The Pursuit of Excellence

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by Cantona's Eyebrow, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    #26 NewDadaCoach, Oct 7, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
    Oh, I didn't know he was still in club or DA. It seems many kids chose either HS or club/academy.
    It seems the path I envision for my kid is not that different that your kid's path. Select at 7. That sounds about right.
    My plan is to let him try a few more sports for a season or two, then he will have to pick one or two and dedicate more focus to them. Right now I want him to continue developing his overall physicality - his balance, coordination, etc by just playing various sports or whatever (climbing, riding bike, etc). He has a build like Messi and plays like him so I will try to mold him like that, encouraging much aggressive dribbling and getting very comfortable with how the ball and foot interplay and getting precise with shooting. I think that is more important than learning all these "tricks" which are cool too, but at the end of the day it is ability to beat 1v1 via very quick change of pace and direction, and hit accurate shots that will maximize goal scoring; that is what Messi does, he doesn't really do anything super fancy usually.
    I am just thinking ahead a little. He is 5 but will be 6 next year and then will he be on a U8 team with 7 year olds? If so, then in order to shine he will need to already be acclimated to playing with that type of pressure, so now my job is to mimic a 7 year old when I play w/ my kid so that he starts getting used to it and learns how to face them with confidence. I just want him to be the best that he can be and shine at each age group, it seems the top kids get all the attention and it's becomes like a snow ball; the more attention they get the better they become; kinda like the study by Malcom Gladwell in Outliers where he looked at birth months of pro hockey players; the kids born in early months were more likely to make it pro because they started with an age advantage, one advantage leads to another and the cumulative advantages are material enough to affect one's chances of going pro.
    Looking ahead to college I think my kid (any kid) is more likely to go to a good school if they are recruited for sports vs just for academics. In CA even 4.0 students get rejected from the top schools, so to stand out they need to excel in a sport or some other skill (music, etc).
     
  2. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Around here, once you get to U15, club stops in the fall because so many kids play HS. We'll start club practice the beginning of November, have a couple league games and a tournament or two through the end of the year. Then January and part of February "off" (but will possibly find an indoor league) and will start back up again fully in March.

    DA is totally different. If you commit to a DA, that's 10 months a year with no outside organized soccer (no school, no club). That's only available in certain places of the country however.
    I just hope you realize there's a LOT of time between a five year old and someone looking at college. Lots of things can change, and I hope after putting in all this time and commitment you don't get upset if/when he decides he doesn't want to play any more.

    As I said, DS has been playing for 12-13 years. EVERY year kids drop out. And I'm talking some very skilled kids. Our club team, which has won state the last two years, took second in our group at regionals, and just made NL had three kids drop soccer. One was tired of the travel, one wanted to focus on ministry, one wanted more of a social life. Enjoy the ride while it lasts.

    Maybe that's easy for me because we're not exactly a hotbed of soccer. But I've read your last couple of posts and it seems if your 5yo isn't "the best", that means he just needs to train harder. While true, who's driving that? You, or him?
     
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  3. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    #28 NewDadaCoach, Oct 8, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
    I see thanks. The soccer landscape/timing/costs is something I am learning about; I find it confusing.

    I don't want to force him if he's really not into it. But he is quite active and athletic so I think he'll want to play something. I'd want him to chose at lease one extra curricular in high school (doesn't have to be soccer) and get great grades. But so far he does show a knack for soccer.

    I see the term DS a lot - may I ask what that means? I'm assuming "dad's son" or something?
    Since club is expensive, I'm not going to make the investment into soccer if he's not into it. I think it would be a bad use of resources. Also, his mom (we're not together) seems to be ambivalent about soccer. I think without both parents behind it, it will be more difficult, so that is working against me somewhat. Look at Olivia Moultrie - both parents are very supportive (both were çollege athletes) and they built a turf field in their backyard with a full sized goal. And got her a personal trainer. I mean, if parents are doing that, how does one compete? I know that's rare, but there does seem to be a trend towards basically outspending the next kid with fancy equipment and camps and such. We aren't poor but I wouldn't make that kind of investment without the kid being committed. My approach is more of a moneyball approach - I am analyzing every aspect of the game to know exactly which specific training (assuming training is a finite resource) leads to the best results, which depends somewhat on the type of kid. I think one should understand the physiology of the foot and the physics of the foot striking the ball. And understand it precisely so that they can replicate ball strikes/have perfect control. The foot is like a golf club, and a pro golfer knows the material, the exact angle of the club and how it strikes and that separates amateurs from pros.
    Who's driving it? Well, as my kid was growing since a baby I just started with simple things, kicking a ball, like most dads. Then 1v1, and keeping score, he's very competitive, so we'd play to 10 and that would really get him focused on knowing where the goal is and dribbling. And "knock over the cup" - trying to knock over a cup with the ball, keeping score, I guess we probably started playing that around 2 or 3. And he took some soccer classes that were mostly dribbling.
    And we also did a lot of "chase" type playing to work on his agility. So I guess it was alot of just normal kid/dad play, but yes it was a form of training that primed him well for U6. But he'll have to learn new skills to excel at U8; namely he'll have to get better at feints to win 1 on 1 and kicking from various ranges and angles. They don't use a goalie in U8, but there will be a defender or two that he'll have to contend with. I'm watching a lot of U8 play on Youtube to craft training plans so he knows what to expect. Is that extreme? idk, I know I'm analyzing this all more than the other soccer dad's that I'm friends with, but again, soccer is so competitive these days, what choice do I have. If he is to make a U12 DA then he has to be the best at U10 and to be on the best U10 team he has to shine at U8, etc.
    I play a lot of pickup soccer and there are players of every skill level. One kid plays on a DA, and I'm pretty sure my kid can get to his level. A lot of Mexicans play too and they are very skilled; I'm thinking of hiring one do a little personal coaching for my kid. Is that a good idea? I really like the way the Mexicans play. (Sorry for the ramble.)
     
  4. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    I agree with you with one extra curricular. For us, that doesn't have to be athletics though. It can be drama, it could be band, it could be academic team.

    I use the term on other message boards.
    DS = "darling/dear son"
    DD = "darling/dear daughter"
    DW = "darling/dear wife"

    Why do you need to compete against other parents? It's not a race.

    To me, and I admit I'm an outsider and don't know you or your child, it sounds like you're taking a fun activity and turning it into a science. "Well, Bobby, your foot was 10 degrees off the correct angle, and your used 15% too much power. Let's go out and practice this for 30 minutes so you know what to do correctly." Again, the child is FIVE. When does he get to have fun?
    You have plenty of choice. You're trying to plan for something that's six years away. And what if he doesn't make a U12 DA? Then his career is shot?
    What is the end goal on all this? Are you trying to get your five year old to the MLS? Premier League? As the parent of another child who stood out at the young ages (and still does to a certain extent), I'll readily admit we had hopes of him playing in college if he wanted, possibly getting a scholarship. His hope continues to be to play professionally. But we also know if he doesn't make it, he has learned a lot of soccer and really enjoys playing. Our goal was for him to be active, to be a member of a team, and to enjoy what he does. Private lessons at five or six? Learning the physiology of the foot? I wish you luck, I really do. I just hope if his desires change (possibly away from sport) you don't look at all of this time as a "waste".

    Sure go kick around with him. Find a friend who is interested and let them kick. It should be about pure fun at this age.
     
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  5. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Sorry, yeah, I know…wasn’t laughing at you, more laughing with Sam_G…who is posting some great info;I won’t repeat most it…but I will post my DS (a Junior) soccer calendar…

    Starting in June (or as soon as School officially breaks for summer), he start practicing 3-4 days a week with HS team; season runs from Sept to Oct (early Nov if lucky). Nov is tryout season for club; my son does 2 clubs, a local and a regional. They practice off and on all winter, picks up once they able to get outside in the spring; tournaments run from Nov to May; league games in Spring; Presidents Cup and US Club Midwest Regionals thrown in of good measure. Nov to Fed he also does indoor, two session, two team per session: a HS based team and a club based one. Club ball run through May, if not June. Rinse and repeat. Been doing this, or very similar, for at least last 5 years…

    Not sure this is normal/common or even sane….lol.

    PS: all this, and right now, no real plans to play in college….
     
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  6. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    I love your enthusiasm but I think you need to pump the brakes a bit. You're not going to be able to chart his path from 5 to college for many of the reasons cited by the experienced parents who've offered advice on this thread. I'm a little further ahead (my son is 11U) and I've already seen many of the things they've discussed. Interest ebbs and flows. Coaches come and go. Kids develop at different paces. Teams are in constant flux. For example, if you compare the rosters for my son's 8U team 3 years ago and his 11U team this year, he's the only one on both. This includes some kids who were very good soccer players and left the team/dropped the sport for a variety of reasons. Some of this stuff is under your control, most of it is not.

    The best thing you can do right now is keep it fun and start researching the clubs in the area so you can make an informed decision when it's the right time. Get a sense of cost, commitment, travel, etc to determine the right fit, understanding that may change over time. Don't fret about other parents spending money on training 12 months a year for their young kid. That's just as likely to backfire as it is to create a star in the teenage years. Every club and coach will tell you they put development ahead of winning. Find out which ones are being honest about that. And remember it's just a game
     
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  7. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    @DadaCoach, setting expectations for a sport can be a relationship killer.
     
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  8. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    You are probably right on pumping the brakes. And thanks for insight into your kid's path.
    I am starting to research the clubs as you suggest. I think we'll try a mini spring session at Sac United for U6/U8 (non-competitive at that group, but this club gets competitive at U10 I think).
    You, and the others here, are right about potential backfiring. If you push a kid hard, the kid can respond positively or negatively (backfire).
     
  9. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Wow, that is a lot of logistics! My head is spinning just from reading it. And does he play any other sports?
     
  10. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    The science part is cool to me, but maybe I'm in the minority on this. I'm a naturally analytical person, so I figure I should use that to my advantage.
    I think, when I was a kid I would have appreciated someone showing me the science. Or at least the results of the science (hit the ball in this exact spot to get this trajectory and on this exact part of the foot); no one ever taught me that, I'm having to figure this all out now, dissecting things so I can improve/troubleshoot my own shots. For ex, it always drove me nuts that I couldn't ping a ball more than 35 yards. So I had to really dissect why that was. It's just physics at the end of the day, it should not be a mystery.

    So yes, I think MLS or above would be the only option. At USL level there isn't enough money to make it a good career. If he couldn't make it to MLS or above then I'd want him to focus on becoming an engineer or something, and just play soccer for fun.
    I hope your kid reaches his goals. I hope to hear about his path as it unfolds.
    I don't think it will all be a waste; I'm partly analyzing soccer because I recently started back up playing myself. And I'm wanting to improve on and fix all things I'm bad at. But I think knowing the foot well is like a golfer knowing his clubs, so I don't see why that would be a waste. For ex, it seems most power comes from the big metatarsal bone. I find the foot to be an awkward thing to manage a ball, but the more I can understand it the more it all makes sense.
     
  11. Cantona's Eyebrow

    Dirty Leeds
    Togo
    Oct 8, 2018
    My advise, keep being a dad and a coach separate. It's pretty much impossible to remain impartial. I've seen it countless times and it never works out for parent or child.

    You can get away with it at the very youngest ages, but from there let someone else take the reigns. If you like to coach, brilliant, maybe you can coach at a different age group at the same club to help with logistics.

    As for timing your child when they run, what's the problem? As long as your youngster enjoys it let him do it. I wouldn't concern yourself with being his personal coach though, just be his dad and take him out to kick a ball around. He'll still be learning and having fun with you.
     
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  12. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Yeah, seeing it in black and white it seems worse than it actually feels in practice. Maybe we have just gotten use to it. Luckily, the costs involved are within our means; owing mostly to the fact we live in a smaller non-DA market; club dues and whatnot, are far more reasonable then what you typically find in larger markets, like Chicago or St; Louis (we’re from central IL) and as a family, we have embraced and enjoy the travel aspect…

    No, he strictly plays soccer and has since around 9. (16 now) He did try other sports when younger, football (hated it), basketball (it was ok), and baseball (utterly lost)…I wish he would stayed longer with some other sport, preferably basketball, but he just wanted to play soccer…
     
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  13. Iniesta62106

    Iniesta62106 New Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    There is a lot to navigate in the years ahead, but one critical component is going to be a love of the game/love of the ball. I am a little nervous for you guys. That’s a lot of strategizing for a goal that is yours, not necessarily his. I mean, he can have an amazing youth soccer experience and gain 99.9% of what can be gained from sports and never set foot on a DA team.

    I would say the best time we’ve invested in soccer development has been family soccer tennis, sibling dribbling relay races around the house, all-ages “lazy” pickup soccer at the park. Those are the experiences that have both created memories and a joy/love for the game that allows my kids to suffer BS with their club teams and not want to quit. I’m not saying training is a total waste - I think every player on DD’s team does private training including DD. But the Olivia Moultrie strategy works in large part because her parents have abused their role (I’m guessing not intentionally, but frogs-in-a-pot style.)

    I think the amount of thought/planning you are doing says a lot about how much you love your kid. Whatever you do, make sure there are lots of pictures and trips for ice cream along the way.
     
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  14. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I appreciate the advice.
    I wanted to time him because.... well I see speed as an asset in soccer. I guess initially I wanted to get a read on his speed, and see how it stacks up to his age group. I think if my kid is to have a shot at being the best I will have to tailor some training for him. Soccer is so competitive.
    I see how the fast the kids have a big advantage. I was analyzing why some kids score all the goals and some can't score any. Speed is a big factor. I actually timed all the kids on our team at the 35 yard dash (the length of our field); Forget dribbling for a sec, running comes first I realized. The slow kids must learn how to run, and I do believe that is teachable to a degree. So I will give an award to the kid who shows the most improvement in sprinting.
    I think the "skills" of a kid can be quantified and put on a distribution chart. To go on to high level soccer one must be in the what, top 5-10%? I guess I see it as transparency into the information, which will help with decision making. Do they not time kids at sprints and other things in club soccer? I assumed they did.
     
  15. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Just remember, puberty can change a lot…being big, fast, or strong pre-puberty, can be a nice early advantage, but it doesn’t necessary carry though post-puberty…in most cases, because everyone else simply catches up…I’ve seen many big, fast, or strong u-littles tear up the youth fields, only to be merely average once puberty rolls around (not that being average is a bad thing)…too much early focus/reliance on being big, fast, or strong isn’t always so great in the long run…dribbling and foot skills will always come first…it’s not necessarily how fast you can run in a straight line; it’s how fast and quick you can move with the ball under your feet….
     
  16. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    #41 NewDadaCoach, Oct 9, 2019 at 4:07 PM
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019 at 4:17 PM
    Thanks and I take your notes to heart. It will be interesting to see how he evolves. I promise I won't pressure him too much, just a little. He has scored 35 goals in the first 5 games, so it is quite peculiar to me. He is 5; we scrimmaged U8 girls twice and he scored 3 goals on them. (I'm not bragging, I am surprised myself)
    I admit I have watched and read about other kids who are very advanced, read about players like Pulisic and their background (dad played pro), I see video clips of Ronaldo's kid doing fancy stuff... and yeah, there's a fear there that there's no way to compete with that, so I feel I have to find some angle to give my kid a chance of being the best as I know he is already at a disadvantage simply due to the setting he was born into (it's a fine setting, just not a soccer-centric setting).
    I have already dialed it back on sprinting as I don't think he needs to be the fastest. He's 3rd fastest on his team but the top scorer because he's the most confident and a good dribbler.
     
  17. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    The bold jumps out at me...
    1) Why is there a "fear" that your child can't compete w/Ronaldo's kid?
    2) Worrying about a five year old being "the best" and trying to get some "angle" seems outlandish to me.

    Scoring at the younger ages, while speed does help, so does just a little bit of knowledge. It didn't take my son long to realize that kids that age play "bunch ball" (every child from both teams within ~2 yards of the ball). All he had to do was stay out of the bunch, get the ball when it invariably got out, and dribble to the goal.

    I have no problem with timing sprints. Maybe once a month? Once a year? Once a season?

    I do think you need to step back and enjoy watching him do something he likes to do. Don't worry about professional, college, school, or DA. Just enjoy!
     
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  18. TheKraken

    TheKraken Member

    United States
    Jun 21, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #43 TheKraken, Oct 9, 2019 at 4:50 PM
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019 at 4:58 PM
    Speed is definitely an asset, but not without some skill. The fast kids with low/no skill are usually weeded out by U12 if not sooner at club level. You'll still see some fast kids with low skill in scholastic soccer, but that is a different game which usually doesn't resemble anything close to the way the game should be played.

    Also, the scoring at younger ages means nothing. I can't tell you how many kids I saw my son play against at U5/6/7 who were good at that age, but gone now. Kids I even thought had a chance, butslowly just faded away for whatever reason. Even kids whose parents were hard core into soccer and wanted them to be the next Pulisic.
     
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  19. Almost done

    Almost done New Member

    Juventus
    United States
    Oct 4, 2019
    I am new to this forum(first post last week) and have enjoyed all of the input. Some very informative, some funny and some just outlandish. With regards to NewDadacoach- I agree with Sam, just relax and enjoy watching your son play the game he loves. Don't time his sprints-gym teacher will do that in school. My oldest of three started playing travel soccer at U9. I never played(heck, my high school didn't even have a soccer team). At U9 my child was on the "C" team- this surprised me because I of course thought he was as good as the A and B team kids(what parent doesn't) and he had a lot of success playing rec. soccer from 6-8 years old. At U9 the A team primarily consisted of early maturing big fast kids who (as stated on this forum) all come back to the pack soon enough. At U10 still on C team. U11 B team. U12-changed clubs got on A team and didn't start anymore(that was an eye opener for me and my kid especially because he didn't deserve to start). Luckily my kid kept at it - trained, practiced, and played hard and worked his way up. We did the DA with the club and we are still enjoying watching our child play soccer. Sorry, a little long winded. Try to enjoy every minute-it goes by fast.
     
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  20. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    #45 NewDadaCoach, Oct 9, 2019 at 5:20 PM
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019 at 5:34 PM
    I guess I have the fear because I view the soccer world, and really the world at large, as very competitive. I have reviewed the paths of many players, and many successful people in all fields. I at least want my kid to have an adequate platform to develop. But I do think, regardless of who's kid it is, it is very hard to make it pro in soccer, harder than other sports.
     
  21. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    #46 NewDadaCoach, Oct 9, 2019 at 5:25 PM
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019 at 5:35 PM
    That's very interesting. They probably got sucked into video games :eek:. I see soccer as such a crowded field that I guess it is natural to find ways to give him an edge up. I also view soccer, or sports in general, as a way to get recruited by a university that otherwise would not have accepted the kid. For ex, there's little chance that my kid, even if he is valedictorian, will get accepted to Harvard on purely academics, but he could if he is a top athlete. Not that I care about Harvard, I'd be fine with UC Davis :p
     
  22. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I am new too, and have learned a lot. Thank you to all who have shared your insights and experiences.
    That awesome and inspirational to hear about his path. Congrats on the progress!
     
  23. Cantona's Eyebrow

    Dirty Leeds
    Togo
    Oct 8, 2018
    NewDadaCoach, you are 100% correct, to play at the highest level you need speed. You can have great control, skills, range of passing, the lot... but without speed you can't compete a the higher levels. Your son won't get looked at.

    Even players who look slower at the higher levels are still quick by normal standards. Obviously it takes a lot more than just speed to be successful in the modern game, but speed is the one constant that all players must have.

    It's great getting a young boy into good habits early and making him aware of the importance of good running technique, but at the age of 5, developing his technique and love of the game should be your two major concerns.

    I would be happy to send you details on how I teach skills training at the youngest ages. Eyebrow's Clinic is back open for business ;)
     
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  24. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Yes, life can be competitive. And we all want our kids to succeed. But mapping out a plan when they are five? Seriously, relax. The time for private training, worrying about college, independent workouts, etc will come soon enough.

    And I also disagree with your last statement. I think all sports are hard to get from the five year old level to professional.
     
  25. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    If you try to map out Kindergarten to college/pro I'm afraid you're going to be frustrated and disappointed. So much is out of your control. You can control which club your kid plays for. And even that control is limited because tryouts and cuts come into play at some point.

    You don't have control over who the club assigns to coach your kid's team

    You don't have control over which kids the club places on your kid's team

    You don't have control over whether the club schedules games against appropriate competition

    And, most importantly, you don't have control over how your kid will react to any of these best laid plans. If the name Todd Marinovich isn't familiar, do a quick Google search.

    You're doing the right thing in gathering information at this age. Sounds like you found a good "next step" for him at a local club. See how that goes and think about what's after that, doing your homework on potential options. But that's as far out as I'd try to plan at this point.
     
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