August 6, 2012
Dr. Dina Gentile helps our players prepare for mental strenth and success as she educates us parents.
US Youth Soccer decision to add the U13’s to the National Championships is the right direction for soccer in this country. There will always be debates regarding what the right age is to have our players compete on the big stage. I side with Sam Snow, US Soccer Coaching Director with the decision to get the first phase of teens involved in the tournament.
One major area of concern from my perspective is to make sure coaches who work with first time players entering a largely marketed and attended series of events that the athletes can handle both winning and losing.
In addition, we may need to spend more time making sure the physical demands of these strenuous tournament games do not take a negative toll on the bodies and minds of these very impressionable athletes.
Another area of attention will be on how well the parents can handle this new level of play along with all of the stress of competition that goes along with it.
As Sam Snow stated in his recently interview with SoccerNationNews:
“It is all the adults who surround players at a tournament who have to keep their emotions in check as the kids travel all across the U.S. to compete. The players will reflect the attitude of the adults, so the adults need to maintain a focus on the long-term effects on development as well as the short-term gain”.