Daniel completed a 6-week soccer class for kids between 1 1/2 to 3-years-old at the Tyngsboro Sports Center. It is a parent participation class with about 6 to 10 kids and their parents. The kids work on kicking, running, and jumping while engaging in various group activities. The whole experience has been a mixed bag for me but I’m glad we got to expose Daniel to this.
Each class would generally start with the coaches setting out some soccer balls to kick around. Daniel really enjoys kicking the ball all over the field turf.
We then gather in the center of the field and the coaches and kids introduce themselves. The kids stretch and rotate their arms in circles. Daniel does not like this part and continues to kick the ball around instead. I usually have to carry a crying Daniel back to the huddle.
The kids then line up along one side of the field and run to the other side. Daniel starts running okay but usually drops to the ground and starts crying for no apparent reason. Perhaps he feels self-conscious about his running ability.
Next the kids kick their ball from one of the field to the other with a series of “short” kicks. Daniel is reasonably good at kicking the ball and running behind it. Then they do it again with a series of “long” kicks. Daniel hasn’t quite figured out the difference between the two types of kicks but he seems to enjoy this game.
The next game is called “body parts” where the kids are free to kick anywhere until the coach yells “freeze” and announces a body part to place on the ball. Daniel has the “kicking” part down. “Freeze” and “placing a body part on the ball” are still works in progress.
The kids then line up along the white line around the goal area. They take turns kicking the ball into the net. Daniel is very apprehensive with this game. He usually skips a turn or two and watches the other kids do it before he participates. During one class, they tried a harder version of this game where the kid kicks his ball to the coach, gets a return pass, and then kicks it into the net. Yeah…that wasn’t happening.
In the next game, the coaches scatter orange cones in front of the goal area and the kids had to knock over as many cones as possible by kicking their soccer balls at the cones. Daniel really liked this game. I thought it was cute when he kicked a few cones directly because it was a more efficient.
The coaches then lay out some rope ladders on the ground and the kids hop between the rungs. They also hopped side-to-side with alternating hops in and out of the ladder. Daniel really loves hopping but he only does it in a straight line.
The coaches also set out some tunnels for the kids to crawl through. This is another game that Daniel really enjoys. During one class, I especially enjoyed seeing him crawl through a tunnel as one of his coaches pretended to chase him.
The classes usually wrap up with the kids gathering around a giant soccer ball in the center of the field. Daniel usually ignores the giant soccer ball and would much rather continue jumping with the ladder.
Overall these soccer classes have been really hard for us. Daniel loves to kick the ball but he often cries when you try to get him to join the rest of the other kids as we move between games. I feel embarrassed when literally all of the other kids fully participate in each game and I am constantly chasing Daniel down or calming him down so that he would rejoin the games. It was especially frustrating when he simply refused to participate in any of the games on his last day.
I think the main takeaway is that Daniel simply isn’t ready for this. He is in the 90th percentile for height so he looks bigger/older than most other kids his age. It is easy to forget that he is only 2-years-old. Perhaps the other kids are closer to 3-years-old and are able to listen more. I guess I’ll just have to be patient and wait a little longer before he can “Bend it like Daniel.”