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Children Zoning out during games and matches | Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Posted in: All other coaching children topics

Children Zoning out during games and matches

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  • coachitai

    Hie guys I recently started coaching an under 6 soccer side and thoroughly enjoying it. However I have three kids who now and again zone-out especially during matches. They seem to be engaged during drills however they zone-out when we start playing a game. They occasionally wonder around the field, stare in the sky while others are active. I occasionally tap them on the shoulder to bring their attention but their concentration hasn't improved. I would appreciate some advice on how others have handled such a scenario.



  • tonylibert

    I had a 6 yr old who liked to sit in the penalty box (Ice hockey) during practice whenever we played games. This year she accepted a scholarship at a university for Ice hockey. She had a teammate that sat with her in the penalty box for two years they were and still are great friends. Last year I asked what was up with that and they said "it was more fun talking in the box then being on the ice also one was better than the other so it bothered her when her friend was not as involved as her. After the second year one stopped playing and I asked about that. She told me she just didn't want to play. The reason I tell you this is that we build lifelong relationships when we work with children. Unless you are setting out with the idea of these kids not liking someone for 50-70 years ( they really do go on too long about how I treated them at 6 ) then you are doing fine. Rember the 100/10/1 rule and no shouting names except in praise and keep that to a minimum. They all grow up and if they feel they were treated well you will be thought of fondly. Quick story, as I head towards sixty I was at a reunion of sorts where many people derided a principal from 6th grade. As we spoke I could not help but think that this was never her intention but it was what was happening 45 years later. Think long term here. and thank you for being there, the kids need you

  • coachitai

    Hi Tony thanks that helps...what's said to them and how they are handled matters a lot.

  • tonylibert

    your taps on the shoulder are important a touch makes it personal

    gentle reminders and good questions keep them short

    one real rule 1. never intend to hurt anyone anytime

    as they grow and you see interplay you will see more direction

    as they understand more they will envision more

    last. if you feel a child  needs a hand get down to eye level, take a knee and get close

  • mcroker

    That's nothing to worry about and they will just grow out of it naturally as they mature and their attention span improves... (you'll still have some occasionally checking out aeroplanes even as old as u9s).

    Have you considered setting them personal targets in the games to keep them engaged?  3 great tackles, 3 great passes, ... (if you do set the targets don't forget to watch for them and praise as necessary).

  • coachitai

    Thanks Tony I will build on questions and connecting with them..

  • coachitai

    Thanks Martin I will definitely try out giving out personal goals, it could get them more focused and give them a sense of purpose as they are consumed with achieving their goal...

  • Coach_Browning

    My lad (8) plays in goals for his team. I will regularly see him staring around the place on a game day. Not helped by the fact that there are loads of other games going on and so he just starts watching them. 

    So my questions to you are - what is the situation? Are there other things going on during the game that is distracting them? How involved are they? 

    Again, when my lad was that age he liked to just stand there and watch everything going on. He didn't really get involved that much in the game itself. 

    Can you give them specific things to do in the game? Soemthing they can specifically focus on?

  • Coach_Browning

    and...just clicked that the goals thing was in one of the comments above!!

  • Goeesonjudo

    Something else to consider, it might not be but they may be knackered and taking a rest? It only occurred to me resonantly that a couple of kids I teach/coach were struggling to get through the session, that all the other kids were managing. Mum kept telling me proudly that the kids had done two dance classes before running up to judo - that's why they were struggling, they’d had it. Anyway, just a thought... we can expect too much of them sometimes, they’ve only got little legs! Hope that helps?

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