Our 2014-2015 soccer season has sadly come to an end, but what a year it was! Both of my boys teams played amazingly well and I am beyond proud of their effort & achievements. The league the boys play at, is a recreational non-competitive league. This idea is understood by the parents and is the mission of the volunteer coaches to educate everyone that the kids are playing for fun. Competitiveness is discourage, it is not about how many games the team wins or loses, it is all about sportsmanship and teamwork. Pushing kids at a young age to win every game may have a negative impact on their overall view of sports.
Organized sports has several benefits that will play an important role in your child development, regardless of which sport it is. Having said that, it is my opinion, recreational soccer is a rarity now a days. There are so many soccer leagues & clubs that have opted for an objective of winning every game without encouraging fair play. I visited competitive leagues this season to view their progression plans, develop skill and promote team play and in some occasions, what I witness is the opposite of my idea of skill development.
My take-away from the 2014-2015 soccer season? The number one lesson learned this past year is that I rather have my boys play in a non-competitive league. Both coaches and parents have to encourage the children to stay motivated throughout the season. The courses I have taken with the league we are members of, teach fair play, develop skill by maturity level and/or age specific. The manuals I have acquired for these courses, no where in the text you will find, you must win every game and teach skill at any cost.
The second lesson I learned from this past season is to actively listen to the kids. During one of practice sessions at our league, I yelled really loud at one kid that was kicking the ball with the outside of the foot instead of the instep, and demanded to use the instep only. The other kids including my son, stopped stone cold, every player froze, and did not move for about 10 seconds. After this I called a huddle, and apologized first, and explain to the kids this is what I learned at the competitive leagues. Yelling & punishment has a negative outcome & outlook on kids at a young age and drives them away for organized sports. Not to mention this may have a permanent negative impact on their self esteem & personality, and may grow up into unbalanced adults. As a coach, I do impose guidelines, but not where near the competitive leagues.
If you are thinking of registering your kids to any sport, may I suggest a recreational league, they will develop individually as well as acquire good sportsmanship & teamwork. I would love to hear about your experience.