In any game of sports, motivation is as important as the technique. Motivation alone can suffice to persuade a player to achieve great heights through disciplined practice, excellent coaching and intent learning. Children at a very young age can be easily motivated. Motivating older players can be rather difficult for various reasons as their motivation lies in the end result of achievement. Young children can be encouraged to have fun as they play and that by itself will be enough to motivate them to play. Pure fun is their biggest motivation.
Apart from motivation, it is also necessary to keep their interest. Everybody knows children have short attention spans and their attention keeps fluttering from one thing to another very easily. It can be quite tricky to catch their attention and keep their interest. Rigorous training sessions are wasted on them. It would be best to keep them engaged in simple but fun activities like dribbling, football shooting drills, simple passes and such activities. While the game is portrayed as fun, an efficient coach will also manage to teach children the basics of the game and avoid confusion.
To keep the children moving would probably be the best tip, it will keep them stimulated. Most of all keep lectures really short, ranging from a few seconds to not more than 2 minutes. Long lectures are of no interest to them and will bore them. When engaging them in practice drills keep those short and fun too. A particular drill must not be beyond 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat the drill at every practice session, but keep them short to avoid monotony. At the end of the practice session, let them have a little time and leave them to their own devices to play.
Children are easy to train. In the beginning, it might look like no one’s listening and everything could go haywire. Employ simple instructions like getting them to respond to simple gestures like a command clap or whistle to get their attention. These can be introduced in the very first class to keep things smooth. Teach them that when you clap, they clap in response the same number of times as they do, and then follow it up with short instructions as and when necessary. Teach them that when you blow a whistle it is for them to line up in a particular pattern based on the number of participants; you could even ask them to sit down.
Introduce small and simple, innovative gestures that children will respond and identify with. A high five or fist pounds to encourage and congratulate. Verbal praises even at the slightest of achievements go a long way in motivating children to play. Rewarding children with treats at the end of a game or practice session too is most welcome. Reward them for a game well played, does not matter whether they win or lose. Encourage friendship, social skills and leadership skills to teach them life through the game. Keep it simple, be as excited as they are and don’t push them too hard to win, instead encourage them to have fun.