Monday, February 22, 2010
I recently sent a coach a copy of the Vision document which gives facts on youth soccer player development and how we can measure improvement. He had this to say after he had read it.
"Thanks for the article. I believe very strongly that coaches are incredibly influential in the lives of each and every player. We are not there to merely teach them how to pass and dribble, but more importantly, [know that] soccer can be a vehicle in which to teach life skills and characteristics that will enrich their lives and their future. Most players do not have the opportunity to play professional sports. It is therefore imperative that personality traits have been developed that will set them apart, and aid their growth as a teenager and then as an adult."
Here are a few samples from the Vision document.
Indeed how do we measure player development? Too often in America a professional sport model is used in measuring youth sports success. Youth soccer is not immune to this misapplied standard. For soccer the situation is made worse by a desire of many adults to use measuring tools from other sports. In fact, it is maddening to many adults that soccer is not as black and white as with some sports in judging successful play. Many team sports played in our nation are statistically driven and coach centered. Soccer is neither of those! Indeed, just like the Laws of the Game, our sport has many shades of grey within it.
The analogy can be made to a youngster's academic development in preparation for work in the adult business world. While the child is in primary and secondary school the corporate world measurements of success are not applied. Those business assessments are not yet appropriate because the school-aged student does not yet have the tools to compete in the adult business environment. The knowledge and skills to be a competitor in business are still being taught and learned. This holds true in soccer as well!
If you would like to receive a copy of the Vision document then just drop me a line and I'll be glad to send a copy to you.
Well now, it's off to the 2010 US Youth Soccer adidas Workshop
. This is an annual exchange of information for coaches, administrators and referees. And then of course, the stories we can all tell about our life in youth soccer. I hope to see you in Ft. Worth, Texas this week.