July 2, 2012
As the Euro Cup winds down and the London Olympic Games are starting up, parents and youth players should take advantage of watching elite soccer players perform on the biggest stage. A college coach once told me in order to elevate my game I should watch as much soccer as possible. In essence, I was encouraged to be a student of the game!
What to look for when watching a high level soccer match:
1. Spacing: Coaches spend so much time trying to get their youth players to spread out and use the entire field of play. When youth players can actually see how elite players use the field to their advantage and create passing spaces for their teammates they may get a better understanding of what youth coaches are trying to explain.
2. Ball Control: Another aspect of the elite game is that players possess so much control over the ball. Players at the highest level can receive and settle the ball with ease. Another aspect that youth coaches try to engrain into players is that we want them to be able to control and manipulate the ball effectively so they can maintain possession by dribbling or passing to a teammate.
3. Emotion: One intense part of games when teams are representing countries is the emotional aspect of winning and losing. We want our youth players to care about their performance and to celebrate great plays. We see the ups and downs when we watch these games that matter, not only for the team but an entire country. Point out to your youth player why these soccer stars get so excited after the score or so upset when they let one in.
Be a student of the game! Watching the matches and even listening to the commentary during the games can be educational. We can learn something about soccer or perhaps even one of those terms or words our youth coaches have been using may have a greater meaning for your child.
Enjoy the games and just like reading with your child, watching a soccer game with them can be extremely bonding and informational. Look up the history of the country you are watching, find fun facts and learn.