick-ins, so postpone these concepts to later age groups (U7+)

Continuous Play Format (“New Ball!”)

Our Micro teams (U5/U6) use the "New Ball" Continuous Play format.  There are no goalkeepers, and players are discouraged from simply standing in front of their defensive goal.  Whenever a ball goes out of play, a server (positioned behind the closest goal) holds up a ball, calls "New Ball!" to direct the players' attention to that ball, then rolls it to an open space in either corner on that end of the field.  Balls are not to be tossed or bounced back in to play, and should not be served into the middle of the field.

The idea behind the ‘new ball method’ is to keep the flow of the game constant and increase the number of ball touches by all the players. The ‘new ball method’ eliminates restarts such as throw-ins and corner kicks and keeps the ball in play continuously. Restarts might be important to the game results at the highest level of play, but they have no relevance or developmental benefits at the U-6 level.

Key Points and Benefits

  • Eliminate all traditional (adult) restarts other than the initial kick-offs at the start of each quarter
  • Move all adults off the playing field; make it clear this is a game for the kids to play!
  • Position a coach or designated parent behind each goal line to be a server with a supply of balls
  • Whenever a ball goes out of play (for what would've been a goal kick, corner kick, throw-in, or kick off), the server on that half of the field rolls a new ball into play and calls out “New Ball!” loudly so all players can hear
  • New balls should be rolled into open spaces on the ground away from the pack, or close to any player who has not had a lot of touches on the ball during the game; make dominant players run more to get to each new ball
  • The benefits of doing this are HUGE; the ball will stay in play over 90% of the scheduled game time, the players will get approximately 70% more touches on the ball during the same amount of time, the players will do a lot more total running in each game, and the challenge of getting the ball can be “slanted” to match the different abilities of the players on the field. More touches will accelerate the players competency with the ball and success in the game.

Other Resources We Recommend: 

Sample New Ball Implementation - Note that our implementation is a little different