In the final part in a series of expert coaching articles to improve young players skills in youth football, Kids DXB owner Tom Green explains how to improve your child’s balance and learn to press.
Football is a great sport for children to be involved in from a young age and having experience coaching children from the ages of 3-11 and upwards in the UAE for the last 10 years I can say first hand how rewarding it is to see children developing their skills and applying this in matches. The goal of this article is to give you as parents some tips, hacks and secrets that will help your child to accelerate their progress above and beyond the activities that they will be doing in their typical coaching sessions.
LEARN TO PRESS
Many successful teams in the modern game using a pressing strategy to try to regain possession high up the field and this strategy was popularised by Jurgen Klopp at both Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool Football Club. Central to the strategy is that attacking players should press other attacking players and also cover space to reduce passing channels available to players that are in possession of the ball.
Secondly children should have an awareness of the concept of covering shadows. They should have an awareness of the theoretical shadows that extend behind them and signify areas where the opposing player must avoid in order to avoid losing possession of the ball. The key here is to press in a way where as many passing options are covered by shadows as possible as shown in this video showing Chelsea attackers possessing Arsenal whilst their defending players are in possession of the ball.
Being centred and having a strong awareness of centre of gravity is essential for receiving and running with the ball as well as passing shooting and tackling. A common misconception is that balance cannot be taught but this is evidently not the case and is made clear by martial arts practices like kung fu where children show noticeable improvements in balance.
If your child is involved in a martial arts class already then they will likely be reaping the balance related benefits of these types of activities. If self defence isn’t up your child’s street or you can’t fit another activity into the schedule then don’t worry. Practicing these simple stances taken from kung fu can help your child to improve their body awareness and proprioception subsequently becoming more balanced on the pitch on their journey to becoming a more natural footballer.
- If you are interested in getting your children involved in a football academy then why not take a free trial of Kids DXB’s Kidster program where you can get access to a 30 day free trial of unlimited sports coaching, with high level sports coaching in football as well as seven other sports! We have football coaching sessions running throughout the day for children with children between the ages of 3-11 divided into three age groups.