I was recently discussing with my good friend Ty Stauffer, a soccer coach for over 20 years, training literally thousands of kids in both soccer and futsal about the biggest mistakes he believes parents make with their children regarding soccer development. As a parent and coach, he has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Most importantly he has seen the positive effects of being a supportive parent.
As we kick off the 2012 Spring Soccer Season I wanted to share his comments and remind everyone that the most important things kids learn from soccer last a lifetime- – individual development, teamwork, and being in top mental and physical condition.
Below are his comments:
“I believe the biggest mistake parents make is they expect too much too soon. I often tell parents the soccer journey is a marathon, not a sprint, especially regarding tournaments and awards,” said Stauffer. “If we push the kids too young at an early age, when it matters at 16, 17, 18 years old, they are too tired and bored to really excel,” added Stauffer.
Another mistake Stauffer mentioned relates to the decision to focus on one sport. To be the best in soccer as well as most other sports, training is now almost year round. At a young age the early developers or the best athletes seem to be able to “do it all,” but as they get older and skills and technique beat athleticism, this becomes very difficult.
“Many parents expect their child to be a straight A-student, a perfect piano player, star of the soccer team, high point scorer on the basketball team, and be the 4th batter on the baseball team” said Stauffer. Kids and parents don’t necessarily need to choose one sport, but expecting them to be the star in all may just be asking too much. Could you be the best in three professions?
Though parental support and opportunity matters, ultimately it is up to the kid. A perfect example is his son Luke, the youngest player ever selected to represent the United States on the National Futsal Team. “He did not make the recreational all-star team at U8. He was devastated,” said Stauffer. Ty told Luke he needed to focus on juggling and improving his skills, that ultimately that could be his ticket.
The next day, at age 7, he went from juggling 1 to over 25, and by age 11 he won the juggling contest at the MLS All-Star game having juggled 1400 times by the time they had ask him to stop. He also won the trick portion with an around the world, neck catch, pushup and chin chest summersault. You don’t need to know what that is to know you can’t do it!
Finally, Stauffer addressed burn out. “Often I hear parents talk about burn out. While I do agree that it exist, I believe bored out, worn out and too spread out cause more players to quit than burn out,” added Stauffer. “Luke loved juggling, it was impossible to burn him out,” said Stauffer.
If this is your first (or even second) season playing competitive soccer, be patient. Too much pushing on a kid to play may do more harm than good. It is helpful to start a fire by fanning the flames. But like when starting a fire, too much wind or air and you blow it out. Kids need to “warm up” to playing and by keeping it fun and not pushing too hard it gives them a chance to build a “fire.”
Regardless, what kids need from their parents remains constant. They need to be loved and supported when they fail as well as when they succeed.
Again, thanks for being a Legends customer and have a great season!
Do Activities, Stay Healthy!
John Moore, Legends-thenextlegend.com