- All kids
- Australian freestyle kids
- Australian soccer kids
- Freestyle soccer kids
- Active kids
- Pre skill kids
- Primary skill kids
- High skill kids
- Elite skill kids
- Home skilled kids
- Card games
- Teenage mentors
- Buddy system
- Lighten up
All kids are different. All kids have talent. All kids make mistakes. All kids can practice. All kids can improve. All kids need is a ball. All kids can learn. All kids are a challenge.
All kids are different. There’s a different key to developing every kid. All kids have talent. Soccer coaches don’t teach talent. They teach skill. They teach techniques and tactics so teams can win games. If we want to develop the talent that kids have, we need a learning program. We can teach every kid to be the same or we can learn to make a difference.
All kids make mistakes. Soccer coaches stop their mistakes so they can correct their techniques. If we want to overcome mistakes, we need to learn about them so we can identify their underlying cause.
All kids can practice. All kids can improve. Each kid has a different level of talent, intelligence, energy and experience. We can improve any soccer kid as soon as we discover what each kid needs to improve.
All kids can learn. Freestyle Soccer is a learning program designed to give all kids the freedom to think for themselves, make decisions, create moves, make mistakes, learn from them and move on. All kids need is a ball.
Australian freestyle kids
Ordinary training produces ordinary kids who are predictable. Extra training produces extraordinary kids who are unpredictable.
In Australia, there are groups of young people who research and develop their technical skills every day while measuring their improvement. These aren’t sports scientists. These are just growing kids who have a growth mindset. They’re the surfers, basketball players, bike riders, skaters and soccer players who put theory into practice on the beaches, courts, tracks, skate parks and backyards challenging their personal best and competing with their mates. These are the Australian Freestyle kids who take responsibility for everything they do and have nobody else to blame but themselves. Kids are designed to look, learn, explore and discover because they don't know what they can't do. Adults develop a fixed mindset because they know what they can't do.
What makes Australian Freestyle kids different from other kids is that they practice what they can’t do and learn new skills and tricks every day without direction, protection or correction from well-intentioned adults. Freestyle kids improve control because they take control. They develop respect, responsibility, resourcefulness and resilience. What matters is why kids can improve so much and lead Australian research into sports development when they’re free to think for themselves. Is anybody learning anything about these Australian Freestyle kids?
Australian soccer kids
We can develop intelligent kids to suit the needs of a system, or we can develop an Australian coaching system to suit the needs of Australian kids.
When we visit the leading Football nations of the world, we see elite coaching academies. We don’t see the millions of Freestyle kids who spend hundreds of hours getting thousands of ball touches by juggling, dribbling and playing on the beaches, streets and parks without any supervision or correction from coaches or parents. These kids are already 1 million steps ahead of Australian soccer kids.
Elite kids don’t need elite coaching. They need thousands of repetitive ball touches and the freedom to think for themselves and create their own moves. The struggling kids, who don’t know how to play, are the ones who really need as much coaching as they can get. We can protect kids from failure by making games non-competitive, but if we’re really serious about competing with the leading Football nations of the world, we need to discover the thousands of talented Freestyle Soccer kids who already demonstrate a competitive nature.
Freestyle soccer kids
Freestyle kids make soccer fun and they make soccer work.
In Australia, there are thousands of Freestyle Soccer kids who practice with a ball every day juggling, dribbling or kicking against a wall. Freestyle kids get at least 1000 touches of the ball each day. Most soccer clubs don’t know who their Freestyle kids are. They look at the kids who train when they’re told to train and they overlook the kids who have the motivation to train when they’re not told to train.
Juggling skills can’t be faked. They can only be developed through time and effort. Every club should hold an annual skills competition to recognise those kids who have freestyle ability. There are plenty of talented kids who waste their talent. We need to discover the kids who have the character to push themselves harder than anyone else can because they’re not scared to be competitive or innovative. Freestyle Soccer kids can learn a lot faster when they’re home skilled.
There’s a different key to every kid, a different drill for every skill, and a different solution to every challenge.
A Juggling Circle is an Activity Centre where we can activate talent, energy, confidence and intelligence. It provides an accurate indication of how individual players behave in match situations.
Inactive kids need exercise and encouragement so they can develop their self esteem. These kids don’t realise how good they can be.
Reactive kids need the confidence to make mistakes so they can think for themselves. They’ll never know if they don’t give it a go.
Interactive kids need to be included more because they look, listen, communicate and learn. They’re tuned to the needs of the team and they make good coaches.
Active kids need a training environment where they can practice skills and tricks with their mates. They need to be challenged more, so they can lift their game.
Proactive kids need the freedom to run training drills so they can develop their leadership qualities. They need to be heard.
Hyperactive kids have a tremendous amount of natural energy that needs to be channelled so they don’t lose it. They need understanding.
Overactive kids need to relax so they don’t try too hard to kick the ball too hard. They need to learn how to pace themselves.
Overreactive kids need to take more responsibility for their actions and learn the consequences of retaliation. They need to stop and think.
Distractive kids need to help new kids so that they learn to think about other players. They need a reason for training and a purpose for playing.
It’s amazing how much we know about the game and how little we know about the kids who play it.
Pre skill kids – Fun
Pre skill kids need to use both feet right from the start and they should be encouraged to develop balance, timing, rhythm and coordination. They need to coordinate their motor skills.
Primary skill kids – Understanding
Primary skill kids are ready to look, listen and learn so they can see what happens in a game, learn how it happens and understand why. They need to play Chess so they learn to observe and make decisions.
High skill kids – Confidence
High skill kids are ready to challenge themselves. They need to keep a written record of their performance, achievement and improvement.
Elite skill kids – Responsibility
Elite skills kids are ready to run drills because they know what to do and how to do it, understand why and can decide when and how to do it. They need to demonstrate their character.
Home skilled kids – Creativity
Home skilled kids have reached the intuitive stage where they can improvise their own moves and dominate the play on and off the ball. They need to stimulate their intelligence.
Kids need to measure their limits are so they can extend them.
Freestyle Soccer kids keep a record of their short term goals and achievements and they keep a diary of their personal training. At any time, they know where they’re up to and what their next challenge is.
When kids juggle a ball, it only takes 5 minutes to develop timing and rhythm. Their numbers improve as their concentration and mobility increase. If a kid juggles 30 times, the last 10 numbers will add up to a lot more than the first 10. Any coach can discover this by observing kids and learning about them. When kids achieve their personal best, it gives them a specific target to aim for. Too many kids give up in the first 5 minutes and never discover how talented they really are.
Freestyle kids use card games to write down their juggling figures. They use cards to record performance and improvement in ten different skills for individuals and pairs. Soccer kids have the intelligence and ability to enhance their peak skills and eliminate their weak skills.
The Teenage Mentor of today is the Soccer coach of tomorrow.
In every junior Soccer team, there is at least one kid who has an older brother or sister who can make life a lot easier for the coach. Some sports have assistant coaches, attacking coaches, defensive coaches, goalkicking coaches, conditioners, statisticians and nutritionists. In Soccer, the team coach is struggling to do a little bit of everything. A teenage mentor can be the bridge between the coach and the kids.
At training, a teenage mentor can help with fitness drills or run grid games while the coach works with individuals. They can demonstrate skills and the players will relate easily to them. In games, the teenage mentor is a second set of eyes to observe performance off the ball. Ideally, a teenage mentor should be three years older than the kids. The teenage mentor shows kids how easy it is to run their own drills.
Every team should have a buddy system so that no kid is left behind.
A team is only as strong as its weakest link. Every team has at least one kid who struggles with a simple issue such as fitness, ball control, attitude or teamwork. A buddy system ensures that two players can push each other at training and support each other in games. Every kid needs to know that at least one person has got their back and will help them out.
A buddy system ensures that players have a regular partner for close repetition drills but also someone who helps them in fitness drills. Too many junior teams get distracted before a game. Ballwork in pairs splits up the kids and encourages them to concentrate on their ball control and think about the game. A buddy system guarantees that every player gets at least 200 touches of the ball before kickoff.
We all have eyes, ears, mouths and minds. We just need to open them. We need to look, listen, ask questions and learn.
Lighten Up is the quickest and most effective way to develop players. Results are immediate, visible measurable and permanent. The challenge is to find one Australian Soccer kid who can’t be improved within 5 minutes.
If you stand 2 metres from a player and throw the ball continuously to their head, the first thing you notice is how rigid and mechanical they look because they stand flat footed. They stab at the ball awkwardly instead of striking through it smoothly. Get them to jog on the spot. Now throw the ball to their shoulders alternating from left and right. Next throw the ball to their thighs, the inside of their feet and then their instep. You need 3 sets to improve any kid. The first set is full of mistakes. The second set is more relaxed and the third set is brilliant. It takes 5 minutes for kids to develop footwork and get 200 touches of the ball. Lighten Up simply integrates Soccer skills with natural skills. All kids are different and all kids respond to encouragement.
‘I learned how to get shouted at’ A talented 13 year old kid..
"Game of cones is a free range practice drill that teaches kids how accurate they are."
Each generation is smarter and more talented than the previous generation. That's evolution. The next generation of Australian soccer kids has already discovered and developed the first soccer learning program and they're just waiting for the older generation to catch up and challenge them.
One of the most effective ways to stimulate intelligence is to ask kids questions about their game.
Ask kids how many ball touches they need before a game. Ask them to list 20 calls they can use. Ask them what they look at when they kick a ball. Ask them why so many shots go straight to the keeper. Ask them where they want to play and why. Ask kids to list their peak skills and weak skills. Ask them why they go to school. When you ask questions, make sure you listen to kids and take notice of the answers.