I don’t train youth soccer players – that’s easy. I teach parents how to teach their children to someday train themselves.
This tool provides a self-guided blueprint for parent-trainers to help their child. It’s important to start with Phase 1 – regardless of your child’s current skill level or age.
The two biggest mistakes I see parent-trainers make are 1) Increasing the level of difficulty and length of sessions too quickly and 2) Giving too many verbal instructions during sessions.
As you embark on this journey, in addition to the above suggestions, heed the following tips:
There is nothing in the world more annoying to your child than the sound of your voice on a soccer pitch – period.
Limit verbal instructions to a bare minimum.
It’s a journey, not a sprint.
99.99% of the youth players I see play are nowhere near mastering basic ball skills. Yet when I consult with parents, they invariably start making short-minded special requests like, “Can you work on her speed because during last weeks game she seemed a little slow” or “Can you focus on passing with his head up because he missed a couple of open players” or “How do we improve my child’s shooting” or [my favorite] “Tryouts are in two weeks, how much can you cover before then…” etc, etc.
People, this is a multi-year (lifelong) process. Even if we practiced exclusively on only one skill each month that would equate to 60 skills over five years. My advice is to be extremely patient and follow the process of mastering the basics.
Be consistent and communicate the training days in advance.
You will not see results unless you are extremely consistent. Just make sure you communicate which days there will and which days there will not be training.
Don’t forget the numbering systems
There will be days when your child is sincerely tired. I took a page from the pain numbering scale used by pediatricians.
- 1. Means Dad I am ready to go.
- 2. Means Dad, I don’t feel like it – but I know I have to work hard to get better.
- 3. Means Not today, but some other time this week.
- 4. Means No. (No questions asked)
The number system gives my sons and me a common vernacular of communication free from any misinterpretation. It also empowers my [older] son to take ownership of his own training and body – not feeling pressured or guilty when he is truly tired. Finally, it lets me know that he is not just saying no out of pure instinct. Every parent in the world knows that if they always accepted no without question – every day would be spent eating ice cream and in front of the latest electronics.
Good luck, and check the Triangle Soccer Facebook Group for regular updates.