Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making Sport Fun for 3-5 Year Olds

Regardless of age, we all indulge in activities and hobbies based on our interests, based on things that we enjoy. More over, those who choose to participate in sport throughout their lives do so because they have had positive experiences within sport. Therefore, it is a common acknowledgement amongst coaches and professionals alike that the primary focus for youth sport should be fun. So how do we make sport enjoyable for young children; how do we make it fun?

Before introducing any sport to a young child, the equipment they play with should be considered. Using developmentally appropriate equipment will make it easier for children to be successful in sport. Many sporting organizations and departments now recognize the need for specially designed equipment for kids, and are utilizing it within their programs. For example, in soccer smaller balls, fields and nets are all used; in basketball backboards lowered; and in baseball young children use a tee. Ultimately, if children experience greater success and less frustration, it will lead to greater enjoyment!

Young children have a short attention span; therefore the key to a good coaching session is engaging your players and keeping them engaged. It is essential that as a coach you relate to your players. Designing games around player’s favorite TV shows, foods or superheroes is a great way to get their attention. Most children have a great imagination, so keep their attention by incorporating their input into your games. It can be as simple as turning base running into a jungle adventure, or using their magical superpowers stored the soccer ball to destroy the spaceship. But remember the children are there to learn, so do not forget coaching points too!

So now you have the specially designed equipment and a great session plan, a coach without enthusiasm and energy means these things become meaningless. Essentially, a coach’s personality is the key ingredient in putting the FUN into FUNdamentals. When coaching young children you should be animated, be involved within the session, and most importantly look like your having fun too!

Finally, everybody enjoys getting praise for something they did well. So when your players score of goal or hit the ball give them a high five, it will make their day!

Click here to find out more about the fun sports programs we offer for 3-5 year olds, all year round!

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