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Author Topic: Overcoaching in Youth Soccer (U10 - U13)  (Read 852 times)

blacksheep

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Overcoaching in Youth Soccer (U10 - U13)
« on: April 07, 2017, 09:12:28 AM »

I want to make clear I am not 'attacking' any coach or state of soccer in the state or country.  I am philosophically inclined and am interested in taking my observations and getting second opinions.  My last thread was about 'everything is about winning.'  The conversation got distracted by my own contempt for British soccer but I basically concluded that parents put too much emphasis on winning.  My new post is about overcoaching and developed from a recent drubbing that my son's team took in a game. 

My son's team was horrible and the other team was clearly better.  While the game was going on I was doing my usual gesticulating albeit without my son noticing anything.  As I was driving home though I thought to myself, the other team was clearly better coached, the players passed the ball better, were positioned better.  But still, I like my son's coach because he never tells my son what to do or limits his creativity. 

Now in the game everyone on his team looked bad, my son was no exception.  There was to be passing in the game and he was the only one making accurate passes in the onslaught and successfully dribbling and moving into space etc.  So once the game was over he came smiling off the post-game discussion his face beaming happily saying, "the coach said I was the only one playing correctly."  That was good enough for him.

Now when the game was going on I was telling my wife "our son looked bad out there."  But clearly I was expecting him to single-handedly lead the team to victory like Zidane or Messi.  He's not Zidane or Messi.  He's not even Dempsey or even Brad Marsh.  The team had a total collapse but he had a few bright moments or at least didn't look 'apocalyptically' bad. 

So then as I was driving home I started thinking - would he have been better off playing on the other team?  No.  I concluded and here is my reasoning summed up by this other parent in DC:

http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/513887.page

I've heard the same complaint from one of my friends who's son is on arguably the best team in the state for his age group and likely even the entire West Coast.  I am not sure that what I saw as 'better coaching' during the game I just mentioned is better for the kids in the long run.  My own life experience has been that suffering and failing made me a better person than success ever did. 

'Failure' is not getting the results you wanted from creativity.  But 'success' in life (and not just soccer) is usually attributable to being 'realistic' - that is not dreaming about your career and picking a field where you can maximize $$$.  But would success as a footballer be measured simply by getting into a division 2 college?  Maybe for some people.  But I can also see burn out constantly being forced to play within a system by a mean coach.  What fun is that? 

My take away from the game was - we will continue to put my son in private school get the best education and hopefully a good career from what follows (we're Canadian so we don't have the moronic pressure that this stupid country has with higher education).  Soccer is and always for me and my son a chance to dream and mix creativity and playing within a system.  Why should I encourage my son to give up his dreams for 'realism' at this age? 

Funny there was a day last summer where I took my son and his friend and his brother and his dad to the park and it started out as a quasi 'training session.'  Then these three guys - Latinos so my son already thought there was something 'magical' about the experience because of his love for all things Spanish - put up two pop up pugs and started kicking around the ball.  Before we knew it the whole park was playing in their game and my son was the best player on the field interacting with the adults moving and passing the ball and I thought this is why we love soccer.  To be part of the soccer culture, the love of a round ball and creativity.  Reminded me in my own youth hanging around Rio de Janeiro on the beach playing soccer or one summer in the Greek islands.  I don't want him to lose that at any cost.  That would be the greatest tragedy. 

Thoughts? 
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blacksheep

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Re: Overcoaching in Youth Soccer (U10 - U13)
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 09:23:01 AM »

I want to make clear I am not 'attacking' any coach or state of soccer in the state or country.  I am philosophically inclined and am interested in taking my observations and getting second opinions.  My last thread was about 'everything is about winning.'  The conversation got distracted by my own contempt for British soccer but I basically concluded that parents put too much emphasis on winning.  My new post is about overcoaching and developed from a recent drubbing that my son's team took in a game. 

My son's team was horrible and the other team was clearly better.  While the game was going on I was doing my usual gesticulating albeit without my son noticing anything.  As I was driving home though I thought to myself, the other team was clearly better coached, the players passed the ball better, were positioned better.  But still, I like my son's coach because he never tells my son what to do or limits his creativity. 

Now in the game everyone on his team looked bad, my son was no exception.  There was to be passing in the game and he was the only one making accurate passes in the onslaught and successfully dribbling and moving into space etc.  So once the game was over he came smiling off the post-game discussion his face beaming happily saying, "the coach said I was the only one playing correctly."  That was good enough for him.

Now when the game was going on I was telling my wife "our son looked bad out there."  But clearly I was expecting him to single-handedly lead the team to victory like Zidane or Messi.  He's not Zidane or Messi.  He's not even Dempsey or even Brad Marsh.  The team had a total collapse but he had a few bright moments or at least didn't look 'apocalyptically' bad. 

So then as I was driving home I started thinking - would he have been better off playing on the other team?  No.  I concluded and here is my reasoning summed up by this other parent in DC:

http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/513887.page

I've heard the same complaint from one of my friends who's son is on arguably the best team in the state for his age group and likely even the entire West Coast.  I am not sure that what I saw as 'better coaching' during the game I just mentioned is better for the kids in the long run.  My own life experience has been that suffering and failing made me a better person than success ever did. 

'Failure' is not getting the results you wanted from creativity.  But 'success' in life (and not just soccer) is usually attributable to being 'realistic' - that is not dreaming about your career and picking a field where you can maximize $$$.  But would success as a footballer be measured simply by getting into a division 2 college?  Maybe for some people.  But I can also see burn out constantly being forced to play within a system by a mean coach.  What fun is that? 

My take away from the game was - we will continue to put my son in private school get the best education and hopefully a good career from what follows (we're Canadian so we don't have the moronic pressure that this stupid country has with higher education).  Soccer is and always for me and my son a chance to dream and mix creativity and playing within a system.  Why should I encourage my son to give up his dreams for 'realism' at this age? 

Funny there was a day last summer where I took my son and his friend and his brother and his dad to the park and it started out as a quasi 'training session.'  Then these three guys - Latinos so my son already thought there was something 'magical' about the experience because of his love for all things Spanish - put up two pop up pugs and started kicking around the ball.  Before we knew it the whole park was playing in their game and my son was the best kid on the field interacting with the adults moving and passing the ball and I thought this is why we love soccer.  To be part of the soccer culture, the love of a round ball and creativity.  Reminded me in my own youth hanging around Rio de Janeiro on the beach playing soccer or one summer in the Greek islands.  I don't want him to lose that at any cost.  That would be the greatest tragedy. 

Thoughts?
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ForTheKids

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Re: Overcoaching in Youth Soccer (U10 - U13)
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 10:24:46 AM »

In the end, the only thing a parent really can do is help his DK protect his/her love of the game.  The reality of soccer is that everyone ... EVERYONE ... in the end gets cut from the game.  When that happens includes alot of factors. But one thing that can never be cut is the DK's love of the game.  That can only be destroyed by decisions made by the player or more often by transference (either by a coach or parent typically).

You should always be in your DK's corner to ensure she/he continues to love, sometimes by your action and sometimes by your NON-action.

If you and he can watch a pro game in 20 years, banter about what's going on and enjoy it then you probably were successful in your role.


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