Let's try to define what "development' really is here inside BigSoccer

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by smontrose, May 1, 2019.

  1. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NW Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Alright, just gonna throw my thoughts out here..not proof reading or anything…

    So, looking at a few of the threads in this forum, I often see the word “development” used, but I think this might have different meaning to different people. In an effort to maybe create a common understanding of what “development” is, allow me to start things off.

    Both clubs we have been with actually post their development approach/plan on their site and I think typically, it’s either copied form UsSoccer site or from UsYouthsoccer. Generally speaking, it appears to be a blueprint based on age, with more foundational skills and characteristics for the young, and growing in complexity with age. Good stuff, straight forward and logical. The guides also include those areas which are a bit more nebulous like psychology, mentality, mindset, culture, “bringing out the game”, etc

    My observation is that our clubs and coaches think the job starts and stops with organizing and running a practice. Beyond that, it’s up to the athlete.I have not been in the soccer world very long but I have observed many coaches, maybe 15 or so,primarily within two clubs as I never miss a practice. I also observe coaches during games.

    I have coached other sports, including youth, from ages 8 to 18 and beyond, with multiple numbers of kids and families. Here is what I summize.

    As a coach, until you are working with athletes one on one, working on their physical strengths and weaknesses, understanding how to reach each athlete in order to maximize their potential ( call it the mental game) you aren’t coaching, Plain and simple. AT A MINIMUM, every coach should at least be making corrections to each player, in a positive way. Can’t say I even see much of this.

    Take a look here,( http://www.wenatcheesoccer.com/doclib/US_Youth_Soccer_Player_Development_Model.pdf), look at pages 47 and 110. It seems the most common blueprints for US soccer player development DO touch on these attributes, but our clubs and coaches are sorely lacking the ability or commitment to this.

    The ability of an adult to make huge contributions to the development of a young person in skill, ethic, positivity, and more is powerful because it’s all interconnected. The most influential person in my life, after my parents, was a great coach.

    So the bottom line here, in trying to create a more universal definition of “development” , we should consider putting aside the X’s and O’s of practice plans. and should include those efforts by coaches that reach the athlete one on one , to identify strengths and weaknesses, suggest ways the athlete can work out of practice, build self esteem, making corrections, team building exercises or philosophy, building tam leadership amongst team members...

    I’m sure we can think of more…

    Would you agree with my general principle here? If so, does your club/coach work in this way?

    I’d grade my coaches at D.

    Last thought. Give me the liberty of assuming my principles here are sound… How many US youth soccer players are we leaving behind, who don’t reach their true potential, because we don’t seem to have any sort of feedback loop in “development”, leaving us with this assembly line of soccer robots?



    Mic dropped
     
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  2. ppierce34

    ppierce34 Member

    Aug 29, 2016
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Well said. So development isn't yelling at a kid during practice "Lucy's lost the ball every time she's touched it today. Every time its a turnover."? Its actually pulling Lucy aside and showing what to do to keep the ball under pressure? Cus thats what our practices were like at our old club (which is why its our old club). Big ECNL club player development is #1 blah blah blah.
     
  3. illinisoccer

    illinisoccer Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    In a vacuum all clubs would try to follow the proper development model but coaches and parents egos get in the way. They want their team to win by any means necessary. The coach might even do everything right in training but then throw it out the window in the game because the parents want the kids to be “winners”. A lot of these clubs have many rivals clubs in their town so the pressure is put on to win even in the lowest level of the youngest age groups. Countless times a club and coach will claim they are all about development but then play the game to just win. They play a full time goalie with the best players at center defender and center forward, bypass the build out line by having the girl with the strongest leg smash the ball up field and play kick and run to limit risk. The teams ends up winning the D division and all the parents are happy because they can brag to their neighbors that their daughters team are the best. Then in 2 years those best players parents figure it out while the team struggles in the C division so they leave for a different sport or better club and the lower end players have quit because the kids don’t play and the team dissolves.
     
  4. Cantona's Eyebrow

    Dirty Leeds
    Togo
    Oct 8, 2018
    Firstly, at the younger ages take "winning" out of the equation and focus on playing. If games cannot be won or lost, due to scores not being recorded or scrapping league tables, then the only thing to focus on for coaches and players is true player development and fun. Introduce competitive football at 13 or 14, but at the younger ages there has to be a focus on player development above all else to ensure progression. Focusing on winning at the foundation stage is counter-productive to learning to play football.

    As for parents egos/opinions getting in the way, in my opinion, this is a non-issue. Once the parent has handed their child over to the coach, other than support and encouragement, the parent should have ZERO input into the training session. Their only input should be with their bank card. Leave the coaching to those qualified to deliver football coaching.
     
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  5. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Tryout season is the annual reminder that "development" is the most overused buzzword in youth soccer. Every club preaches it. Few will articulate what they mean by it, knowing only that they can't use the word enough when talking to the parents.
     
  6. TheKraken

    TheKraken Member

    United States
    Jun 21, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Our club comes right out and tells us that they do not truly teach kids how to win a soccer game until U16. U-little through U12 is mostly technical. U13-U15 is tactical. U16 and up is application of the concepts towards winning a game. I admit, it can be frustrating when my son's U11 team is up at halftime only for the coach to switch players around and the whole thing tanks really quick. They are up front about their methods though, so I don't have a problem with it. The older age groups have very good win/loss records, so it seems to work in the long run.
     
  7. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NW Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There's definitely a problem with many parents, no doubt. I don't think your oppositional approach to that works. I think high cost of youth sports is a big ingredient.
    Remember, this is youth sport... Youth!
    I coached different sports back when it was much less expenisive. We always set expectations as a club, withing groups. Dealing with parents was part of the job. I never had to be oppositional.
    Accountability...
    No offense but I think we have too many coaches in USA with foreign accents and old school mentality.
    Stay were you are.
     
  8. Cantona's Eyebrow

    Dirty Leeds
    Togo
    Oct 8, 2018
    #8 Cantona's Eyebrow, May 3, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2019
    No offence taken.

    By "oppositional" do you mean "confrontational"? If so, the coaches approach shouldn't be confrontational. However, the expected conduct from a parent should be made clear from the start. If a parent is affiliated with the club and has the necessary coaching qualifications then their input would be very welcome. However, if the parent is coaching their child to do things on the pitch then that will be addressed as it's usually contrary to what the coach is telling the player to do and detrimental to their child's progress.

    A parent's code of conduct should be made clear when they register their child with the club. If they don't like the "no coaching from the side" rule, then they are free to take their child elsewhere. If they are desperate to coach, then get qualified and work within a club. I've zero time or patience for interfering parents who try to instruct their children from the sideline, and then get angry when they confuse and hinder their kids performance. These chancers want to play at being Pep Guardiola, but ultimately are unwilling to take on board the real responsibility of shaping a team and developing footballers / young people.
     
  9. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is all good advice and I would agree to it, but the problem here isn't so much toxic sideline behavior--which happens, don't get me wrong--but the politics of club soccer. It's more subtle and structural. Like so many other aspects of American society--see the college admissions scandal that's making a lot of news because a couple of famous actresses were involved--Americans of the upper middle class and up have a very transactional approach to these things. They are customers of the clubs, and sadly many clubs act accordingly.
     
  10. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012
    It's unfortunate that many clubs are unable to tell the parents what they are buying. I think if you can show the parents how your development plan plays out -
    "inhouse we don't keep scores, we keep the teams balanced, we offer travel at u9/10, here are our results at that age over the past 5 years and yes, we lose more than we win at those ages. however, here are our u15-19 teams. Notice, we have an A team at every age group and some 2 year mixed age teams also. Refer back to the u10 results. Notice many of those clubs no longer have any teams from u15-u19 or have one that covers 3 years and is playing in a lower division. It's very easy to win when you put a bunch of athletes out at u10, and we value athletic kids. But we also value producing soccer players, so we dont lose as many to football/basketball/volleyball/hockey/baseball as those other clubs. "

    Whatever metrics show what yo value.

    But most clubs don't take the time to do that, maybe they don't know what they value, and so, the only metric the parents h ave is "well, if they're winning, they must be doing well. If they're losing, they must not be doing well."
     
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  11. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    I'm probably reading too much into your last sentence but I think you're letting the clubs off the hook too easily. They're not unwitting victims of the parents and their checkbooks. They've had a big role in setting up an expensive system where you're required to have a license to coach (yup, a license to teach a game to kids) and the perceived "need" for professional coaching from an early age. Unless the system changes, and I don't see how that will happen anytime soon, a transactional approach is completely rational even if it is distasteful.
     
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  12. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It might be my wording, but I'm anything BUT letting the clubs off the hook. They very much cater to that attitude and even foster it.

    My experience with club soccer was largely not good. It's a business and what they're selling is neither a positive experience for children and families, nor an effective mechanism for player development. If I knew then what I know now, our approach would have been very different.
     
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  13. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Gotcha. I'm probably also reading it in the context of us wrapping up tryouts and the message delivered by the club to two of my son's friends (9 years old) which runs counter to what they've preached up until now.
     
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  14. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Been there.

    I've said this before--far too many "successful" youth coaches are really just recruiters with clipboards. It's easy to build a winning team when you're ruthless about cutting kids who can't help you win right now, and bring in kids who are a little bigger or a few months older than the kids they replace.
     
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  15. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    No coaching from the sidelines, that's fine. But nothing wrong with training or playing with the kids on our own time where some instruction is likely offerred. Or even wanting a word with the coach if I notice something isnt quite right.
     
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  16. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NW Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thx Cantona. good points by many here. In an effort to bring this thread slightly back to what is development, thought I'd share a little something from last week.
    My kid stayed after practice to ask coach a few things. Coaches emphasize they want players to come to coaches, not the parents.
    As a forward, his concern is how the team can be more effective getting ball to forwards and create more scoring chances. up to now mids crowding the forwards and they have more shots than forwards. which could be legit except many of these shots have been bad, nowhere near on target by players that dont have the strongest legs. He also had question about why isnt there a rule or desigantion about who takes free kicks and pk's.
    At some point in conversation, coach turned it around and pointed out that my player has a habit of dribbling into pressure.
    to my knowledge, coach has never mentioned this before, never made the correction with my player, used it to deflect away from legit concerns player has.
    Takeaway for my son was why bother talking to coach...
     
  17. ppierce34

    ppierce34 Member

    Aug 29, 2016
    Fort Wayne, IN

    Its amazing ain't it? What are we paying these coaches to do?
     
  18. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Actually, not a situation where they brought in kids from the outside to win more games. For the first 3 years, they had a good niche between the town travel teams and the really big clubs. Their pitch was good training and the flexibility to do other things. It worked. They grew very fast. Now it seems they want to evolve into something more like the big clubs and told some kids after tryouts that they want them to drop some of their other sports and focus more on soccer. They didn't deliver this message to my son. They know he also plays football in the Fall and baseball in the Spring, but I'm curious to see their reaction when the inevitable scheduling conflicts pop up. They're free to evolve however they want, but they did not communicate this shift at the parents' meetings they held for each team over the winter.
     
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  19. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    Development too me happens from u6-u12 specifically. The development approach should entail the notion that clubs and coaches accept that players will develop at different points in time. Boys will develop sooner then girls but within those genders could be significant differences as well. Therefore training time should be equal. Best players should not be seperated from the worst players and age groups specific training should be maintained.

    You have the natural athletes who are typically ahead of the curve. You can have other kids who come from broken homes with no siblings but they love the game. They may not have that scrapper mentality early on and may lack confidence. But a good coach gets to know how to get the best out of that player. To not do that is not development and is really no different then any comm club.

    I remember a coach from our former club who blasted a player for wearing game shorts and a non club jersey to practice. I wonder if that asshat knew that the kid he was jamming has two parents who just went through a divorce and that half her gear was at her dads and the other at her moms... This was at u10! As if the kid was not going through enough already!

    At u13 and up - a style needs to be defined by the club and that's where it all comes together. Players by then should know how a linear game works and those positions on the field as well. Now is the time to understand a style and bring it all together.

    Since ALL players trained with one another - got the same training hours and same drills, you will now have a better idea on who falls where. Like a good employee and employer relationship, both players and parents should likely know where their player will end up before teams are created. Those who excel - at this point, can be offered additional training and game opportunities. But that should be outlined in the programming and parents should have access to that - it should be clear.

    But that also requires good communication with parents. This is where the big clubs often fail - poorly at that.
     
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  20. Iniesta62106

    Iniesta62106 Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    This could be its own thread. It probably is . I don’t understand why this is so hard for clubs. Find someone, anyone. . . It doesn’t have to be a coach. . . even an administrator or a passionate parent, to develop a communication plan. You could recycle 90% of it every year!

    What are the team goals? Age group goals? What are our strategies to get there? Where are we going to struggle? What does success look like?

    What are our philosophies about training opportunities? Positions? Playing time? How are special players dealt with? Etc, etc.

    I honestly think clubs would save SO much time and consternation if they would be thoughtful communicators. Seriously can’t understand why they wouldn’t, other than not wanting to be held accountable against something or not really having the answers to begin with.

    Sorry to digress.
     
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  21. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NW Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Iniesta62106, Same thoughts go through my head 50 times a week...
    I think that when DOC is also the president and their is no communication, what coach says rules. And if you dont like it...
    So drink the kool aid or grease yourself up!

    cmon thats funny
     
  22. ppierce34

    ppierce34 Member

    Aug 29, 2016
    Fort Wayne, IN
    The arrogance in most of these top clubs is insufferable. They're motto is basically "if you dont like it leave". Only business model i know of who can get away with charging over $2000 a year and dont give a rats behind about their client base. The emails we parents would get form the folks in charge were comical in their condescending tone.
     
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  23. EverRespect

    EverRespect New Member

    Apr 11, 2015
    Club:
    --other--
    The whole "Academy" thing is a scam. We pay $300 per year for our all-volunteer club... our coach played at the power 5 college level and volunteers because his kid is on the team and he coaches 14 kids and runs circles around the high price, high volume clubs that have 1-2 paid coaches (mostly otherwise losers that can't make a real career) running drills for 50 kids "Academy style" that are all paying $3,000 per year. Those kids don't pass, have no concept of team building, and crack under the slightest hint of pressure. Love beating the snot out of them.
     
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  24. EverRespect

    EverRespect New Member

    Apr 11, 2015
    Club:
    --other--
    So your sales pitch is, "We aren't looking for competitors or kids that can take it to the next level to win, everyone gets a trophy here. Pay $thousands to come here and when your child is 14 s/he might be able to play with the better kids that are in less expensive clubs now but will be here in 4 years." Good thing most clubs don't do that. Terrible value preposition.
     
  25. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NW Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    they do/can pass, but 100 percent agree on the other two! Post of the week!
     

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