Coaching 4-10 year olds: An Overview from David Newberry, ELearning Coordinator, NSCAA


Below is a nice overview of coaching 4-10 year olds. I particularly like how David Newberry discusses “developmental stages of development,” as opposed to age or grade levels. Also exciting is that this is the age group where the most gains can be made!

“This series is written for coaches working with players who

are between the ages of 4 and 10. It is however important

to consider development does not typically follow the

convenience of school years or age groups, but instead

player development occurs on a continuum where physical,

cognitive, emotional and psychological readiness is more

important than the chronological age of the child. Due to

significant differences in the development pace of young

players of the same age, I prefer to focus on developmental

stages than age of players when planning coach training.

The series provides director for Coaches, Directors

and Administrators with varying levels of knowledge,

experience and qualification who are responsible for

teaching and nurturing youth soccer players. In the series

the presenters detailed an approach to coaching – a

concept known as ‘Player Development’, which is an

education philosophy that has gained a great deal of

attention. Essentially, the critical years for shaping a child’s

successful participation in soccer are between the ages

of 4 and 10. The speed and capacity for pre‑adolescent

players to learn are high and the gains in performance

and understanding the most dramatic. It is essential that

children receive coaching that considers the developmental

stage of each child and that coaches focus on individuals

before the team. Players should be competent in:

• Basic soccer skills, such as dribbling, turning,

creating space and passing.

• Understand the essentials of attacking and


• Perform fundamental movement skills, such as

running, jogging, jumping, skipping, throwing and


Players must develop competency in these essential

elements before graduating to large-sided games (8v8+).

Elementary skills and techniques not only provide the

foundation for soccer, but also provide the basis for

participation in most other sports.”

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