Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Mix it up and let players 'train' players
by Sam Snow, August 6th, 2009 10AM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Sam Snow

In our youth soccer environment the training sessions tend to be fairly sterile in that the U7 team only practices with the U7 age group, girls only practice with girls, and so forth.

We have evolved into a situation where there's little interaction between age groups and sometimes gender too. By allowing this to continue we devolve our clubs into mere associations of loosely connected teams without allegiance to the club. We also miss out on opportunities for the players to help one another grow in the game.

For example, in soccer times past we had pick-up games with mixed ages and occasionally mixed gender. Nowadays far too much of our training environment is isolated by age group and gender. We are missing out on the chance for older players to help the younger players learn a bit more about playing the game.

Not all teaching of the game comes from coaches nor should it. Players should also learn from watching college, professional and U.S. national team matches. They can also learn from the players in their own soccer club at practices.

The coaching leaders in a club should organize times for older teams to practice with a younger team. The U9 and U10 teams combine in a training session one day for example. The U14 boys team has a practice game vs. the U17 girls team as another example.

From this environment within the club the players help each other grow in the game, they get to know one another better and a feeling of club unity expands. They may also begin to support each other's matches.

If the older players come and cheer now and then for the younger players at one of the matches the impact on self-esteem, confidence and club loyalty will be profound.

When the younger players go to watch a match of an older team in the club the crowd atmosphere improves and the younger players are exposed intimately to a higher level of play.

The older players could attend younger team training sessions to play alongside of them or help coach them or just to be the example of how to do certain ball skills. The possibilities are many if we take advantage of clubs with a full range of age groups developing players from within.

The U12 age group works with the U6 age group. The U14 age group works with the U8 age group. The U16 age group works with the U10 age group. The U19 age group works with the U12 age group. The adult teams work with the U14, U16 and U19 age groups.

Indeed, players 16 years old and older should be encouraged to play on both a youth team and an adult team.

(Sam Snow is the Director of Coaching Education of US Youth Soccer. This article first appeared in U.S. Youth Soccer Blogs, which can be read at http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/Blog.asp)

 



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
The 21 U.S. girls aiming to make history    
The USA has won three Women's World Cups, four Olympic titles, and three U-20 Women's World ...
Revisiting ice after injury    
The acronym RICE -- which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation -- has been around since ...
Champions: U.S. U-15 girls perfect in Orlando; U-18 boys lift Czech crown    
The USA outscored seven opponents 49-0 and won the Concacaf U-15 Girls Championship with a 2-0 ...
Reffing in Russia: Remembering History, 25 Years Later    
For a long time, I looked positively at the Soviet military cap and Moscow police cap ...
How about some hot sauce with that leg cramp?    
I'm pretty sure anyone who's ever played a sport has had a muscle cramp at some ...
U.S. Soccer names final 22 clubs to Girls Development Academy for total of 74    
U.S. Soccer has accepted an additional 22 clubs to the Girls Development Academy, which will kick ...
U.S. U-20s down New York Cosmos and Red Bulls II    
The U.S. U-20 men's national team, during a 10-day training camp in New Jersey, beat the ...
Q&A: U.S. U-20 coach Michelle French on country vs. college conflict    
Thirteen of the USA's 18-woman squad at the Olympic Games in Rio played in a U-20 ...
Bahrain eliminates U.S. U-19 men in game marred by brawl    
The U.S. U-19 men's national team, after having upset host Spain, was eliminated from the Sub-20 ...
Cal South clubs claim four US Youth Soccer national titles    
South California clubs won a pair of US Youth Soccer national titles last weekend in both ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives