Monthly Archives: December 2013

What Starting a Blog and Coaching Youth Soccer Have in Common

Where do I begin?

Starting this blog is very much like coaching youth soccer.  Especially the younger ages.  And especially if you’re a volunteer coach…who hasn’t played a whole lot of soccer growing up.

There is so much that I’ve learned over these last few years and that I still have to learn.  Things I wish I knew when I started out.  It reminds me of an old Psych 101 professor I had who’d said “the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know.  So the more I learn the stupider I get.”

I’m getting more stupid every day.

It just feels like one post is not enough to get going. If it were me, I’d want to know more and pronto.  But if I sat down and tried to pre-write very article before I went live I’d never get this thing going.

This is just like coaching youth soccer at the U9 and below stages.  There’s sooooo much the kids have to learn.  They look down at the ball the whole time they dribble.  Pass with their toes.  Can’t receive the ball properly.  Don’t know how to tackle well, let alone know how to close down an attacker.  They run around the pitch in a big blob.  They even take the ball away from their own teammates!

And I could go on.

With only one practice a week (maybe two or maybe none at the youngest levels) what should the first practice be?  The second practice? There isn’t enough time to learn everything these kids need to learn.  OMG…the games are going to be a disaster!

Relax.  Breath.  Find your Happy Place.

Calmer?  Good.

The fact is it takes a long time to develop young soccer players.  Think of progress over the season. Accept the fact that the kids will only get better as they get more and more time with the ball at their feet.  Soccer players don’t peak until their mid-to-late 20’s and goal keepers around 30.  Soccer is a more complex game to learn than most other sports (perhaps all sports).

And these are kids, not mini-adults.  Their age will dictate what they are capable of learning and what should wait. So it’s going to take some time.

Take your trainings as they come and focus on being the best coach you can be for those sessions.  The rest will fall in place over time.

I’m going to take some of that same advice for this blog.  My hope is that there will be useful information for beginning youth soccer coaches that will help to not reinvent the wheel, put things in perspective and give a view from the trenches of what works and what doesn’t.  It will take time to get to critical mass but it never will if its not started.

Patience. Focus. Happy Place.


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