Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Questions Parents Should Ask
by Michael Barr, June 25th, 2009 1:30PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Barr

As a parent, you are constantly faced with decisions that have a profound impact on your child's future. I believe it is important to examine some of these issues as they relate to youth soccer and all youth sports today.

The Formative Years
As a coach and educator for close to 30 years, I believe the coaches your child has at the younger ages are critical. Many clubs have begun to shift their focus from the older, travel ages to the young ages. Much as successful elementary school teachers provide the building blocks and love for learning, coaches in the ages of 6 to 12 can and should provide the same.

Questions for your club and their coaches during the Formative Years:

* Does your club have prerequisites for coaches who are involved with coaching players under the age of 10, and coaches who are involved with early-age travel teams?

* Do they place development above winning?

* Are they aware of the physical, social and cognitive stages of development for those ages?

* Does you child's club have a curriculum with exercises and activities based on age and development?

* Is my child's practice fun, and is every child involved?

* Are the practices organized, with a progression and theme?

* Does the practice facilitate learning?

* Does the coach recognize coachable moments to instruct?

* If there are travel teams for ages 9 through 12, is travel distance limited and are tournaments in which they participate played locally?

* If your child is involved with a travel team, is there a fair balance of practice time and matches (two or three practices to one match)?

* Does the coach of the travel team have a philosophy regarding the team that is shared with parents and players?

* Does the coach allow a player to miss practice due to homework, school functions, family outings, or priorities in other sports?

* If playing travel, is there considerable down time from the sport at certain times of the year?

I believe the answer should be, "Yes," to all of these pertinent questions.

(Mike Barr is the Director of Coaching of the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association and the head men's coach of Immaculta University. He coached the boys team at Strath Haven High School in 1984-2005, winning five PIAA state titles, six PIAA District One titles and 16 Central League titles.)


0 comments
  1. Thomas Milbury
    commented on: June 25, 2009 at 1:34 p.m.
    Can you comment on the impact of committing to an academy program - is there a correct age for good athletes to specialize and play one sport; how about the dilution effect of club and odp play by the academies stripping top talent.

  1. Paul Giavanopoulos
    commented on: July 2, 2009 at 9:37 a.m.
    If there are travel teams for ages 9 through 12, is travel distance limited and are tournaments in which they participate played locally? While the Utopian answer is yes, the issue here is not black and White. 1) The team depends on the league that it plays in to be placed in the correct divisional play. When this does not happen , then the team and the players have to explore other options. i.e--If the team gets misplaced and wins games 5-0, 6-0 etc, then the players are not being challenged and will not improve. what other choice does the team have other than to look elsewhere to play meaningful games. 2) On the same issue above, what if the league makes a decision to allow teams from a far to play? The team has no choice then but to travel 2 hours away and play the league games? agree 3) the play other sports issue: here again the Utopian answer is yes, let them play. Great!!!! However, the state association we belong to Mike has their State Cup play in the Spring, in the middle of LAX and BB season. This causes lots of juggling and heartaches. Furher what do we do with the players that want to play year round and play the state cups?? The above causes even more problems, as those players eventually leave and go to super clubs that play year round, diluting the club team that they started with, creating a viscious cycle. You have lots of experience in the sport with many years and I am Privileged to know some of your x-players and coaches. can you comment on the above? thanks Paul


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Screaming at Children -- A Ref's Eye View     
It's amazing that no matter how many games you ref, no matter how much you prepare ...
Is it OK to play in pain?     
"What's the difference between discomfort and pain? And is it OK for me to keep playing ...
The benefits of pool play vs. traditional leagues for U-10s     
The Youth Soccer Insider asked Sam Snow, Technical Director of U.S. Youth Soccer, to explain the ...
Ref Watch: Why three is so much better than one     
When I moved to Florida for business 27 years ago, I lived and worked in Orlando ...
Tab Ramos auditions new talent for U-20 World Cup     
Coach Tab Ramos has called up three players to the U.S. U-20 national team, which is ...
George Altirs boosts New Jersey-area youth ball     
As a boy, George Altirs spent his free time playing as much soccer as possible in ...
Are tire crumbs on fields a cancer threat?    
Some environmental and health advocacy groups have claimed that the crumb rubber infill, used in artificial ...
A World Cup for Richie Williams, better late than never     
Richie Williams might just be the USA's most successful player who never played in a World ...
USA avoids debacle in U-17 World Cup qualifying    
Ultimately, the USA's quest to qualify for the 2015 Under-17 World Cup hinged on shots from ...
Americans down to one last chance at U-17 World Cup qualifying    
One of the U.S. national team program's consistencies for nearly three decades was that the USA ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives