March 12, 2014
Q: Who was your favorite coach and why? Do you think positive coaching is essential in today’s times? How has the win at all cost mentality affected youth sports? How has your involvement with PCA changed your outlook towards youth sports and any message that you would like to give to parents, kids and coaches?
I have had so many coaches effect my life and I think I have taken something from each one. However in August of 1987 one coach changed my life forever. Anson Dorrance asked me and 3 other girls: Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett and Julie Foudy, to join the U.S. Womens National Team on a trip to China. That moment took me on a journey that I am so grateful for.
Anson gave me an opportunity and I took it. He also helped me to grow as a player and a person. He cared, inspired, pushed and believed in my teammates and me. He didn’t let you just glide by, he wanted to be the best and that meant we needed to be the best and put the effort and time in. He once told me “That fitness was a 365 day commitment.” At the time I was like ok, but I think subconsciously I took it too heart.
I think coaches have a big impact on players (I think sometimes too much). I think that what coaches have to remember is they are there to help players to be better people and players. It’s about the player, not about the coach. This is important for coaches and parents to remember.
Winning has become an issue. The funny thing about it is someone has to win and someone has to lose. I think it is important to be competitive and teach kids how to win and lose through good sportsmanship. It is an essential life skill. However, the focus doesn’t have to be solely on winning. I can remember playing baseball when I was younger and if we won a game we got to have our hat filled with popcorn for free from the concession stand. I can also remember popsicles or sodas after soccer games and it didn’t matter if we won or loss – we still got them. So there was a winner and a loser in the games but the focus was on the fun!
Fun is something that I think we are missing a bit in youth sports – even high school sports. Sports are fun – and that is why we started playing them in the first place, right? If you can create an atmosphere where you can teach, work hard and see smiles on your kids faces – then you have found the balance. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is important.
About Kristine Lilly, Korrio’s Soccer & Youth Sports Ambassador
Kristine Lilly’s extraordinary career spanned 23 years. The celebrated midfielder retired in January of 2011 at the age of 39, holding world and Women’s National Team records for most caps (appearances): 352. She has scored 130 goals (third highest in U.S. history), completed 105 assists and played in five FIFA Women’s World Cups and on three U.S. Olympics teams (helping the U.S. win two World Championships and two gold medals).
She is currently an assistant coach with her former club team, the Boston Breakers, and the founder of Kristine Lilly Soccer Academy in Massachusetts and Connecticut. To learn more about Kristine Lilly, go to kristinelilly13.com; follow her on Twitter; or like her on Facebook.
Kristine is also a member of the PCA Advisory Board
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