Kicking can be introduced in Kindergarten and is a skill young children can experience success in soon after beginning to walk. As children develop the skill of kicking it is important they have a good foundation level of balance as this will help them experience success with their kicking. Kicking is a skill used mainly in the sport of soccer, however is also a good starting point for learning to kick an AFL football or rugby ball. Children will be expected to master the skill by the end of Year 4.
Kicking comes quite naturally to children, so to assist with proper technique as they grow more comfortable with the skill, use KIDDO’s teaching vocabulary:
- Eyes on ball
- Kicking foot like a penguin (turned outwards so you make contact with the inside of your foot)
- Step (with your non-kicking foot next to the ball), swing & kick!
- Use 'Ready, Aim, Fire' in line with segments of the movement
- Ready = step next to ball
- Aim = draw leg up behind you
- Fire = kick
Start with larger, lighter balls, and progress this to smaller, heavier balls to continue promoting your child's development.
As soon as your toddler is walking, it is likely they will also show an interest in kicking a ball around.
- Start with kicking balloons and soft balls.
- Provide plenty of opportunities to kick and don’t worry too much about the technique at this young age.
- Practice kicking with left and right feet and emphasise kicking as hard as you can rather than worrying about the accuracy of the kick.
Children will normally kick with their toe to start with. Teaching children to kick with the inside of their foot is important to help development, this is the easiest kick to teach initially.
- When deliberately teaching kicking, try placing markers (chalk/stickers) next to the ball, where you'd like their non-kicking foot to land. Try stepping and kicking without a ball first.
- As their confidence and skill increases children will start kicking on the run. Practice making penguin feet to help demonstrate how to contact the ball with their foot.
- Set up targets at differing distances and play Ready, Aim, Fire to develop a powerful kick
- Soccer Marbles is a good game to introduce accuracy in a low pressure environment
- At this stage, just encouraging children to have a go at as many kicks as possible is the most important thing
Ensure older children are provided with opportunities for active play in a manner that challenges them. As children develop they will start to run and kick in a more continuous motion and swing their kicking leg behind them to generate force.
- Continue developing this run and kick alongside strategy and ball control, by playing games such as Small Sided Soccer
- Practice kicking with both feet
- Use smaller targets in Shrinking Goals to develop greater accuracy
- Challenge proficient kickers by creating a soccer dribbling Obstacle Course with a kick for goal at the finish
- Kicking with the toe – poking the ball
- Non-kicking leg behind the ball or too close to the ball
- Opposite arm not used for balance