Skills Showcase: Toe Taps and Penguin Walks
by Rachel Moravec
Fort Bragg Coach and Tech Specialist
Ever wondered about the skills our coaches utilize for soccer sessions? Our skilled Coach Trainers train each Tiny Troops Soccer coach. Two skills that go hand in hand for our players are toe taps and penguin walks.
In Tiny Troops Soccer, these two skills are taught in our 3 and 4-year-olds and 4.5 and 5-year-olds sessions. They are great ways to develop balance, quick feet, and coordination. Use the video above as a visual guide as you read on. It’s a great way to ensure you are practicing the skills correctly!
Toe taps begin with the coach standing behind the soccer ball. This is a good time for the coach to remind players that no hands are used when doing toe taps. Instead, tap the feet for emphasis, and have players copy. The coach then slowly demonstrates putting one foot on top of the ball and then switching to the other foot. For older players, mentioning that they are using their right foot and left foot is an excellent way to instruct them about parts of their bodies. After the coach has demonstrated, players can copy the coach, slowly doing toe taps. Count to 10. Once players have mastered slow toe taps, increase the pace, going a little faster. Again, count to 10.
After completing toe taps, Tiny Troops Soccer coaches move on to penguin walks. For many players, this skill can be challenging at first. Coaches begin by asking the players about penguins and how they walk. The coach then demonstrates a penguin waddle without using the ball. The players can copy the coach, showing their penguin waddles. Make sure they waddle in place! Coach then retrieves their soccer ball and demonstrates the penguin walk, passing the ball back and forth between their legs. Once the coach has demonstrated, the players pass the ball back and forth between their legs while standing still. After a minute or so, the coach can build upon this skill by having the players start on one side of Soccer Island and penguin walking their balls halfway across the field. Once there, they can trap their ball and return to the sidelines when Coach says go.
Tiny Troopers may take some time to begin to work toward proficiency in these skills, but that is why repetition is essential in our program lessons. This skill is practiced in each month’s lesson plan for 3 and 4-year-olds and 4.5 and 5-year-olds. Stay tuned for the next Skills Showcase!