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Testimonials

  • Dylan is having a great time since joining S4K a few months ago – so glad we moved him from... View More..
    Mark, father of Dylan & Luke - S4K Kickers, Farnborough

  • We had a taster class a few weeks ago with S4K and I was a bit...well surprised. It was not what I... View More..
    Christine, mother of Tristan - S4K Tots, Camberley

  • Sport4Kids is better than anything else that we have encountered before. We were with previously... View More..
    Emma, mother of Jessica - S4K Kickers, Old Windsor

  • Really good structured classes for age related needs. My two boys love it! Thank you to coach Adam... View More..
    Sarah, mother of Daniel and Harvey - S4K Strikers, Egham

  • Coaches always welcoming and friendly towards both children and parents. A family orientated club,... View More..
    Patrick, father of Tommy - S4K Strikers, Windsor

  • Professional, friendly and always full of smiles - my daughter absolutely loves Sport4Kids. The... View More..
    Paul, father of Lilly - S4K Kickers, Kingston

  • The highlight of our little one's week! Coach Mark and Coach Charisse are always enthusiastic and... View More..
    Emma, Karen & Jessica - mothers of Maddox, Ciara & Sebastian - S4K Kickers, Old Windsor

  • A great fun class, where all of the children are entertained and have a fun time. Coach Marie and... View More..
    Ian, father of Robert - S4K Kickers - Egham

  • We have been extremely impressed with your set up. The kids have
    absolutely loved going to the... View More..
    Rachael - mother of Claudia and Joshua - S4K Kickers, Guildford

Sport4Kids Football Coaching, Child Development & Girls Football Blog!

We are passionate about everything to do with sport and child development. We have a number of authors who love nothing better than to post about their passions, thoughts and feelings around the sports that they love. Take a look at our posts below and remember to link in with your favourite authors via email and social media!
Dr Mark Gould is an innovator of child sport, entertainment, learning and development.  He has a PhD in Psychology and is a champion of women's sport, with over 10 years coaching experience.

Why the path to football stardom is easier than ever for children to follow

Why the path to football stardom is easier than ever for children to follow
If you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, it's highly unlikely that they'll profess aspirations of middle management. Instead, they're likely to share their dreams of becoming the next Beyoncé, Steve Jobs or Ronaldo. The sky's the limit for many children and that's exactly where they're aiming.This leaves many parents with a dilemma over how much they should support these dreams, especially if a child shows particular promise in their interest — be that with skills on the football pitch, a keen technical eye or an impressive vocal range. On one hand you don't want to set them up for disappointment, but on the other you don't want to deny them the chance to achieve their dream.Of course, skill isn't always enough when breaking into the big time — luck and timing also play a large part in setting a child on the road to success. There's clearly a huge leap between local kids' football classes and the hallowed turf of Wembley — reasoning that can be hard to explain to a determined six-year-old. The good news for budding young footballers is the chance of being scouted from lower level clubs is greater than ever. Following the success of Jamie Vardy, who quickly rose through the ranks to the heady heights of the Premier League, it seems the opportunities for young talent to be scouted are becoming more prevalent.In a recent interview with sportswear supplier Kitlocker Tim Coe, chief scout at Crystal Palace, spoke of the importance of scouting at grassroots level:"We spend the vast majority of our time watching lower league and non-league football. There is a lot of talent and potential and there are a lot of examples of players who have risen through the levels to play at the highest level."Joe Purkiss, scout at Revo Sports Management, works with teams across the league and most recently scouted for Sheffield United's under-13s' youth team. Joe also told Kitlocker about the wealth of talent just waiting to be discovered in lower and non-league teams:"Sco...
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Don't Coach Kids Football Too Early?

Don't Coach Kids Football Too Early?
On reading a headline in the Telegraph a few weeks ago, I stumbled across the headline and a story from Graham Taylor (ex-Watford and England manager).  The headline read "Don't coach kids too early, warns Graham Taylor remembering his school sport days".  Now, being the co-founder of Sport4Kids, who provide sports classes for children from the age of 18 months, I couldn't help but feel naturally intrigued by Graham's viewpoint.  On reading the article, the headline was somewhat misleading.  What Graham had actually said was that he felt that kids should enjoy football and sport by playing it "off the cuff" rather than in a structured coaching environment.  They should be allowed to find their own love for the game and develop a passion from there.  Completely agree Graham - too much regiment and too many rules at a young age can drain all of the fun out of sport for children - but there is a happy medium. Teaching children and toddlers foot...
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Footballing Ability - Natural or Learned?

Footballing Ability - Natural or Learned?
One of the greatest myths of mankind revolves around whether ability is a gift of genetics or a learned blessing for those provided with the correct tools to succeed.  As a child footballer, I was never blessed with the natural athletisism of some of my peers, who would execute step overs and audacious tricks with confidence all over the pitch - but what was the main difference?  Well, I never tried the tricks... Children who believe that ability can be learned through practice tend to succeed in situations that are difficult.  On the flip side, children who feel that ability is natural, tend to give up easier or not attempt a harder task, for fear of losing their "gifted" status.  Now, I'm not claiming to have been "gifted", but what I am claiming is that it is easy for children to be put off practicing their skills, because they are a) scared of making a mistake and b) do not feel that they will ever reach the level of their peers. We need to make sure that we e...
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Building Confidence in Children Through Sport

Building Confidence in Children Through Sport
What is Self Confidence? Self confidence means having a realistic understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses. Building on existing self confidence means identifying areas that need to be worked on that may be lacking in some way. A child’s self-esteem is acquired, not inherited. In children, parents are the main source of a child’s self confidence and so it is really important that parents take a vested interest in their child’s behaviour from a very young age. Obviously parents have a huge influence over their children and so if a parent displays low self confidence themselves, this can have a bearing on a child’s behaviour and self esteem. That is not to say that being over confident or arrogant is the correct method. A happy medium must be achieved whereby the child can see that is ok to have certain weaknesses but it also ok to celebrate strengths.   Why is Self Confidence Important? So why is it important for a child to have self confidence, can it not be someth...
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Why is sport important for children's development?

Why is sport important for children's development?
Getting Kids Involved in Sports Research has shown that sports contribute to the psychological well-being of all by reducing anxiety and enhancing self-esteem. Therefore it is no surprise that they are recommended as a positive addition to a child’s development. Why are they Important? By participating in sports activities in general, children’s social skills are likely to come alive as it is a fantastic facilitator to promote social interaction, cooperation, teamwork and friendship. Research has also shown how sports can improve problem solving skills, build self-discipline, respect for authority and team-mates, trust, leadership and coping skills. Confidence is a huge factor for children and participation in sports will only assist the development of character. Children with enhanced self esteem will inevitably be more comfortable in their own skin and therefore be well placed to proceed well in their early school and social lives.   Keys to Positive Development When choosin...
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How England can win the World Cup in 2030...

How England can win the World Cup in 2030...
So another World Cup has passed us by and once again, despite having no expectations, England have still managed to under-achieve.  The media who cried out for the inclusion of youth are starting the blame game of a lack of experience in the squad - where was Gareth Barry?  what about Michael Carrick?  Both players villanised as the "old era" of English football.  Had they been taken to the World Cup and England were knocked out at this stage, they would have been made the scapegoats.  Instead, we find the blame levied at the feet of Wayne Rooney, whom the media once again placed on the national pedestal, before snatching it from under him on the grounds that he did not "cover" Leighton Baines enough against Italy - despite playing in a less than favoured position on the left and covering more ground than any other England player on the night.  Oh and let's not forget Steven Gerrard - "captain fantastic" - who is now being pressured to retire following the...
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World Cup 1998 - My Panini Moment

World Cup 1998 - My Panini Moment
This year, the nice folks down at Panini have sponsored our S4K World Cup Tournament and supplied our children with sticker books and stickers so that they can engage with this summer's festivities and follow their favourite players.  As part of this sponsorship, we at S4K have been tasked with writing a blog entry on our first World Cup memory.  My first experience of the nationwide euphoria induced by England's participation in a summer tournament was in fact Euro '96, so by the time World Cup 1998 rolled around, I was a seasoned professional England spectator.  I remember the build-up well, my dad even took me to see Michael Owen make his debut against Chile and to me, Mr Owen was the man I idolised for the tournament - but would Glenn Hoddle pick him?  We had the young guns of Owen and Beckham pushing for starting places over the experience and aging legs of Sheringham and Anderton and the nation was pushing for change (much like this year...). The tournament st...
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Child-centric Learning - The S4K Way

Child-centric Learning - The S4K Way
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...
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No Need to Park the Bus in Kids Football

No Need to Park the Bus in Kids Football
At risk of sounding like a disgruntled Liverpool fan (this may be slightly true), I'd like to take a minute to focus on the "parking of the bus" tactics that saw Chelsea run out of Anfield with a 2-0 victory last weekend.  Many claimed that Brendan Rodgers and his young Liverpool team were given a "tactical masterclass" by Joe Mourinho's outfit.  Now before we go any further, I am no hypocrite.  I remember many a time under the tenure of Rafa Benitez and even as recently as Kenny Dalglish where Liverpool were set up to "not get beaten" opposed to try to win the game.  Indeed, there is a time and a place for these sorts of tactics and the Premier League - with all of the financial ramifications for finishing near the summit - is exactly where one would expect to see them.  However, where does this "win at all costs" mentality reach its limit?  I would argue, in the kids football clubs.  Too often we see parents on the sidelines at football matches, urg...
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The Importance of Skills in Kids Football Clubs

The Importance of Skills in Kids Football Clubs
While there is some merit in the long-ball by the defender,  up to the big striker, who chests the ball off to his partner, the modern game has changed somewhat.  In reminiscing while watching the Premiership years of 15 years ago, I have fond memories of a long ball over the top picking out Michael Owen, before he raced through and slotted home.  Indeed, there is a time and a place for "direct" football. This time and place however, is not at grass-roots level kids football clubs, where children need to be encouraged to explore their creative sides.  Being a full back is not the same as it was 20 years ago.  They have become more pivotal to the best team's game plans - charging down the flanks, whipping in crosses and most importantly - showcasing some intricate skills along the way.  Take a look at Everton's Seamus Coleman at the weekend - he was under pressure from Arsenal's Santi Cazorla on the right wing and looked like he was heading nowhere. ...
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Kids Football Coaching - Why Competition is Healthy for Your Child

Kids Football Coaching - Why Competition is Healthy for Your Child
Competition is a complex thing for anyone to get their head around in the football coaching world. There is a fine line between having a healthy competitive streak that drives you on to want to achieve more, and taking things too far in becoming someone who has to turn everything into a competition and always wants to win. This can be difficult for children especially to understand and so some parents may feel that it’s better to shield their kids from competition until they are old enough to understand it. However, there are many reasons why competition can actually aid in the development of a child and cause them to excel in a variety of ways. Introducing a degree of competitiveness into their lives from an early age may be just what they need to help them succeed. It Increases The Chance Of Success In the right environment, competition in football coaching has been proven to encourage children to perform better than they would have done without it. This is due to many different re...
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Toddler Football - Engagement to Passion

Toddler Football - Engagement to Passion
As our England footballers begin to ramp up preparations for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, many of us are left to wonder – will we watch Steven Gerrard lift the trophy?  Will we get to see our young dynamos Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling in action?  Will Wayne Rooney sustain a freak injury that leaves our national media praying for a speedy recovery?  We are at an age in England where everybody expects – the media expects, the fans expect and even our politicians chime in with their two cents (well on the subject of football shirt prices…).  One thing that all of these individuals fail to look at is the role that toddler activity classes and toddler sports can have in shaping the next generation of sporting heroes. So why are children no longer as engaged in sport?  A lot of this comes down to the “Playstation” generation that we are all too aware of – children would rather sit on their iPad than kick a ball against a wall.  How do we beat this pro...
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