I don't subscribe to 'Practise makes perfect'. You may make the perfect pass, but can you do it 10 times in a row? You may have scored the perfect team goal, but it would be unrealistic to think that the team will achieve the same result every time they get the ball. I prefer 'Practise makes permanent'. The more a child practises something, the more consistently well they can perform in it. When practising anything, it has to be enjoyable. Who would want to regularly practise if the tasks or exercises were boring and repetitive? How do we make practise fun?
A top tip for parents is to catch your child practising and praise their dedication. Forget football for a second. Perhaps your child plays a musical instrument - let's say the violin. You're downstairs cooking dinner and you hear the remnants of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' from your son’s bedroom upstairs. A few bum notes, but it's definitely recognisable! Maybe leave him to it for a while then pop your head in and say... ''I heard you playing Twinkle Twinkle from downstairs and I'm really impressed that you're practising your song. It sounds great, keep it up!''. Leading with the focus on the process - practise - instead of the result - the song - will affect your child's thinking. So in simple terms... praise practise. Straight away practise is more fun, because it gets a well done from Mum or Dad!
There is lots that can be done to make practising more fun. Other top tips include: Make it competitive - can you set a new high score of keepy ups? What's your record? How many stepovers can you do in thirty seconds? How many different turns can you do? Practise each one ten times with each foot then write it down.... can you think of ten?
Join in - Practising with Mum or Dad can be fun. You might not have any coaching qualifications, but you can kick a ball, right? Or if you really can't, you can count your daughter’s keepy ups for her. Joining in shows support. Just make sure your child knows that you won't always be able to practise with them. Maybe make a commitment to them? ''We'll practise together on Monday and Thursday evenings''.
Track progress - it's easy to forget how far you've come or even how much you've practised so how about a chart on your daughter's bedroom wall. It could be as simple as '100 hours practise' and a tally chart with dates. Maybe a cinema trip or meal out is the reward for making the magic 1-0-0.
Be innovative.. That's where the Football Fun Factory comes in! We've got loads of fun football exercises and activities that your child can use to practise. Like our FaceBook page and check back regularly as you'll be able to find my latest videos with new things to try. If there's one thing that you do to encourage your child to practise, make it showing them our latest videos. Over the coming weeks, months and years there will be plently of free online content that you can use to encourage your child to practise, so we can help you out too!
Please Like, Share and Comment to spread the word and give your thoughts on encouraging children to practise. Any top tips?