Classroom Connection

The younger the child, the more important the methodology to assist in the learning process. Books, movies and some television programs with positive messages are excellent mediums that can be used to transfer information to children.

Athletic games that grab the imagination of children and at the same time provide relevant skill training are excellent tools in training the very young athlete.

One example might be soccer dribbling. Soccer players need to be able to changes speed, change direction and keep their heads up while dribbling. The soccer coach creates an area of about 30 x 30 yards with cones for about 20 kids to participate in the exercise.

The children are brought together for explanation of the game. A huge cat (the coach) is hungry. The coach (cat) will chase the children and attempt to tag the mice (players) on their upper back.

Once tagged the children must remain frozen holding their soccer ball until another mouse (player) passes their cheese (soccer ball) under their legs. At this point the player is free again to dribble their soccer ball (cheese) in the area once again.

In this type of exercise the children are not thinking about the skill in dribbling, changing speeds, changing direction, keeping their heads up, they are running away from the big cat (the coach) and they are working on all the listed skills desired.

The desired outcome is being achieved by using some imagination.

• Specific skills in the teaching profession cross over into coaching. Here are some examples: Classroom management techniques, appropriate content, appropriate activities, reward systems, measurement tools, role modeling, communication, behavior consequence procedures and parental communication.

• Specific skills in the coaching profession cross over into teaching. Here are a few examples: motivation techniques, leadership roles, decision-making, friendship management, self-esteem enhancement, positive reinforcement, goal-setting, and creative techniques to deliver content.

At Team Soccer Direct we attempt to hire as many aspiring teachers or highly trained professional coaches as possible. We have found that teaching talents translate nicely into coaching talents and vice-versa. Watching a professional educator or coach at work makes for a rewarding learning experience.

I highly recommend observing a professional coach and teacher to all those who are working in the camp business.

Dan Kuntz and brother George Kuntz run Team Soccer Direct, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Dan is the head soccer coach at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks and George is head soccer coach at UC-Irvine.

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