Tag Archives: football

Little Sports Coaching – learn new footballing skills

Like most boys born in Manchester, my son has grown up with a football at his feet. He’s not a natural-born striker, but he enjoys having a kick-about in the park and it’s nice to encourage a love of sports at an early age. This month he joined the Little Sports Coaching Mini Soccer programme in Manchester where he hoped to learn a few new skills to show off in the park.

Little Sports Coaching launched in 2006 as a sports coaching organisation.  They work in nurseries and primary schools; run soccer schools, multi sports, dance and gymnastics classes, holiday camps, one to one coaching sessions, children’s parties and even have their own junior football team. 

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

My son has trained with them before at school; so he already knew some of the coaches when he arrived at the Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe, Manchester for his first session. They were really welcoming and gave him his own brightly coloured kit (it’s very bright, so there’s no losing him in a crowd when he wears it).

He got straight in with a warm-up kick about with the other players in his group. There were about 8 children in each group and when the weather isn’t terrible they get to play outside on the astroturf. Some of the kids were amazing and obviously had been attending for several years. Ben got stuck in and made sure he was near the coach, listening and paying attention to what he was told to do.

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

During the Mini Soccer programme players learned a selection of skills including dribbling, passing, shooting, heading and much more; plus each session includes taking part in five-a-side football matches to practice those skills.

The Mini Soccer sessions last for two hours with a short break in the middle. A bottle of water is essential and players are encouraged to bring a snack to eat such as fruit. Although kit is provided, players will need comfortable trainers or football boots if they’re playing outside.

Parents don’t have to stay for the sessions, but you can do if you’d like. I’ll be honest and say we slipped away for half an hour to pick up a few bits from a nearby retail park. He was busy concentrating and probably didn’t even notice we’d gone.

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

At the end of each session the coaches award a player of the week trophy for a player who has shown improvement; or who has tried extra hard, listened well or been a good team player. The trophy is kept for one week and when it’s returned the player gets a certificate to keep. It’s a nice little motivator to do well.

The coaches are engaging, encouraging and professional. You can tell they really enjoy helping to coach these young players. It’s clear from sitting on the sidelines for a few hours that the kids love the sessions too. There’s something special about watching a group of kids form a team and play together; watching them learn new skills and grow in confidence too.

Two hours of football is quite a lot to ask my son to play on a hot June afternoon. He does flag a bit towards the end; but the rest of his team are all still running about and picking up any slack he leaves.

He’s had three training sessions with Little Sports Coaching now and he really enjoys going. When he gets home he’s hungry, thirsty and tired, which is how I think it should be. He’s had a good run around and learned some new football skills. He’s learned quite a lot of other things too; like teamwork, listening skills, he’s concentrated on what he’s doing and what he should be doing and most of all, he’s had a lot of fun doing it. Isn’t that what taking part in sports is really all about?

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

Little Sports Coaching offer a wide range of sports coaching including football, dance and multi-sports across Manchester and the North West. Each session of Mini Soccer costs £6 which for two hours worth of coaching is excellent value.

To find out more about Little Sports Coaching, visit their website www.littlesportscoaching.co.uk/mini-soccer.

Disclosure: We were offered four Little Sports Coaching sessions and the kit in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

The Team Santa vs Team Elf MCFC Stadium and Club Tour

I spent most of last weekend sat in a jacuzzi with some good friends, drinking fizz and generally having a good time. I’d left the boys at home for the weekend with a list of chores and no expectation they’d do any of them. I was right, they did this instead…

Mrs. HodgePodgeDays decided to go away for the weekend, so that left two boys at home wondering how to pass the time. It was fortunate that amongst other things, we had been invited to try out the brand new Team Santa vs Team Elf MCFC Stadium and Club Tour at the home of Manchester City FC, the Etihad Stadium.

MCFC Stadium and Club Tour

The new festive themed MCFC Stadium and Club Tour launches on Saturday 10th December. Families are invited to enjoy a City Santa vs City Elf themed tour with a sprinkling of Christmas spirit. We went along to get a sneak preview of what Santa and his footballing elves had in store this December.

The MCFC Stadium and Club Tour includes exclusive access to fascinating behind the scenes areas of the stadium, including the team dressing room and the official press conference room where you can sit in Pep Guardiola’s seat, exactly as seen on TV. From here, visitors emerge pitch side through the players’ tunnel before taking their seats in the dugout and dreaming of the moment they’re called upon to wear the famous sky blue jersey. The Christmas tour is all that and more.

MCFC Stadium and Club Tour

We arrived at the City Store with a few minutes to spare and were greeted by our very knowledgeable and cheery guide Dominic. His job was to show us around the stadium and also to sprinkle some festive sparkle on it.

We started in the Tours Exhibition Area which is above the City Store and is home to historic memorabilia, interactive games and videos, and also features the story of the club right back to 1894. It was here that our tour group was split in two teams, Santas and Elves. We were all handed one of Manchester City’s Christmas themed jumpers to have our pictures taken in and then it was time for festive game No. 1, decorating the tree. In our teams, one by one, we had to decorate our trees and the fastest team would be the winners, this ended in a draw.

MCFC Stadium and Club Tour

We began the stadium tour and went first to the directors’ seating area and into one of the award winning hospitality suites. We sat outside for a few minutes in the directors’ seats and surveyed the pitch in front of us, then went to check out the media centre and sat in the room where the after match press interviews take place.

The tour continued with a visit to the away dressing room for festive game No.2. Each team took turns to throw mini footballs at little snowmen sat on the benches and again, this ended in a draw of the seemingly equally matched teams. Moving on, we went to the home dressing room to enjoy the comfy seats and to tackle festive game No. 3, flipping the water bottles, which ended up being won 10-4 by the Elves.

MCFC Stadium and Club Tour

Back to the tour and the tunnel leading to the pitch and then pitch side and a rest in Pep Guardiola’s seat in the dugout for a different view of the pitch than we’d normally have. We then went back inside onto the concourse for the final festive game of chipping a football up into a container. Absolutely no-one on either team managed to do this, so overall Team Elf won the competition because of their superior skills in flipping the water bottles.

Once the festive themed games had finished it was back to the City Store for both teams to collect their prizes (all children under the age of 12 on the tours will receive a Christmas gift from the Club and be entered into a prize draw giving them a chance to be a player escort at the Manchester City v Liverpool match, scheduled to take place on Saturday 18th March  2017).

Manchester City are offering all those that have been on the MCFC Stadium and Club Tour in December a 20% discount off all purchases in the City Store that month. It’s a great place to pick up a present for the Manchester City supporter in your family!

The MCFC Stadium and Club Tour is a really fun way to spend an afternoon, especially in the run up to Christmas. The small boy had a fantastic time and returned home with the biggest smile, he couldn’t wait to tell all his friends at school about it the next day! 

Tickets for the MCFC Stadium and Club Tour cost £17 per adult, £11 per child aged 5-16 and £12 for concessions and will run on select days throughout December. For more information, visit the MCFC website.

MCFC Stadium and Club Tour

We were invited guests of Manchester City, all images and opinions are our own.