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Coaches Blog

Sam's Blog is a bi-weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer.

 

The Player's Game

Sam Snow

The Player's Game

By Chris Panayiotou, Developmental Director of Coaching - Virginia Rush Soccer Club

Football, soccer, voetball the player’s game?

I dream of being like my heroes Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney, ah the fame

I dream that 80,000-90,000 fans are screaming my name,

I want to ask the stars, with all those people screaming your name….

How does this affect your game?

How do you think?

When coach yells, the sidelines screams directions I just freeze and shrink

 

They say that soccer is the player’s game

I just can't concentrate when the adults yell my name

I want to play where it's nice and quiet

Not where a referee misses a call and induces a riot

I want to play where I'm free to make mistakes

Not when that happens the adult berates

 

The parents yell boot it, punt it, whack it clear

I just want to dribble keep the ball near

After all, the ball is the world’s favorite toy

I am not a grown man, just a small boy

 

People are yelling pass, pass, pass

Tell me dribble and I will be the top of my class

I want to dribble and touch the ball

I want to be free from the noise and try it all

 

Dad when you were young how and what did you play?

Did your parents come and watch you, what did they say?

The ride home is at times what I dread

Because what you say I should do, is not what coach said

 

Today is my day, to learn and embrace,

All that I can from my coach and teammates.

From me to you, and you to me,

The way forward is clear to see.

These six words mean the world to me.

Mom, Dad, there is no better way for you to say,

"I loved watching you play today."

These words I hear, and never fear are true and kind and full of cheer.

 

Kick around with me, show me what to do

Let me take part in pick-up games like you used to

 

I am still a young person not a professional player

I need support and praise not a nay-sayer

Thank my teachers and coaches for their time

They are trying to help my skills be sublime

 

Praise my effort, grit, determination and will

Let me develop, try new things, gain a skill

Sit back, relax, enjoy this ride

This is my journey let me fill you with pride

 

 

Comments (0)

 

Sideline Performance

Sam Snow

The message below from the club executive director was brought to my attention by the chair of our risk management committee. I think it is worthwhile for youth soccer coaches and administrators to read.

Thought you'd enjoy this message by David Carton, executive director of the Discoveries Soccer Club that he sent to all of his club's membership. If we had all of our clubs taking this positive approach, our players' development would be so much more.

Bob Brantley, chair of the US Youth Soccer Risk Management Committee

Executive Director Update

Parents,

I am writing this address with a great degree of disappointment.

While the players have kicked off the 2014/15 season showing great promise, our on the field performances have reached some new heights. Players are meshing well, coaches are pushing and demanding, and the balance between development and results is showing the correct synergy to allow the players and staff to arrive at the training pitch with excitement and hunger.

Unfortunately, it has been our sideline performance which has been below par. Since the start of the season, we have witnessed some of the most unpleasant, needless, and disrespectful displays of adult behavior in recent times. It is without doubt, that competitive team sports can teach kids lessons that are hard to find elsewhere; teamwork, accountability, responsibility, discipline. But none of these lessons supersede the most important lesson the game can teach us, and that is respect.

Every team I have been involved in, from Rec to Academy, from College to Pro, I try to instill three messages to each and every player, all revolving around this theme. Respect for the opposition, respect for themselves, and respect for the game.

Unfortunately, this message gets lost when a child hears his/her parent, the most important person in their lives, their supposed personification of influence and guidance, illustrating and demonstrating the kind of disrespectful behavior we have seen this season.

These developments have prompted me to address some truths listed and outlined below;

- We do not lose games because of refereeing! Football is a continuous, free-flowing game and regardless of how qualified, experienced or certified a referee is, players influence games far more than referees. In other words, when we lose we need to be accountable.

- Winning and losing is not life and death! We are all competitive, we all want to walk away victorious, but it is not the end of the world if we don't! The lessons we learn in defeat far outweigh the lessons we learn in victory. Development is a process that takes time. Look for the positives, and address the negatives as opportunities to improve. In other words, defeats are opportunities to improve, victories are opportunities to be humble.

- Asking for an opposing player to be booked/red carded is disgusting! Screaming for a referee to brandish cards to opponents lacks class and degrades us as a club. Referees are encouraged to act as educators to young players, not disciplinarians. The next time you decide to ask for a card ask yourself how you would feel if it was your child.

- Attending a game does not empower you to criticize another player! Each player is doing their best. There are many reasons for a young player to underperform, do not assume that it is from a lack of effort or talent. Ultimately, all parents want their child to have a positive experience. Do not be the negative agent for another child's experience.

- If you think you can do better, send me your resume! Sideline coaching is an epidemic that inhibits and confuses. If you feel that you can do a better job than your coach then apply for a coaching job. 

- Your child looks up to you, reflect a good example! Bellowing and screeching like banshees is not a good example. The nature of soccer is that mistakes can be immediately rectified by responding positively to setbacks. Teach your child to get on with it, and not look for someone to blame!    

Essentially, all our members need to remind themselves that they are ambassadors for our club. When you registered for Discoveries Soccer Club, you signed up to represent the values and standards that we deem acceptable. I have written before that wearing our crest is not a right, it is a privilege. It is an opportunity to continue the hard work so many others have done before us, which allows us to have such a club. A club steeped in history and tradition. A club that presents a primary purpose to represent its members with respect. There are greater lessons to learn than just drills and tactics, and these are the lessons that are more important to me than any trophy or State Cup.

To address this issue I will be scheduling a Parent Education Seminar with South Carolina Youth Soccer DOC Greg Valee in the next few weeks. I will also be arranging a Parent-Referee Seminar hosted by MLS Referee and DSC Parent Jeff Muschik. Details for these events will be released ASAP.

It is not my intention to isolate any incidents as we do not want to treat the symptom, but cure the cause. I now implore all of our members to introspectively reflect on how they feel they represent our club. Please take two minutes of your time to watch the clip below, and ask yourself...Is this me??

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz6xZ3lhM_M

Thanks for taking the time for reading this message, the public perception of our club is very dear to me, and as I said in my annual address, my job is to pave a way for all players under my watch, but it is also to do so in a way that is loyal to what so many greater than me have achieved over the past 30 years of our clubs existence.  

Dave Carton, Executive Director - Discoveries Soccer Club

Comments (2)

 

Perspectives of Opposing teams

Sam Snow

As the Monty Python skit used to say, and now for something completely different.

A Tale of Two Benches on Play-Off Day

by Roy Patton

Beautiful pass, lovely curved ball, you beat two defenders,

sweeper and all

Kick him, harass him, get in his face, they’re making you run all

over the place

 Fantastic turn, your man was real tight. That’s the best move I’ve

seen all night

Chop him, trip him, somehow stop him. Don’t look at me, just

get on top of him

Great first touch, superb control. Keep it up, you’re on a roll.

Stand on his foot, tug on his shirt. Remember I showed you all

kinds of dirt

Wonderful dribble, great turn of speed. That’s the soccer that

U.S.A. needs

Get fired up! Be really intense. Hammer that ball out over the

fence

Congratulations, you played a great game. Let’s come out next

year and do the same

We won! We won! I’m 11-0. There’s not much about soccer that

I don’t know

You are more than a coach. You’re also a friend and that’s why

we hate to see this season end

Coach, it’s over. Here is my gear. I’ll probably play football or

baseball next year

Comments (1)

 

Player Development...To What End?

Sam Snow

Here’s a type of question that comes my way now and then at club meetings.

So much of Youth soccer seems to be all about improving the player. To what end? This model plays into supporting an infrastructure of paid coaches and trainers and tournaments with an increasing amount of burn-out on the part of the kids we work with. So few kids will see a slot on an Olympic team or a professional bench, yet this is the Holy Grail kids are expected to aspire towards. At the same time, just dumping the kids onto a field with a ball and some nets is just a form of kick ball. What purpose should organized youth soccer serve and where, in your opinion, should the balance be? On a less esoteric note, what should parents of a young child look for in a municipal program; i.e., Parks and Rec. or a local travel club?

Is not our objective to improve players?  Whether that objective is accomplished by volunteer coaches or paid coaches the end must be the same – player growth.  Our goal is to help each player with whom we work to develop within the game of soccer.  Some of those players will be lifelong amateur players, some will become college players, a few will make it to the pros and of those some will play internationally.  The point is to keep all of them in the game at one level of play or another.

Yes, I would agree that just ‘dumping’ kids on a field may be kickball.  But with a few older players thrown into the mix it then becomes a pick-up game.

From the National Youth License consider these two sport models:

blog 1

 

blog 2

 

I think what we want is a blend of the two models.

To the question of “… what should parents of a young child look for in a municipal program, i.e. Parks and Rec. or a local travel club?” the answer is mostly the same for both scenarios.

  1. A mission statement/philosophy that guides the organization
  2. Qualified staff
  3. A curriculum for development
  4. A sound business plan
  5. Safe infrastructure
     

After that it becomes a matter of price point and time that the player’s family is willing and able to invest.

Comments (0)