A - Introduction

Kinder Coaching Guide

Palo Alto AYSO

Kinder League

Under-5 & Under-6



Thank you for volunteering to coach or assist with a team.  This Guide is presented through the pages linked on the right.  Please review these pages.  Your principal contacts for coach management and team formation are;

Coaching Objective:  Players are given key fundamental technical skils for playing the game of soccer.  Players for begin with drills, then have fun games and finally a scrimmage.  AYSO coaches, you, are on the field and responsible for your team.  There are professional trainers at the field to lend a hand.

Each Saturday, show up 25 minutes before game time to attend the day's refresher clinic.  This will help you to stay "on page" for the curriculum, and you will see demonstrations of what you will be instructing that day.  It is important to stick to the AYSO curriculum so that all the teams are learning in parallel.  This includes sticking to the reduced rules of AYSO.  Much research has been conducted into what the appropriate instruction should be at this age, for their physical, cognitive and emotional development.  Some coaches try to teach higher level skills.  This does not actually improve the player's ability to have fun and develop game skills, even though the player may be able to execute a more technical level of ability.  Do not be tempted to "train ahead" of the curriculum.

Coaching Certification:  All coaches, including both head coaches and assistant coaches, are required to have registered in our national database, eAYSO, take the online Safe Haven course, and attend the U6 Coach Clinic.

A parent for each player (except coaches), will be registered as a volunteer to help you on the field.  Send two of them to the Assistant Referee clinic at the edge of the field at the beginning of the session, and they will Referee the game.  

Be sure to set up your team information once the Division Commissioner releases rosters, review Coach / Team Administration.

Working with Young Athletes

It is important as a coach that you subscribe to a philosophy that acknowledges the role of athletics in developing children as complete individuals.  Remember that AYSO’s vision is to provide soccer programs that enrich children’s lives.  

As coaches we need to recognize that each athlete is an individual with unique needs and that we treat them accordingly: 
  • Understand that players want to enjoy attending practices and games.  If they are not having fun and learning, they will lose interest and not want to return. 
  • Organize your activities and games so that every athlete on your team has an opportunity to develop and maintain positive feelings of self-worth. 
  • Provide positive encouragement to all players for both accomplishments and mistakes. 
Play in this very young age group is meant to give a “taste” of the game, some experience in working together as a team, and, most of all; a positive introduction to the sports experience. 

One of the appealing things about soccer as a youth sport is that practically no skills at all are required to play the game at its simplest level.  If a youngster can run and can kick a ball, he or she can play soccer and enjoy it. 

If we understand and support player development as both athletes and individuals, the players will enjoy themselves more and want to continue playing.  We must help them understand that the objective of any game is to win, but that the overall goal is to enjoy the game and strive to do their best!

What to Expect From Kinder Players

Remember that kids will develop differently, both physically and socially. You must take the needs of ALL of your players into consideration. 

Physical/Gross Motor Development: 

  • are in the early stages of development 
  • can run, jump, and skip well; motor skills are continuing to develop have lots of energy, although in bursts; they tend to tire quickly 
  • can perform runs, starts and stops 
  • can’t sit still for long 

Social/Emotional Development: 

  • may have fears of the unknown 
  • experience rapid and unpredictable mood changes 
  • tell tall tales 
  • need encouragement 
  • may have difficulty sharing 
  • crave praise and attention 

Cognitive/Thought Development: 

  • do not like to repeat 
  • lack judgment regarding their own safety and abilities
  • don’t think logically 
  • ask lots of questions 
  • are fond of stories
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