Arrival activities are a brilliant way of starting your session and engaging the children from the outside. Often children come to your sessions after a full day at school with their friends without potentially much physical activity throughout the day. So arrival activities are certainly a great way to get the children active and letting off some steam! There are many ways of using arrival activities as well as many different types and in this blog we will explore some of these!

Firstly, here are some of the benefits of arrival activities:
  • Can be easily adapted to constantly changing numbers.
  • Help set the scene for the focus of your session.
  • Get the children active and playing from the outset.
  • Allow you to maximise the time the players have within your environment.
  • Gives you an opportunity to observe and work with your players before the session begins.

There is many different types of arrival activities that can be used for your players from small sided games to individual technical work, all that have benefits and trade offs that you may wish to consider:

Small Sided Games: Children play football to play football! Small sided games in whatever capacity are a great way of engaging the children immediately as they arrive to training. These games can vary from small numbers to building up as players arrive into a larger game. A great way of linking the learning is beginning with the end game, so starting with the small sided game that they’re going to finish with. As players arrive, you may be able to begin to introduce the conditions/constraints of the small sided game or speak with players on how you will be working with them throughout your session. Likewise, it may be that you wish to throw the children into their own game where they devise their own rules etc from the small sided games too.
Individual Technical Work: Working with individuals in your arrival activities can be a great way or supporting their learning and giving them an opportunity to practice. This can vary from player led where the player arrives and does that they want with a ball to coach led where the coach works with an individual as they arrive.
Player Led: Is a great way of giving the children ‘free play’ and exploring different ways of using equipment and the facilities that you have to practice what they want. Often this can be seen as chaotic and not beneficial, but the real learning is happening between the interactions amongst the children and them being given the license to play. Don’t be afraid to use it!
Multi-Sports: Using different sports can be a great way of starting your sessions with the children being exposed to different types of movement and play ahead of their football session. Different sports will provide different returns, but using them to link to what type of session or topic you will be focusing on can be a great start. For example, if you’re working on a session that focuses around passing and receiving a sport such as Basketball or Handball can provide returns that link that can link to your football sessions.
Technical Practice (linked to topic): Using technical practices that players can join in as they arrive will also help set the scene for the session and will help provide players with an opportunity to practice what they will be working on throughout the session. A great way of doing this is using the same practice you finished with in the last session you delivered, with children being given the opportunity to pick up from where they finished. This can be an excellent vehicle to consolidate their learning and helping them start to think about where they finished off from.
To conclude, arrival activities can be a great way of setting the scene, getting the children playing and linking the learning. Make the arrival activities varied and always consider the benefits and trade offs!