I have coached for many years, and I have coached many ages groups. Children as young as two and a half, and the biggest most important function when coaching this age is to keep it fun. Now fun takes many forms, and the goal is to define it through your child’s eyes.
Fun for some is purely winning, and if they lose it isn’t fun anymore – if that is the case, then rig the game so that winning is the only option. Please bear in mind that this is pertinent to a pre-schooler, there does come a time when losing is imperative for development.
For other children Fun is defined not via the actual sport but through the incentive of playing that sport, for example every time your child gets it right you give them a high five or lift them up like an aeroplane.
(However let me just add that the praise received from mom or dad for getting it right might negatively affect them if they get it wrong, this is something I have been learning about recently, and because we are in the business of development, i would suggest praising them for character traits than performance or objectives achieved. To illustrate i can praise my child for hitting the ball far, or i can praise them for concentrating so well or persevering in hitting the ball and not giving up.)
Evoking Positive Association, the excitement and approval from mom or dad might be the absolute highlight of playing. other children might find it fun to hit the ball far, and that is all it takes for them to enjoy it.
Fun takes different shapes and forms, but your role as home coach is finding that element and enforces the fun.
Now the duration of the time spent playing may also determine what is fun, or more accurately when it isn’t fun anymore. You cannot play one game or do one drill forever, subtle changes in the game make it fun, but ultimately when your child has had enough of the sport, then let them stop. If they never want to stop, bonus.
I have seen parents trying to get to technical at home, because they are desperate to make their child the next AB DE Villiers, many children feel forced to play and ultimately stop when given the opportunity. Cricket shouldn’t serve the purpose of getting them to international level by the age of 5, but rather seen as one of the best early childhood development tools available. If at a later stage, they prove to be a natural, then by all means encourage it further.
Making it fun may sound obvious to you, everyone uses the fun word as a mantra. But very little people understand why, very few people identify that means different things to different children.
Fun means taking out winning and losing and removing the competitive edge, but for some children they need that.
The best and most reliable factor to ensure that its fun, is by asking your preschooler to design the rules and parameters around the game, maybe not every time, but definitely let them enjoy creating something for themselves. engagement is critical for fun and for empowering them for a long term developmental curve.