I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Now at the Football Fun Factory we run three core programmes, Football Fun and Development for 5 – 12 years olds, our Football Fun Camps for the same age range which are both incredible but my personal favourite is our Tots Football Fun programme for 2 – 5 year olds!
The reason for this is it’s absolute chaos but as a coach so incredibly rewarding. Very often this is a child’s first ever experience playing football and what a way to start! This programme is run inside our massive inflatable football pitch, and seeing the little ones eyes light up when they first see it really is a sight to behold, not to mention Mums and Dads when they see it for the first time!
The first Tots session I ever delivered was something I was very apprehensive about, I’d never delivered a session for children of this age before and having come out of development coaching I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I certainly wasn’t going to be coaching children of 2 – 5 years old how to perfect a Cryuff turn or improve their weaker foot!
I was completely out of my comfort zone not really knowing what to expect. I set up my inflatable pitch, laid out my cones and called the children over to sit down so I could explain what I wanted them to do. Some of them sat with Mum or Dad, some wouldn’t sit down, and some sat down eagerly waiting for my instruction. But that didn’t matter because they were all smiling and that was the most important thing.
Unsurprisingly not many followed the instructions of my planned session, there were balls getting kicked everywhere, cones getting thrown about, even getting used as hats in some cases but the smiles remained throughout the 45 minutes, give or take the odd fall every now and then! And then at the end of every Tots session every child receives a little stamp printed on the back of their hand and you wouldn’t believe the excitement this brings!
At the end of the session I was exhausted but absolutely buzzing because the kids were buzzing asking Mum and Dad when they would be doing football again, and to them that was football running around an inflatable pitch kicking huge footballs about, crawling through tunnels and scoring a goal. An incredible introduction to what we hope will develop a lifelong love of the game.
To see the look on a 3 year olds face when they kick the ball in the goal for the first time is priceless as is seeing the look of Mum or Dads face when they see their little ones’ look of accomplishment. Incredible memories for the family that will last forever. All we ever want to see as parents is our children doing things they enjoy, and that is why we do what we do at The Football Fun Factory. It’s all about children having fun in a safe environment whilst developing positive lifeskills.
Now as I’ve said before, being a child’s first coach is a huge responsibility, it’s an opportunity to help children develop a passion for something and be a positive role model in their early life. This is a responsibility our Head Coaches don’t take lightly and as you will see from their enthusiasm and passion for what they do there really isn’t any better place for children to take their first steps on the football pitch, or in our case a massive inflatable pitch!