Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Recently, I was in Tennessee to teach a National Youth License
coaching course along with Tom Condone, Tennessee State Soccer director of coaching, and Mike Strickler, Florida Youth Soccer director of coaching. Last Tuesday, I was able to visit with parents of Under-11 players with the Collierville Soccer Association, which is just outside of Memphis. Tom Condone and Dale Burke, Tennessee State Soccer executive director, made the trip too. The three of us, at the request of the club executive director Paul Furlong, were able to speak with the parents, the club director of coaching and a couple of the club administrators. The club has recently initiated an academy approach with the Under-11 and younger age groups. The parents had some concerns on this approach providing for sufficient competition for the kids to further develop their soccer talents. We spoke with them on the stair step approach to proper player development and age appropriate competition. The folks asked good questions during the meeting and we had a positive dialog. Here are some of the comments from the club members which they shared after our meeting.
I would personally like to thank you and Sam Snow for coming to Collierville and presenting the youth module to our Under-9 through Under-11 parents. I believe it was very educational and that it hit home with many of them that were in attendance. Also, I would like to have you come here once a year and present this information to our new, up and coming parents.
Once again, thank you for your time and efforts with parent education. I have added a few emails below from some of our managers who attended and are in the process of passing on the information they learned.
Regards, Shawn Loth
Junior Lobos Director/Director of Club Training
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the seminar Tuesday night. I appreciate the efforts made by all involved at CSA to coordinate a visit from the directors of US Youth Soccer and Tenn. State Soccer.
I was able to understand the importance of learning proper technique, striving to play well, and most of all to have fun playing the game for 9, 10, and 11-year-olds. We have to be responsible, as parents and coaches, to teach these kids that winning is not the only thing that matters. We tend to ask the question "Did you win?" or ""Did you score?" instead of asking "Did you have fun?"" or "Did you play your best?" and "Did you have a positive impact on the game and your team?"
They suggested that players not be cut at this age as they are still in the "developmental" stage. This can result in more than one team, i.e. A, B, and C teams. With this said, every child should get equal playing time. Each team should be equally matched.
One thing that struck me was tournament play. They recommend playing "in state" such as friendlies. Set something up that will allow you to get there and back in one day. Little Rock would be okay as they are only a couple of hours away. It's not necessary to travel long distances for tournaments at this age.
I used to think that if a coach sat on the bench and didn't interact with the players on the field that he/she didn't care. The coach is a teacher. He/She has given them the tools through practices, training, etc. to make decisions on the field for themselves and for their team. Games are learning experiences. Everything the players have been taught, experiences they have had from an early age, it all comes together and clicks at the age of 26, 27 or 28!!!! I wouldn't have guessed that this would be the age they will peak.
Encourage your child to play!!!! Not just soccer. Grab a basketball and shoot some hoops, ride a bike, climb a tree (although that one scares me to death).
They have documents, guides, etc. from both websites that can be very helpful to the parents and players. "Best Practices", and "The Vision" document were a couple that were mentioned in the meeting.
I wanted to thank you for setting up the parent education seminar on March 9th for our Lobos parents. My husband and I attended the meeting and found it informative and insightful. I gathered a lot of helpful information during the meeting and have researched several of the websites that were mentioned. I will be passing on the information to our team parents that were unable to attend the meeting. I feel that it is very important that all parents hear the proper perspective regarding youth player development. One key point that I gathered from the meeting was the Under-6 through Under-12 player should focus on the process of playing instead of the outcome. Another point is that building technical skills at a young age is key to having a successful player at an older age.
I will pass on what I've learned to other parents in the program and I hope that we are able to have additional seminars of this nature.
Lady Lobos Manager
So the director of coaching and executive director of a State Association, along with the national director of coaching, made a six hour round trip for a one hour meeting to make a difference for a club and the players therein. Join in with us on this team effort to improve the youth soccer experience!