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Champions for Children


Differences between boys and girls are minimal ... athlete after match or training: You Played Hard...Are You Hungry?...I Love You. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Champions for Children

Champions for Children
  • A Guide for Parents of
  • Youth Soccer Players U6-U12

  • What is true of all soccer superstars I know is
    that these were their dreams, not their parents
  • In my experience, the best soccer parents more
    or less let their children do their own thing.
  • - Anson Dorrance

The Players
  • Characteristics of players U6-U12

Why do children play the game of soccer in the
first place?
  • To learn new skills, have fun, learn sporting
    behavior, be with friends, and to simply run,
    jump and play.

U7-U11 The English Football Association (FA)
7-9 Year Olds
  • Try things on their own
  • Prefer developing and mastering things in their
    own way
  • Easily bored
  • No discipline for repetitive tasks
  • Will move on to something else if bored or
  • Tire quickly
  • Easily distracted
  • Cannot recognize the difference between effort
    and ability

9-11 Year Olds
  • Form friendships
  • Measure themselves with their peers
  • Like playing with similar people
  • Competitive spirit increases
  • Compete with peers
  • Concerned with being better
  • Begin to turn more and more to the coach for help
  • Realize the coach can help
  • Coach should match players in groups with similar

U-6 Characteristics
  • Differences between boys and girls are minimal
  • Wide variety of coordination from player to
  • Love to run and jump
  • Very little comprehension of time, space
    relations, and boundaries
  • Will naturally swarm around the ball in a human
  • Self-centered and want to keep the ball to
    themselves (me, my, mine)
  • Attention span is very short
  • No sense of pace (go flat out)
  • Very simple and easily understood rules are
  • Coach must keep things FUN and brief

U-8 Characteristics
  • Immature physical abilities remain obvious
  • Limited ability to handle more than one chore at
    a time
  • Concepts of time and spatial relationships are
    only starting to develop
  • Great yearning for approval from authority
    figures (parents, teachers, coaches, etc.)
  • Feelings are very easily bruised
  • Physical coordination begins developing (riding a
  • Still love running, jumping, climbing, and
  • Team identity develops in basic ways (wearing
    jersey to bed or even days at a time)
  • Still lack sense of pace (go flat out)

U-10 Characteristics
  • The Golden Age of Learning
  • Vital time in their lives
  • Boys and girls begin to develop separately
  • Grouping of players by physical maturity/ability
    level becomes more of a consideration
  • Athletically superior players will dominate play
  • Ability to concentrate increases and coordination
  • Competitiveness emerges
  • Peer pressure begins to become a factor (not be
    embarrassed in front of friends)
  • Self-responsibility can be introduced (bringing a
    ball, water, etc.)
  • Players must start making decisions on their own

U-12 Characteristics
  • Puberty brings psychological and physical changes
  • Popularity correlates to self-esteem
  • Begin to recognize the opposite sex
  • Differences in skill level, size, speed, and
    strength are significant
  • Players must begin to think abstractly/tactically
    on the field (Socratic Method of Teaching)

  • Uncoordinated
  • Break down under pressure
  • Narrow focus
  • Reliant on conscious decisions
  • No body control
  • Jerky/jarring appearance

  • Coordinated
  • Perform under pressure
  • Broad focus on the game
  • Instinctive play
  • Smooth/fluid appearance
  • Use of the appropriate foot/ part of foot
  • Control of weight and direction of pass
  • Good timing of the pass
  • Excellent decision-making (tactical ability)

Sample Player Expectations for Soccer
  • Bring all equipment (inflated soccer ball, water,
    warm-up, etc.).
  • Flip the switch at training sessions and games
    (focus and concentrate on soccer).
  • Have a positive attitude and be willing try new
  • Work hard and have fun.
  • Do your soccer homework (practice skills on off
  • Keep a soccer journal (optional).

A Sample Club/Team Philosophy
  • A competitive environment at the youth level
    encourages decisions from player and coach alike
    that focus on player development rather than
    winning (favoring ball skill and creativity as
    the means to find success within the rules and
    spirit of the game). We will not have a win at
    all costs mentality. Our primary concerns are
    the development, welfare, enjoyment and safety of
    our players.

The Parents
  • What we can do to guide our children toward
    enjoyment in the game

(No Transcript)
Sample Parent Expectations
  • Make every effort to arrive on time for all
    events (early is always better).
  • Be positive and supportive of your athlete,
    teammates, coaches and parents (the soccer
  • Do not measure your athletes development against
    others on the team. All athletes will develop
    in different ways some will develop quicker than
  • Show respect for all involved in the game of
    soccer including players, coaches, opponents,
    opposing fans and especially referees.
  • Do not confuse your athlete by trying to coach
    them on or off the field.
  • During games, limit comments to encouraging all
    players on the field.

Parent Expectations
  • In order to properly reach developmental goals,
    there must be a serious level of commitment from
  • Please approach the coach after training sessions
    if you would like to speak about your athlete or
    anything having to do with the team or club.

Before the match/training
  • Tell your child three things prior to the match
    or training session Play Hard Have Fun I
    Love You.
  • Make a few positive support comments such as I
    cant wait to watch your game today, or Have
    some fun out there!
  • Allow the child to do their own thing before
    the match or training during the ride (within
    reason). Examples listening to music, playing
    videogames, initiating conversations with others,
    simply being quiet and focused.
  • Promote and support proper nutrition before and
    after athletic contests. This is something you
    CAN control!

Pre-Match/Training Nutrition
  • Fueling the Young Athlete
  • Carbohydrates carbs provide the primary fuel
    for exercising muscles. It is essential that
    young athletes consume lots of complex
    carbohydrates (i.e. whole grains, fruits, and
    vegetables) on a daily basis. In addition, it is
    important to ensure that young athletes get the
    proper amount of carbohydrates before, during,
    and after exercise to support optimal health and

Pre-Match/Training Nutrition
  • Make sure young athlete arrives to
    matches/training well-fed. They should eat a
    well-balanced meal that contains 75-200 grams of
    carbs, 2-4 hours before the training session or
    match. This can be very difficult, especially
    before training. So
  • A snack 30 minutes prior to exercise may also be
    beneficial, particularly if an athlete was unable
    to consume an appropriate meal 2-4 hours prior.
  • The snack should contain approx. 20-50 grams of
    easily digested carbs.

During the Match (sideline behavior)
During the Match (sideline behavior)
  • Understand that players are over-stimulated
    during matches. The coach may be giving
    instructions, opponents and teammates are
    talking, the crowd is cheering, and the referee
    is blowing the whistle and speaking to the
    players. To a youth soccer player, the
    atmosphere is much like that of a fighter pilot
    with enemy bogies zipping around.
  • Adapted from the AYSO Tools for Parents

During the Match (sideline behavior)
  • 1 Priority
  • Set a Good Example of Sportsmanship at all times
  • Do not yell instructions to your child (or their
    teammates) during the match- it only adds to the
    confusion. In addition, this oftentimes
    contradicts what the coach has been training the
    players to do.
  • Sometimes the best thing parents can do is to be
    quiet or have a chat with another parent while
  • Cheer and acknowledge good plays by both teams.
  • Sit a reasonable distance away from the field,
    players and coaches.

  • When watching a youth soccer game, if you can't
    carry on a normal conversation with the person
    next to you, then you're probably paying too much
    attention to the game.

After the match/training
  • Three things to say to your athlete after match
    or training You Played HardAre You Hungry?...I
    Love You.
  • Congratulate your child and their teammates
    regardless of the outcome.
  • Do not analyze the game or your childs
  • No backyard training following
  • Make sure your child eats properly following the

Recovery Foods (following activity)
  • A sample of healthy foods to help athletes
  • recover from exercise
  • Sports drinks (Gatorade)
  • Granola, energy, or breakfast bars
  • Bagels with peanut butter
  • Sub sandwichs
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Burritos
  • Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, oranges, and
  • Vegetables such as carrots and celery
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Rice cakes or trail mix
  • Chocolate milk
  • Animal crackers

Recovery Nutrition Quick Tips
  • Athletes who fail to refuel and/or rehydrate
    during and after activities will not have the
    optimal level of energy to play at the same
    intensity the next day.
  • To help in the recovery process, athletes should
    eat a high-carbohydrate snack within 30 minutes
    after practice or competition, and a healthy meal
    two hours later.
  • Carbohydrates are the most efficient source of
    energy for muscles, and they should make up
    approximately 60 of an athletes diet.

Recovery Nutrition Quick Tips
  • Sports drinks are an ideal way for athletes to
    rehydrate during and after exercise.
  • Having parents provide snacks and sports drinks
    after the game is an excellent way to help
    athletes recover from exercise.
  • Stay away from soft packaged, boxed juice drinks
    and snackie cakes.

Keep in mind thevarious Pressures for Players
  • Society
  • Parents
  • Other Clubs
  • Environment
  • Coachs Ego
  • Human Nature
  • Own Club
  • Most all of these pressures focus on winning
    instead of learning and development!

Relieving those Pressures
  • Praise effort instead of results.
  • Always be positive no matter what the outcome.
  • Following a match, ask the player how they think
    they did. Allow them to reflect, if they choose
    to do so.
  • Look for positives in any situation and focus on

Pre-season Preparation for Parents
Sample Parent Agreement
  • Sample Parent Agreement
  • I agree to be on time or early when dropping off
    my child for a training session or game. I
    understand that I am putting my child at physical
    risk by not providing proper time for warm-up. I
    also understand the importance of picking up my
    child on time for all training sessions and
    games. This ultimately shows respect for the
    coaches and entire team.
  • I understand the main reasons students
    participate in athletics are to have fun, make
    new friends, and learn new skills. I understand
    the game is for the students, and that I will
    encourage my child to have fun and keep the game
    in the proper perspective. I understand that
    athletes do their best when they are emotionally
    healthy, so I will be positive and supportive at
    all times.
  • I understand the teams philosophy on player
    development versus results (winning). I also
    understand that athletes develop in many
    different ways and that the true measure is not
    how my child compares to others but how he/she is
    developing as a person, student, and athlete.
  • I understand the importance of setting a good
    example of sportsmanship to my child. I will
    continually show respect for all involved in the
    game including coaches, players, opponents,
    opposing fans, and especially referees.

  • I understand games can be exciting experiences
    for my child who is trying to deal with the
    action of the game, respond to opponents,
    referees, teammates, and coaches. I will not add
    confusion by yelling out instructions. During
    the game, I will limit my comments to encouraging
    my child and other players for both teams.
  • I will not make negative comments about the game,
    coaches, referees, or teammates in my childs
    presence. I understand this can negatively
    influence my childs motivation and overall
  • I agree to honor the Parent Agreement in my words
    and actions.
  • Adapted from the AYSO Kids Zone Parent Pledge

Parental Influence
  • Negative Influence
  • Too much emphasis on winning
  • Shouting instructions during matches
  • Marching up and down the field during matches
  • Using abusive language
  • Inappropriate behavior (standing on touchline,
    spitting, smoking, drinking)
  • Making negative comments about opponents,
    teammates, coaches, and others in the presence of
    the player(s).

Kids Drop Out When
  • They are forced to take part
  • Pressured from coaches/parents
  • Made to feel incompetent
  • Bullied by peers and coaches
  • Not enough playing time
  • They have other interests

(No Transcript)
Parents Should Focus on
  • Enjoyment
  • Development
  • Feedback (positive, not critical)
  • Respect (for teammates, opponents, coaches,
    officials, etc.)
  • Realistic targets/goals
  • Nutrition

A Parents Most Important Job is to

Recommended Reading
  • Will You Still Love Me If I Dont Win? A Guide
    for Parents of Young Athletes by Christopher and
    Barbara Andersonn
  • The Vision of a Champion by Anson Dorrance
  • Just Let the Kids Play by Bob Bigelow
  • Laws of the Game

Additional Resources
  • United States Youth Soccer Association-
  • Positive Coaching Alliance-
  • The English Football Association- Psychology for
    Football/Soccer Level I (online course)
  • American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO)-
  • Gatorade (heat, hydration, and nutrition)
  • Indiana Youth Soccer Association
  • Kentucky Youth Soccer Association

Special Thanks
  • Fran Kulas- Kentucky Youth Soccer Association
  • Vince Ganzberg- Indiana Youth Soccer Association

Questions? Please contact
  • Rob Herringer
  • State Director of Coaching
  • 913-782-6434