Playing for fun

For children, the most important thing is to play. They play for the pleasure of playing. Contesting matches is an essential part of training and children learn better by playing. It leads to improved skills and independence, facilitates initiative and decision-making (creativity) and also improves relationships with, and consideration of, others.

From a more tactical point of view, it is a matter of vision, attack and defence. However, every grassroots football session should include a free-play period. The coach-educator withdraws at this time and keeps a distance. This allows the children to play without restriction and put the skills that they have learnt into practice.

The playing area

The dimensions of the pitch are an important consideration. The pitch must be suited to the age, skill and number of players.

A small pitch with a large number of players is difficult to play on and requires great technical skill and vision. In general, we cannot presume that children aged 6-12 have these skills.

Children have different characteristics depending on their physical and technical development. For these reasons, not all small-sided games are recommended for all ages. It is important to follow a logical development in which children move on from 4-a-side games (without goalkeepers) to eventually play 9-a-side football.