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U6 Characteristics of Player Development

Characteristics of Player Development

The U6 age group

The purpose of this curriculum is to help trainers and coaches understand the characteristics of this age group and then use age appropriate training sessions. Each weekly link is not a progression to the last one but will give you lots of ideas to make your training sessions enjoyable and fun.

The curriculum guidelines are meant to be flexible as all players of the same age are certainly not at the same developmental level. It is important we challenge all players at a level that befits their ability

The information is not solely based on observation and experience in soccer, but also on research and practice in psychology, child development, physiology, child education, and learning theory.

The MLU Technical Dept. hopes you will all use this curriculum to guide your teams and to help insure our players are being provided the best soccer environment possible.

Characteristics of the U6 Player:

  • Kids have to move constantly – learn by doing, not by lecture
  • Process small bits of information, long sequential instructions are not processed
  • Focus only on the ball, ignore team mates, opponents, fans; game is often 1 v 5 (player against the other team and his own team mates)
  • Don’t care about boundaries
  • Movement goes forward
  • Body segments grow at different rates
  • Minimal differences in boys and girls
  • Motor development progresses from head to feet and from center outward
  • Easy fatigue, rapid recovery, heart rate about 90 bpm
  • Locomotion: walking, running, leaping, jumping, hopping
  • Non-locomotor movements: bending, stretching, twisting, pulling, pushing
  • Basic manipulative: throwing, catching, striking
  • Need to explore qualities of rolling and bouncing ball
  • Difficulty tracking objects in flight – don’t throw balls in at this age
  • Immature understanding of time (don’t know how long an hour is) and space (don’t know how long 10 yards is)
  • Rules must be simple
  • Egocentric – see world only through their eyes – often play next to each other, not with each other
  • Need generous praise to play without pressure
  • Do not have a concept of “team” – passing and defense are often accidental
  • Play with high degree of imagination and pretend activities
  • Most influential person is most likely mother or significant parent
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