We have had a really nice relaxing winter break, honestly. For the most part, the kids have wanted to stay in and have had no trouble keeping busy with Legos, ponies, movies, and art. I mean, it’s 5 degrees out there right now. Can you blame them? But this week, everyone’s activities are starting back up and I think we are ready to get active again.
One of our favorite kids sports activities has always been taking indoor soccer lessons at Locker Soccer. My son, now 6, started when he was 2 and continued until he was in kindergarten. He went onto play CESA soccer this year and seemed very prepared for this first time on a team. My daughter, now 4, started just before turning 2 (they let her in a little young as she had been around for all of her brother’s lessons and seemed ready). The winter session at Locker Soccer is starting up this week and my daughter is still going strong and gearing up for lessons with Ms. Rachel. For her, we look forward to a continuation of the outstanding experience she had last session. My son, who is making his return to Locker Soccer this season as a 1st grader, is looking forward to discovering what the experience is like in the 6-7 class. Stay tuned, because I will be reporting back to you with all of the details and our impressions. For today, I want to walk you through what a 4-5 class is like, compare and contrast it with the younger levels, tell you what we love about Locker Soccer, share some cuteness, and answer what you might be wondering.
How can a 2-year-old even play soccer?
To be clear, nobody is putting toddlers on teams and having them play an actual game of soccer. Each class is grouped by age and they are taught very age-appropriate skills. Also, the length of the class increases which age, which makes total sense. They are learning to listen and follow directions while working on their gross motor skills, coordination, teamwork, and conditioning. These are all things I want for my daughter! That’s why I feel so good when I see her excitement when it’s time to play Sharks and Minnows. The kiddos scatter and the teacher, armed with a soccer ball, is the shark, dribbling the ball and trying to kick it into their feet. If the ball touches them, they are down. The other kids have an important job of watching out for the other minnows who have been caught and freeing them with a high five. That’s teamwork, endurance, coordination, gross motor skills, and paying attention, right there folks.
Here is how a typical class goes
Dress your kiddo as extra as you feel, mama. Mine loves the whole getup with shin guards and all, but you don’t need any special equipment. Try to bring a water bottle since the kids get excited for water breaks, but if you forget, they sell them for $1. Just make sure your child is in clothes they can run in and you’re set, really.
Every class begins with a freeze song. They get to know it pretty quickly and chase the ball around, stopping it with their foot when the music stops, maintaining balance until it resumes. (Or falling dramatically on the ground if you’re my kid). Next, the teacher will take attendance. I love this, and here’s why. I’m quite certain these teachers are capable of looking around and knowing who is there and who is not. But Rachel asks them a little question and calls out names. It challenges T to speak up and build her confidence doing something that’s hard for her. The children are expected to give another child the floor and to wait patiently to talk. Once they’re all accounted for, it’s time for the warm up, AKA the cutest little workout you’ve ever seen. Rachel uses relatable cues for the kids while leading them through some stretching, balance, and movement.
The drills that come next vary from class to class. Some weeks, the kids are working on heading the ball, for which they use balloons to keep things gentile and easy. Spots, cones, and goals are set up in a unique arrangement each class so they can dribble through obstacles and shoot goals. T gets a kick our of the running drills; if they kids are really paying attention, they will know when to switch directions, double back, or tag the wall.
Of course class always ends with Sharks and Minnows and stamp time. This familiarity is so great for little ones and is a highlight for T. They started doing it at age 2, and so far they’re still at it at age 4/5. We will see if the 6/7s are doing it when J gets started this week!
My daughter is more ready for kindergarten because of this
When I think about what skills I want T to have next year, I think about the ability to focus on directions from the teacher, the strength and coordination to use the playground independently and safely, concern for her peers and good interpersonal skills, and the courage to speak up. As a girl with a summer birthday, I waffled between sending her to preschool 3 vs 5 days per week this year. The more I thought of it, the activities she has on her days “off” school were important ones. Watching her in soccer and other activities on those days, it is clear that she is becoming more self-assured, learning in a positive environment, being a team player, and operating within a classroom environment. In this case, the classroom is a soccer field, but the skills carry over just the same.
It’s the teachers who totally make it awesome
My daughter has Rachel, who is so SO patient in even the more challenging moments. Little things can slide; kids will be kids and they know that. Actually, I really love the tolerance the teachers show when a kid goes a little rogue and starts experimenting. Anything dangerous will be called out, and children who have become distracted are gently redirected, but there is no yelling from inpatient adults. Not unless you count a few worn-out parents on the sideline at their whit’s end with their kid that day anyhow.
The indoor field is perfect in winter
So many sports take place in the warmer months, and playgrounds are too cold, making it hard for us to find ways to let our kids run around. We love having a field the kids can run in with their jackets off all winter. Another thing I have always appreciated is that there is a transparent lower wall with netting above it separating the field from the parent/sibling area. I can clearly see T at all times during her class and get some work done on the wifi. When the kids were younger, and T there to watch her brother, we would take a few soccer balls onto the observation side and she could play there with us during class. They’d always invite her out for Sharks and Minnows, and that warmed my heart. That’s just the kind of place they are.
Classes start this week! You can join anytime and they will pro-rate your lessons, but I’d recommend hopping over to their website now and signing up. They have a location in Gahanna and Powell. The winter session runs 1/6-3/16. Here’s all the info you need!… Locker Soccer