Golden Balls

If you follow our adventures on Instagram you will know that Arlo is like a little tornado with bundles of energy – it’s a bit of a challenge keeping up with him and exhausting isn’t the word.

Some people think that it’s far too early for a structured sports class but I thought I’d share our experience with Little Kickers

The earliest you can sign up is 18m so that’s just what we did, and for the first few sessions I felt a bit embarrassed to have the only child running around and not listening whilst everyone else seemed to be following instructions and participating nicely. Now three months down the line and we are getting somewhere.

Early in the term the whole class received badges and certificates for their achievements last term and Arlo was included with a participation badge for joining at the awards ceremony which was a lovely little touch. I think everyone was bemused to see him pose for his photograph in the goal.

Every class is led by two coaches, with a class of around 12 children up to 2 and a half. They begin each week with a bit of free play with the footballs before tidying them all away in to a hold-all and gathering for the introduction of a theme in a seated circle (we’ve had firemen, farm animals, racing cars etc – and we do the same activities each week but with different noises and actions to suit.)

The session opened on dinosaur week – where we ran around roaring and stomping like a T. rex for a warm up, and then everyone stopped and gathered at the far wall whilst the “forest” made from cones was set up. Then we dribbled the footballs around the trees before we all stop and line up at the wall for a penalty shoot out where we run at the coach in goal like a dinosaur and take a shot at goal – or at least that’s the idea.

This little drill is quite good for Arlo, it teaches him to wait his turn and also to celebrate other people’s success and cheer them on….. not something he grasped straight away in class but he started saying “gooooaaaaallll” at home and clapping – and for the first time last week he actually did run up and take a penalty.

The problem was it wasn’t quite his turn, so as a parent I really wanted to celebrate him taking a step in the right direction rather than pull him aside for not waiting ( as a side note what would you do in this situation!?)

Anyway…. after this the pitch is a total mess and the children all have to tidy up by putting the coloured cones in to piles in the four corners of the room – lots of time to count and learn colours etc. There’s also a water break for everyone to re hydrate.

They repeatedly tidy away the footballs and get lots of praise for interacting positively and after only three months Arlo has taken a shine to coach Cameron and seems keen to impress which means he is trying harder with the tasks, watching the other children and emulating their actions to get the same “high five.”

We do some more drills – toe tapping etc and some more penalties before the goals are set up in each corner and all the balls are released again for the kids to play – it’s more “every man for himself” rather than a match but you can see as the kids get older that the structure of the lesson is set in place.

At the end of the session everyone lines up for a stamp on their hand and a trophy is given out to the star player. This is Arlo’s favourite bit – He follows Coach around with his hand out ready for his stamp and is fascinated with the silverware so maybe one day he will get to bring it home.

We leave the class smiling and after running around for an hour first thing it makes our Saturdays a lot calmer. Do you attend any toddler sports classes? What kind of skills do you take home?

It cost us £20 to register which included the mega cute football kit Arlo is wearing and then we pay an ongoing monthly direct debit for class fees.