Just read a note that the NCAA indicates that only about 2% of HS student athletes will be award athletic scholarships to play their sport in college. That got me to thinking about a wide arrange of things.
We are ending our first full season, fall and spring, with the U12 team at our local soccer club at the select level. We made the jump at the end of last spring from the park n rec league thinking that this jump would help with the boys continued passion to want to play more soccer.
We play in the lowest level of the 3 teams at that age group for this club. Personally, I have nothing against youth sports, nor the the fees associated with playing at the youth level. You have to remember that I am also part of a machine at the swim level with a local swim club.
The positives of friendships, team unity, working through challenges, great memories, learning about who you are as a person, family road trips, etc. These are all great building blocks for future endeavors in life. They are some of the greatest building blocks for me along with things I learned in Boy Scouts.
The first is that the parents are out of control. Period.
At any given game for my U12 son, there are at minimum 5 parents on the sidelines who are coaching their children from the sideline. Minimum. Sometimes contradicting the coach that they pay to coach the team. And if you listen to them, their kid should be playing up three levels and should be possibly on the next World Cup team that will be playing in Russia in 2018.
Had the great experience of listening to Dr. Alan Goldberg speak. He would easily contend that although you as the parent may think it is your “right”, or think that you are helping your child, you are actually hurting and harming your child with this constant sideline coaching. Your child needs you to support them, not coach them. When a kid makes a play on the ball and his first reaction is to look at the parent for approval, there is something wrong with the environment.
The 2nd and the other glaring piece is that the fundamentals are being over looked and it plays into the piece above.
Just sticking to soccer for now. Winning the game and losing the game at U12’s during the regular season or playoffs is not the important piece. Having the proper footwork, knowing where to be on the field on a throw in, having a sense on when to make a crossing pass, knowing that you cannot lift your back foot on a throw in ((who would have thought I would know this much about soccer 🙂 just saying )), knowing to watch the back side on defense on a corner kick, knowing when you are off sides on a thru ball….these are the things that need to be worked on and focused on. Getting better at these will result in winning, but winning the game should not be the focus at the U12 level each and every week.
So what is the correct answer?
If I knew that I would reveal the answer in about 6 years after the youngest decided on his college education plans. Paying more for your Select Team environment is NOT the answer. Hard work will play a part. Dedication to your craft will play a part. Grades in High School will play a part. Being a Leader making others around you better will play a part.
We learned a great deal this past soccer season. And not all of it was from what happened on the field.