Kids enjoy their kicks

WOOLGOOLGA'S soccer fields on a Saturday morning have become jam-packed, thanks to an innovative development program for juniors called Just for Kicks (J4K).

The program is into its second season at Woolgoolga and this year there are 54 six- and seven-year-olds registered for the program, which would be the equivalent of three teams in both the six and seven years competition.

Woolgoolga director of coaching Michael Jackson describes J4K as a technical development program which includes the fun of a soccer competition.

"As a club we have moved beyond the standard practice of putting twenty little soccer players on a field and watching them run around in a pack for half an hour chasing the ball," he commented.

"That really doesn't help them. It may be cute, but it doesn't develop their soccer skills. This is a program that does."

With the new program, the players are put in small-sided games of, say, four players against four and given a 10- to 15-minute game. They are then put into completely new teams and given another game.

No scores are kept and therefore no team is declared the winner or loser.

Jackson said: "What you really need to take note of is how many more times a player will touch the ball in this format compared with the standard game.

"The program is definitely catching on. We have 54 registered players in J4K. When these players are finally put in large teams in years to come, you will definitely notice the difference."

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