The numbers weren’t big but the spirit and enthusiasm were large as the Red Deer City Soccer Association held a skills camp last week.
Patrick Sweiger, a second year player with the Red Deer College Kings squad was one of the instructors and said the young players he had were very good about taking the instruction given.
“Everything I ask them to do, if they don’t get it they ask questions so they’re wanting to learn,” he said of the eight to 10-year-olds under his supervision.
On the other side of the field were a handful of four to six-year-olds and RDC Queens’ veteran Kayla Keenan was given the task to teach these youngsters a few skills.
“It can be interesting at times but it’s a lot of fun. They’re very active, they’re eager to learn, they have lots of enthusiasm,” she laughed.
The camp was geared towards putting technical skills in place as opposed to showing them strategies and formations, said Sweiger.
“We can teach them different skills on the ball, we can teach them to properly dribble, pass and shoot,” he explained, with the goal being to improve each players skills.
He had to work with a mix of youngsters with different levels of skill, including one who hadn’t played any soccer until that day.
“He’s catching on quick and asking questions so that was perfect.”
Keenan had to use a different approach to get her message across which began with the ball.
“We usually do that through having them play lots of games, tag and freeze tag, all sorts of variations and having them get comfortable with the ball and having it on their feet,” she said.
Both of the instructors agree that soccer in Red Deer is heading in the right direction and Sweiger says as coach of the U-12 team, he sees the evidence of the improvement in his players.
“Where I was at that age compared to where they are now it’s night and day,” he pointed out. “It’s a really good program we have now.”
Keenan wholeheartedly agrees and hopes the boys and girls at this camp stick with the game, becoming a part of that positive growth in the sport.
“We have a large population that play in U-4 and U-6 teams and they tend to drop off as they get older so just hoping that they’re lifelong soccer players would be fantastic.”