There’s a buzz about soccer, and in the past couple of decades it’s led to a significant increase in registrations for community leagues. As a consequence, soccer takes responsibility for the development of thousands of children who register every year, and this includes their physical literacy.
For children under 12, Canada Soccer has developed a program which is focused on meeting their learning needs as a whole. The priorities of this program are: accessibility, play-based learning and, first and foremost, fun. And the program has three pillars: coordination, cognitive development, and social development.
Turning practices into workshops
Soccer clubs are encouraged to turn practices for children under 12 into workshops which encourage the development of fundamental skills through fun, skill-building activities. At each workshop, a coach is supported by a technical advisor who is knowledgeable about the activities being played and the skills being developed.
Flexibility in delivering programs
The clubs can choose, depending on the age of the children, to organize them into teams or, conversely, to run a group program. The group option organizes all players in the same age and stage, and has them take part in the skill-developing activities. Young people who are more committed to playing are invited to the practice several times a week.
The benefit to running a group program is that a larger number of players fosters further participation. Children occasionally absent are not then responsible for practice cancellations, because there are always sufficient players to participate in the activities. And the atmosphere created by a large number of players guarantees lots of fun in every session.
Learning through play is fun
The new soccer programs are not just fun for the children, they are also fun for those parents who are coaching. Coaches no longer need to concentrate on a complete coaching session and a match. They need only to encourage their players because the technical advisor makes sure that the players are doing the activities properly, and ensures that the fundamental skills are being learned.
For children, each activity is fun and an opportunity to learn physical literacy through play. And they can try several match-related activities which will aid in their knowledge of the game.
Canada Soccer values active kids and believes the development of physical literacy is essential. There are thousands of them that meet on our green fields during the summer.
Photos courtesy Canada Soccer