There is nothing more satisfying then watching your child be successful playing the game of soccer. The question is, “How do you define success for your child?“. There are many parents who will answer with scoring a goal, winning the game, or some who will say by just enjoying the game. For me I define success as my players being in situations where they are challenged to use their abilities to solve challenges in the game. This can be as simple as making a pass to a teammate in a 2v1 situation that leads to their teammate having a better chance to score. There is an overemphasis on winning in youth sports versus teaching kids proper techniques and skills to grow as they continue in the sport. If you’re reading this and still struggling to see where I am coming from here is a short video to help give some perspective: England FA: Let Them Play
The first thing to understand for those who didn’t play the game growing up must understand that soccer isn’t a game where the coach has a major impact during the game and there are not set plays. Soccer is a player’s game and this allows the players to make decisions that will result in what happens in this next moment. This sounds very simple doesn’t it? Let’s get into situations where this could make things a bit harder, imagine being nine again and hearing all of these different voices yelling at you where to go, now doesn’t that sound a bit frustrating? It is very easy for all of us to think we know everything sitting in your chair shouting instructions, so what I encourage you all to do is to “Cheer and not steer the players.” This allows the players to take direction from their coaches during the game without having conflicting thoughts.
One of the biggest things I encourage coaches and players to utilize is “positive reinforcement“. Positive reinforcement can be defined as supporting a player’s decision that may result in a mistake, but the player had the right idea. An example of this would be a defender looking to make a pass out of the back to an open teammate vs kicking the ball away even though the pass to the teammate might not make it there. When our players have these great ideas and look to challenge themselves we need to make sure we positively reinforce these decisions as it will encourage them to continue to make them.
I feel many players are more worried about failing in a game and being yelled at for their mistakes so they look to make the decision that doesn’t result in a negative reaction. The more as adults we can minimize these negative reactions the more likely we will have players who look to be creative and can make their own decisions.
If you’re a parent or a coach looking to learn more about the game you can take a short quiz that I have put together here to help educate those willing to learn: Coaching Quiz
If you enjoyed taking that and want to get involved we can use your assistance this season in helping us coaching in our recreation program. Here at Perdido Bay FC we are constantly growing with more players joining each year, you don’t have to be a connoisseur of the game to have an impact in a child’s life. If you are interested in coaching please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Perdido Bay FC