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Coaching Outside the Box: Changing the Mindset in Youth Soccer (Volume 1) Paperback – October 2, 2012
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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About the Author
Paul Mairs and Richard Shaw grew up in the soccer hotbed of North West England playing against the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Steven Gerrard. After they both progressed through the academy system of the professional and former English Premier League (EPL) club Blackpool FC, Richard went on to gain a National Championship and All-American honors playing college soccer in the U.S., and played professionally in the MISL (Major Indoor Soccer League). Paul continued his playing career in England and became heavily involved in youth development while gaining his Master’s degree and pursuing research in sport science. Furthermore, after developing young players both in Europe and the U.S. for over 15 years and travelling to various countries to research coaching methods and philosophies together they have collectively acquired valuable insight and knowledge.
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Player Development means two things: 1) spending most of the time helping kids learn the basic "technical" skills (passing, trapping, shooting, and dribbling) that are applicable from the pee-wee level to the professional level and 2) fostering a love of the game.
If the coach does a good job focusing on Player Development then all the kids on the team will be continuously improving, and they will still be playing soccer by the time they are physically and mentally mature enough to reach their fullest potential.
Often times in America, the environment in which the coach operates makes Player Development nearly impossible. Sorry for giving away the ending, but if your child's YOUTH team happens to be 1) in a league 2) where they keep score of the games and 3) publish the team standings and 4) give out the biggest trophy to the team that wins the most games by the season's end, then it's likely Winning is going to be the focus for your kid's coach. Hint: that's not what you want.
Toward the end of the book, the authors provide a list of other Red Flags you can use to try to figure out if your kid's coach is focused on Player Development or Winning.
Throughout the book you will find strategies coaches and parents (unwittingly) employ to make kids hate them and want to quit the game, many of which I've used myself. Fortunately, I learned the error in my ways and my kids are now in a club where they are not just learning, but happy.
Thank you, Jeremy Aven (Director of Coaching, Storm Soccer Academy), for suggesting this book.
In the book, it goes on to say that by consistently playing in small sided games players are offered an abundance of opportunities to move their bodies at different speeds in various planes of motion, helping them develop physical literacy. They get more opportunity to touch the ball and to develop their technical skills.
So I started thinking about starting a small playgroup for my 4 year old son, where the kids can play small sided games. There will be +- no coaching, just stress-free playing. I emailed the authors to ask them more about small sided games, and to get their opinion on my idea. Richard Shaw replied to me within an hour. He gave me his cell number, and we chatted for a long time. He gave me tremendous advice, and he did not charge anything. He says that he thinks that starting a playgroup to play small sided games is a great idea. He says that at their soccer club, they spend 80 to 90% of the time playing small sided games. It was wonderful talking to Richard. I want to thank him again for his kindness and his advice. I highly recommend this book. It will change the way you think about coaching.
Any meat-head can find the best players and coach them to win.
This book holds the key to building a team of kids who will play better than the sum of their parts because they believe in themselves.