Wisdom from WSSL's Coach Administrator & Trainer
Welcome to West Side Soccer League. The WSSL extends you a special message of appreciation for volunteering to enrich the lives of our youngest players. In recent years the vision and mission of youth soccer has changed dramatically. After extensive study of successful programs around the world, national youth organizations are beginning to understand the practical applications of Goethe's statement, "Youth prefer to be stimulated, rather than instructed."
The Australian sports authority recently conducted a world-wide study to locate the best youth soccer programs. Tom Sermanni, who coaches their National Women's Soccer Team, summarized the results of their effort, stating that "the overwhelming evidence from successful soccer countries was that we should be doing less formal coaching with our young players and that they should be playing in small sided games to help develop their skills. We are now implementing this plan throughout the country."
English youth soccer programs are starting to abandon full-size competitive play for their youngest players, switching to small-sided play while removing standi ngs and trophies for first place finishers. Notice the themes in Everton's youth soccer program listed below, particularly fun, preparation, development, and problem solving:
- U6 and U8: The Age of Fun -- Fun soccer training and 3v3 games.
- U9, U10, U11: The Age of Preparation -- Players master the basic skills and techniques of the game
- U12 & U14: The Age of Development whilst carrying on technical and skill work the emphasis switches to problem solving.
This is a major change for English soccer. The players will immediately adapt, but it will take longer for their parents to adjust long-standing assumptions and expectations, as we've seen in our own league when we make changes to our program.
The movement toward a player-centered experience reinforces the AYSO vision, which is use the soccer experience to enrich a child's life, engage their enthusiasm, and stimulate their growth and potential. How we apply this in our role as a coach is what will be covered in our coaching clinics.
The AYSO U6 program calls for master coaches to run the first activity days and provide parent volunteers with a good model to start from. We are still a few years away from having enough master coaches to make this a reality, so I will be running a sample first week training session and game in the U6 practical coach clinic on Sept 6.
Have a fun season and thanks for your dedication. See you on the field.
WSSL Coach Trainer and Administrator