YOUTH FOOTBALL – 4th to 8th Grades
(FIRST KICKS AND FUN FOOTBALL)
All children from ages 4 -8 registered with Kerikeri Football Club for the 2015 Season will be playing “First Kicks” or “Fun Football “
The National Body of New Zealand implemented the “Whole of Football “(WOF) plan which is aimed at putting a structure in place throughout New Zealand which promotes and encourages the development and skills of all players regardless of what level they play at.
The idea with the 4 - 8 yr olds is to remove the “competition “aspect of club football at this early age and focus on the teaching and developing the skills of all the young players in a relaxed and fun environment. It has become clear over the years as players move up through the age groups that they can reach 13th and 15th grade but still do not know the basic skills of the game - how to kick, pass, trap a ball etc. This new program aims to eliminate that and teach all of the young players from an early age the very basics of the game in a relaxed, fun environment away from competition.
The children do play small sided games (e.g. 3v3 or 4v4) against each other each week as part of the program which gives them an opportunity to practice and try out the new skills they have been taught in an environment where the score is not the focus for them.
This structure has been used for many years overseas in countries such as UK, Germany, Holland, Australia, Switzerland and Japan, and has been studied closely by NZ Football to look at ways that the program can be developed and integrated into New Zealand .It is a tried and proven method of developing young player’s skills around the world and a few years ago a number of “pilot” clubs began and developed the program within their own clubs junior framework, both to get a first hand view on how the program worked, but also to educate parents, coaches and volunteers as to the benefits of the program. The results were amazing, even after the first few weeks with the kids enjoying every minute of it and the parents able to witness first hand the development of their children. At Kerikeri FC we also trialed aspects of the program with our Midgets group for around 8 weeks, again with extremely positive results.
The added bonus from a program such as this was the positive encouragement it also gave to parents to become more involved and take an active role in helping out with small drills and skills for the players each week. There was a general realization that you do not need any previous background in football or coaching experience to make a positive impact on these young kids.
Those of us closely involved with Kerikeri Football Club have done a great deal of work and research on WOF, and we are confident that this is a positive pathway forward for all these young players as they find their way in the game, regardless of ability.