In Victorian times, children were not viewed as developing human beings, but in fact as "little adults". This meant that they were put to work in the same way that adults were and more importantly, there was an expectation that children possessed the same level of understanding as adults. This idea may seem extremely far fetched and archaic, but it still happens today - particularly on the football pitch.
When shouting the word "SHOOT!" at a child as they dribble towards goal, at what point does the coach ask themselves - does this child actually know what shoot means? To us adult footballers, it is a given and sacred word that we have screamed from the terraces or (for most of us) at the television since we can remember. But a child - well a child might not know what this means. To take the discussion one step further, consider a child that is asked to stand beside and cone, paired with their friend, and told to kick the ball to their friend, but stay next to the cone. Two questions spring to mind; firstly, does this child understand why they are doing this exercise? Secondly, does the child actually enjoy doing this? The answer to both of these questions (particularly when dealing with 5-8 year olds) is no - I mean, how can a pile of cones be at all exciting? We as coaches and parents understand why these basic skills are important, but also understand that the drill is not the most exciting - so what can be done? The answer lies in analogous learning.
Analogous learning boils down to adapting explanation to suit the audience. Trying to explain the concept of a database to 14 year old boy might be tough, but explain it in the context of a way of recording all of the Premier League players and their respective clubs, and all of a sudden, we have a break through. This forms the basis on how we teach all of our classes at S4K - from Tots to Academy. Let's take the example of the basic passing between two cones mentioned above. So we take two red cones and place them a a yard or so apart. Then let's place some blue cones and place them outside of the red cones, making a large passing distance. Finally, let's take some green cones, and place them outside of the red and blue cones, making an even larger passing distance. To us, we have a pair of red cones for short passes, a pair of blue cones for medium passes and a pair of green cones for long passes. Simple enough right? But is it possible for a 5 year old child to enjoy this exercise? Yes...but with a twist! You see, when standing on the red cones, the children become Spiderman! He's not the strongest super hero, so his passes are generally quite soft. Next up on the blue, the children turn into Superman! Now he is definitely a stronger candidate and packs more of a punch with the strength of the pass. Last up, the big green machine Hulk for our strongest and longest passes! Just by placing an analogy in this game, the child is excited about a simple passing drill and picks up the basic skills required to play the game - not bad for a pile of cones right?