Football training ideas for a 4-year-old
Tue 05 March 2019
Football Training Tips
So, your four-year-old child loves football and is already dreaming of becoming the next Neymar. But what can you do to help them take their first steps into football and create a positive relationship between them and the sport that will last a lifetime?
The answer is by creating a fun training environment, with which they associate positive memories. The best players are those who have enjoyed it from the first minute and adore every aspect of football. Think of the smile you see on Lionel Messi’s face or the passion that drove every great performance that Wayne Rooney has even given, and you’ll see people who, although well paid, love the game itself more than anything else.
Here are some training ideas that will make football fun for your four-year-old – while at the same time teaching them some of the most basic skills they’ll need.
Hit the parent/coach with the football
There is nothing that a small child enjoys more than doing something slightly naughty. That’s where hit the parent comes in. Get your child to kick the ball towards to you with the aim of trying to hit you. The game focuses on accuracy and the child connecting with the ball. They’ll take great joy in trying to catch you while at the same time developing key skills, such as dribbling the ball towards you to get into a position from where they can hit you and then aiming a pass or shot towards your legs. This fun game will also guarantee both of you plenty of laughter and enjoyment!
Traffic lights for dribbling with the ball
The basics of traffic lights is something that you can explain to a four-year-old in simple terms: Green means go, amber/orange means get ready to stop, red means stop!
You can apply their road safety knowledge to football with a game called traffic lights. When you hold a green cone in the air, that’s your child’s cue to “go” or in this case, dribble the ball towards you quickly. An amber cone in the air means ”slow down”, they should try to dribble slowly with the ball with lots of small touches. A red cone in the air means “stop”, the child should stop the ball by putting their foot on it and bringing it under control.
Not only does this game help them with their dribbling skills but it will also start to teach them the importance of keeping their head up while playing in order to see what colour the traffic lights are. Looking up and building on their spatial awareness skills will be fundamental to when they start playing football more regularly. You can also play with anywhere, the player can dribble towards you in a straight line or in a marked out area.
Volcanoes for close ball control
Children love games in which they need to avoid being caught or undergoing a terrible fate – that whole “don’t touch the floor as it is made of lava” fun concept.
The game ‘volcanoes’ plays on this fun element by asking them to dribble the ball through a set of cones - or in this case, volcanoes – without touching them. If they do knock the volcano, then they’ve caused an eruption! This game is guaranteed fun and will certainly capture a child’s imagination.
The brilliant thing about volcanoes is that it is adjustable for any skill level and adaptable as the player gets more comfortable. As they play the game, you can suggest using different parts of their feet to control the ball with. Squeezing the cones closer together to encourage better close control or set a time limit to get through the maze of volcanoes can keep the child engaged, this helps your child work on their dribbling at speed, precision and ball manipulation.
Little, little, big for kicking variety
This game is fun for the child as it engages them on different levels, they will need to time and match their kicks to each word “little” for a small kick of the ball and “big” for a bigger one.
The idea behind “little, little, big” or “small kick, small kick, big kick” is simply to get your child used to the idea of passing variety and understanding that they control how hard they kick the ball.
Get them to play a little pass in front of them followed by another little pass and then a big kick further down the field. This will work on their kicking technique and teach them that they have the options of both short passes and long passes. You can also use variations of this technique by asking them to use their laces for a few rounds, then the inside of their foot, left foot only, right foot only, soles of the feet...
By encouraging them to shout “LITTLE, LITTLE, BIG” as they play each pass, it can also provide an early introduction into communicating while playing the game and bring the exercise to life.
We Make Footballers are about creating a positive, fun and friendly environment in which players feel welcome to take part in football. Fun is a key element that we incorporate into every one of our sessions, as we often disguise “learning new skills” through taking part in fun football games! Our weekly training is accessible to players of all abilities and provides a perfect introduction to football. Our training welcomes everyone, book your free session to find out if our football is the right fit for you and your child.