I've been arguing for many years about the need for development over winning at the younger youth ages and continue to watch those words go to waste because of a lack of understanding in the general population of the game in the USA plus the egos of coaches and clubs putting their own needs ahead of what's best for the players. This article is the best I've seen on this topic and CHRISTIAN articulates it much better than I can. Please have a read of this unfortunately some clubs who belong to his organization do not support what he preaches it's a travesty in the game that this is so. But let's keep spreading the word and NEVER sabotage the game for the sake of the win.
The following is an excerpt from an article by Christian Lavers on GoalNation.com. Read the full article here
Christian Lavers is the President of the ECNL and is Exec VP of US Club Soccer. Lavers is also an Assistant Coach with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Chicago Red Stars and the Director of Coaching at FC Wisconsin Eclipse. His 16 years of coaching experience includes time with the U.S. Youth National Teams program.
Outspoken as always, here is a controversial indictment on what is happening in youth soccer today – as a bold act to protect today’s youth soccer players who deserve better player development from coaches.
“TRUTH IS DANGEROUS. IT TOPPLES PALACES AND KILLS KINGS. IT STIRS GENTLE MEN TO RAGE … WAKES OLD GRIEVANCES AND OPENS FORGOTTEN WOUNDS. AND YET THERE IS ONE THING THAT IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN TRUTH. THOSE WHO WOULD SILENCE TRUTH’S VOICE ARE MORE DESTRUCTIVE BY FAR.” — FRANCES HARDINGE
The prevalence and distribution of these articles, courses, videos and presentations, has done much good – no coach in their right mind any longer questions that teaching technique at young ages is important, that passing is a skill while “kicking” is not, and that results should not be emphasized at young ages. These are truths that are easy to tell – they are culturally accepted and are so vague and general as to be impossible to argue against.
Impactful truth, in contrast, is often not easy to tell and not easy to hear. It challenges people, scares people, and sometimes offends people. It forces re-assessment and re-thinking, it stimulates change, it challenges the status quo. Here is one such truth in youth soccer:
Many coaches, and much of the coaching that occurs in many of the youth soccer clubs in this country, is done in total opposition to the accepted truths of player development.
This is a harsh statement to make, and for parents and coaches in youth soccer, it can be even harder to hear. Still, the fact remains that many coaches, at the most important youth age groups, don’t actually teach soccer technique or tactics, and don’t progressively challenge players with new concepts and new technical challenges as they grow. Even fewer understand how to teach a young player to apply technique, and how to look at the game and actually SEE THE GAME – where to pass, how to find space, where and why to run, and why to make this choice or that.