At this age, football should be primarily played in a playful environment that emphasises self-discovery. This continuity into early engagement develops crucial factors for the future of the players such as the love for the game, game intelligence and physical literacy.
Built on a common fundamental skills base, all players can be empowered to progress back and forth between the different pathways at a later stage. Players are more aware of the rules of the game and start to recognise the opportunities to play with and for each other. They are able to develop basic football techniques and during training can be exposed to games that have specific technical outcomes such as developing shooting techniques under pressure by an opponent.
It is the role of parents and game leaders to support their understanding through enabling all players the opportunity to play without restrictions and too much instruction.
Emphasise playing games with minimal interference from game leaders and parents.
Favour as many opportunities as possible to play football – ‘let the game be the teacher’.
Offer activities where excitement and enjoyment are the main objectives and extrinsic factors such as winning are not emphasised.
The recommended number of hours in a formal environment is 2-3 per week across a 20-25 week season.
Football activities outside the formal environment (Fun Football Centres and Holiday programmes) along with others sporting activities should be encouraged to reinforce physical literacy and initial game understanding.
Let the player’s play with minimum restrictions and little instruction – ‘keep it simple’.
Keep the adult pressures of winning out of fun football.