• KMSC Admin

Three Ways to Increase Spatial Awareness

Updated: Apr 21, 2018


Notice the glob of kids on the soccer field last weekend and how they're all staring at the ground trying to "get the ball". Notice how in little kids soccer there is usually one or two dominant players on a team? Next time you watch a game, observe the differences between the dominant players and those fighting for the ball in a glob (or playing in the grass).


The truth is that most players tend to look down while they dribble thereby significantly reducing spatial awareness. The players that stand apart aren't always the fastest or the tallest but those that can see the field and look to where they're going. Most of the time, players tend to look up only when someone verbally says something such as "pass it" or "over here" to get their attention. Spatial awareness is a critical skill, not just in the sport of soccer, but in life! We want kids to be aware of the their surroundings both on and off the field.


Spatial awareness is a critical skill, not just in the sport of soccer, but in life!

Here are three practical ways to help increase spatial awareness:

1. The Dribble Stare

Spend some time in yard dribbling around with your child. Challenge yourself and your child to look at one another while dribbling around in small space. Have a timer out and do this for 2 minute intervals with a 1 minute "free style" in between. Do this for 10-15 minutes -- and be sure to laugh and make it fun!   

2. Follow the Leader

As your child get's better at this "silent stare while dribbling", tell them to then copy what you do (follow the leader). If you stop, they have to stop. If you turn, they have to turn. If you run faster, they have to run faster. You can even get creative and stop the ball with your elbow, knee, or even your head! How flexible are you mom/dad? Make sure to do this non-verbally. The player is simply to copy you by watching! 


3. I Saw the Sign

Remember that song? Classic 90's tune. Now, you can get creative with this. Make signs from a particular category that you can hold up for your player to see. You can easily make homemade signs with paint-stirring sticks and some cardboard. Simply attach the two! You might have 5-10 signs having to do with different types of sports where you draw a ball or an item that is used in a particular sport and they have to say it as they dribble between cones. They have to keep their head up in order to visually see the sign. Other categories might be U.S. States, biblical characters, numbers, letters, colors, or even family members! You get the picture. The challenge is to see how many signs your player can identify in a given period of time all the while they are dribbling between cones or in a square. If you have other family members around, they can hold up signs as well at different corners of the square! Be creative and challenge your player to keep his/her head up avoiding what most kids do; staring at their feet!


Remember, spatial awareness is important both on and off the field, so let's add some fun to it as we teach our kids this important life skill!

Remember, spatial awareness is important both on and off the field, so let's add some fun to it as we teach our kids this important life skill!

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Tyler, his wife Lesley and their three kids Addison, Eli, and Henry reside in Kings Mountain, NC. Tyler is the Executive Director at Kings Mountain Soccer Club, business owner at J. Tyler Deaton Creative Services and works full time with a church planting network called Acts 29. Tyler enjoys soccer and loves seeing young players develop and partnerships strengthen between coaches, parents, and the wider community. You can follow or connect with Tyler on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram as well as contact him via email at jtylerdeaton@gmail.com.

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