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Development First: The Focus for Youth Soccer Coaches

Hello Youth Soccer World, What Are Our Real Goals? -  Dr. Dina Gentile on What Really Matters.

As we sit down to read the Sunday paper or check the results of last night games, we as adults are fixated on the score. As coaches we know that we have certain outcomes we are trying to accomplish in our short time period of practice and then through the small-sided games on the weekends. It is difficult for many watching the games to understand our mission to improve the soccer skill base of our players because the focus seems to always shift to goal scoring.

No matter how many emails go out from the soccer administrators and coaches spelling out the commitment to development over scoring, many parents on the sidelines will go back to their routine of motivating their child to go to goal (instead of making that pass to the open player, or pushing their child to play forward instead of defense (which probably is not well understood by the U6 or U8 player).

The key is to bridge the gap of celebrating a goal (which is fine) with parents understanding of a few simple outcomes that each age groups should be aiming toward meeting. More significant than all of the goals a player can score is providing a team with a soccer foundation that allows for an understanding of the skills and tactics of the game.

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