By the time you may read this, the almighty World Cup will be all finished. There will be triumphs and there will be failures. There will be athletes who win the gold medal and there will be athletes that come in last place. Their will be tears of sadness and their will be screams of joy from all around the world.
Soon after the games end, the new AYSO season will begin. The returning players will be excited about starting a great seaon. The new players will be curious about soccer and how they fit in with their teams. The coaches have planned all their strategies and the parents have that glimmer of hope that their son or daughters could possibly be the next Freddy Adu or Mia Hamm.
As the new AYSO season approaches, what should the parents, the coaches and the kids expect from the season.
Let the games begin!
For the Parents
Expect to have a lot of fun and make a lot of good friends. Be involved with your son or daughter and with the team..but not TOO involved. . In many countries, parent’s don’t go to the games of their children. We do here so let’s make the best of it for you and especially for your child. Let the coach run the team, let the referee rule the game and let your child enjoy this wonderful game. Don’t even think about the score. Support your child and his or her team, not with jeers and tugs but with cheers and hugs. Every child should leave the field smiling knowing that life is a heck of a lot of fun and I can’t wait to play next week!
For the Coaches
You have the easy job, you get to take a group of gangly kids and mold them into the champions of the western world. Remember the famous words: “Don’t worry coach, we’re behind you, win or tie.” As an AYSO coach, your real job is simple: make sure your kids have fun playing soccer. This means try not to overcoach too much. Let the game teach the kids. Set certain guidelines to focus on certain techniques (for YOUR AGE GROUP) you are trying to teach and then let the kids be creative and curious. At the younger ages, allow the kids to play all the positions and for the most part, keep the practices to small-sided games so each player can touch the ball many times. With older players, practices should be more focused on certain techniques and stategies, but remember that kids want the ball as much as possible so try to create fun practices where each kid will touch the ball at least 100+ times a practice. Minimize full-sided games where Johnny may only touch the ball once or twice the whole game. That doesn’t seem like much fun.
Always remember, the final score really does not matter. What matters is that ALL the players got to play a subtantial amount of time and had fun and want to come back next week.
For the Players
Have fun and try to leave every practice or game with a bit of knowledge you didn’t have when you got there. If you keep saying I can’t kick with my left foot, than you should focus on using your left foot as much as you can during practice. If your coach keeps saying that you dribble too much and the entire team is calling you a ball hog, then maybe you should try to become the assist leader on your team this year.
A new season is beginning. Each new season creates exciting new challenges for parents, players and the coaches. Remember that this is not the Olympics. This is not the World Cup. This season is for the children: to make some friends, to learn some soccer, to learn sportsmanship, to learn to be creative and to be part of a team, to learn the emotinal passion of soccer (Gooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaallllll) and mostly, to have a lot of fun. It’s a simple game. It’s a simple challenge.
Have a Great Season!