How to coach 4 to 6 year olds
For 4 to 6 year olds, a positive, engaging, and fun-filled experience of sport starts with play. Using The FA’s Play Phase philosophy can help create a lifelong love of sport.
Research has shown that a positive first start will encourage them to remain fit, healthy, and active throughout their lives.
Your goal is to create a safe space where the children can play. Your sessions should engage and involve them. Let them have fun while being physically active.
What is happening at this age?
Introducing... your ABCs. This refers to three of the fundamental movement skills set out in the National Curriculum for PE.
Agility is the ability to change direction at speed and in control of your own body.
Balance is the ability to stay upright and in control of body movements.
Coordination is the ability to move two or more body parts under control smoothly and efficiently.
The ‘s’ in ABCs stands for speed. It includes speeding up, slowing down, and stopping while controlling a ball or near a player. Although it’s not a fundamental movement skill, it works with them and is key when playing invasion games like football.
Social and emotional development
Children will be constantly developing and building their social skills alongside their emotions. They’ll begin to experience others’ emotions and understand that others don’t think the same way as they do. They will start to be able to tell when someone is happy or upset. They may struggle to regulate or control their emotions. For example, they may close their eyes when frustrated or remove themselves from new situations.
At this age, they may show more appreciation for the rules. Remember that too many rules may be hard for them to follow.
You may find that they are very changeable. One minute they cooperate peacefully, and the next, they are demanding. This is normal for this age, so be patient and understanding. Parents and carers should be on hand to help.
Creating a safe environment
Creating a supportive environment that meets the specific needs of very young children must always be your priority.
Working with children aged 4 – 6 needs extra planning and safeguards. And remember, it’s essential that parents and carers understand they must be present to look after their child.
For more information, why not look at our safeguarding courses here.
Creating great sessions
Every session should include:
- Movement – in each session, the children should be enjoying moving and understanding how their body works. This could be running, jumping, or dancing. The possibilities are endless.
- Skills – they should also be developing their skills. This could be catching a ball, creating imaginary scenarios, or working on their dribbling skills.
- Play – each session should have play at its heart. Aim to bring out all four types of play from the Play Framework over a few sessions.
Let’s hear from Pete Sturgess, who’s talking with a parent of a child involved in Play Phase.