Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Soccer Class 2015

J and L took soccer lessons for a couple of months just to try it out. J had done a bit of football back at his English school so he had some skills already. The children were both a little reluctant to go but had a great time when they were there.

The coaches started classes with huddles where they'd discuss issues and get the kids fired up. During the first lesson, the kids had to pick a name for the group. After several recommendations and votes, they chose "Lightening Lions."

Soccer practice huddle

The lessons were a great mixture of different games that either taught basic skills or let the kids practice skills. One game was "Red light, green light and more." "Red light" meant stopping with your ball (i.e. putting one foot on the ball and standing still). "Green light" meant go at a regular speed. "Yellow light" meant dribbling along slowly. "Blue light" meant reverse direction. "Purple light" meant to pass the ball to someone else. Lots of skills were practiced when the instructors shouted out a new color--it's tough to remember so many different colors!

Yellow light

Red light

"On the line" and "Pacman" are games where the children have to dribble their balls along lines on the floor. Being a school gym, plenty of straight and curved lines for basketball provided plenty of options to move around. "Pacman" includes a couple of kids who are the "ghosts" trying to steal the balls from the other children.

Crowded lines at the beginning of Pacman

Less crowded pack doing Pacman

"Sharks and minnows" was another popular "steal the ball" game. At the beginning, one child is the shark standing in the middle of the gym. All the other boys and girls are at one end of the gym with their balls. When the coaches say, "Go minnows!" they have cross the gym without their ball getting stolen by the shark. Whoever's ball is stolen becomes a shark for the next round. Eventually all the kids are turned to sharks!

Crossing the floor

"Hit the coach" is a chance to get back at the coaches, though they were pretty good at dodging.

Getting ready to go after the coaches

They set up obstacle courses as well so the kids could navigate around various objects. L liked this a lot.

Setting up an obstacle

The last two or three classes included games of soccer. The coaches had to remind the kids of several things: (1) which team they are on, (2) which goal they are protecting, (3) which goal they are trying to score on. The games generally were packs of kids chasing the ball around the floor. The children without the ball would shout "pass the ball!" The child with the ball would try their hardest to score a goal while ignoring all that pesky shouting. By the end of the class, some players started passing--progress was made!

Coach as goalie

J reports that the kids play soccer at recess, so the lessons were definitely worth it (for him).

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