Your approach to assisting your son’s/daughter’s development as a soccer player can make or break your relationship. The following blog post will make a HUGE difference with in your soccer relationship. I will tell you how I made this discovered this transiation. In fact holding this information inspired me to create this blog because the slight shift in role allowed me to support my son 100% in his soccer pursuits and not kill each other in the process.
So here is how I made the discovery – My son attended a soccer camp during the mid season (August) in 2012, he enjoyed the environment and did very well at the camp. The camp organiser approached me and suggested that my son should try out for division 1, the trials were being held in Feb 2013. My son was inspired and devoted the rest of the year training to get into the division 1 team. Up until then my son simply played soccer to have a good time with his mates. He couldn’t even kick the ball very well but he made up for this with his speed, dribbling ability and most importantly his enthusiasm.
Our regular season ended and we went to Japan in late September 2012. To stay on track, Sean went to play “street soccer” with the local kids in the playground, no grass just dirt. The informality of game made it really enjoyable for him, he played with older kids, younger kids, kids who were fast, kids who were better trained; the soccer was raw and this is when he fell deeply in love with the game, we went to the same playground almost everyday to play.
October 2012, back in Australia and back to business. I spent almost every night getting my son ready for the upcoming soccer trials, I was coaching my son. Unfortunately “Coach Time” was leading to “Collision Time”. With no regard, I was “Coaching” my son, but what qualification do I have as a Coach?” “Was my Coaching” really contributing to his technical skills?”, we ended up constantly arguing and we would go home after our sessions feeling frustrated and annoyed at each other; not what we wanted.
I made one minor adjustment and it made all the difference in the world – “I Stopped COACHING“. The fighting stopped, my son started improving and we were much less frustrated. So instead of coaching I spent our sessions “training together” – Passing and kicking the ball to each other, we played games such as one touch pass (where we would continuously pass the ball for 2-5 minutes), Kicking target practice, Kicking distance contests. I progressed from training partner to “trainer” after a few weeks. We would set some goals together and work with each other to Improve my sons’s skills. Accessing some material from Youtube and past training exercise, we trained to improve and the rest was history. His skills improved and his confidence soared as a result of the extra training. Sean did very well in trials and he made it into the division 1 team (I know it a dream story).
Even today we train together every chance we get, we work together on techniques whether it be “Coerver Style” techniques, passing, juggling or kick target practice. The most beautiful part of this is that we look forward to our time together. He likes to practice everyday, so if did not train with his team that day, we go to the park together after work so he can practice and have “our time”. Soccer is a common interest and something we share and has bought us closer together. The Brazilian often refer to team mates as family, I can honestly say that sharing our interest in Soccer has definitely bought my family closer together.
Coaching Vs Training – So what is the difference ?
- Coaching – focuses on showing how; example – “this is how you kick, anchor foot planted near the ball, swing the hips, contact the ball with your shoelaces and follow through by landing on the kicking foot – here let me show you”
- Training – just work together on getting it right ; example “let’s kick against the wall and see how you go, let’s do 5 good ones, and keep going until it feels right” – “Dad what am I doing wrong? – just make contact with your shoelaces – we will get it right soon just take it slowly”
So what are we training on ?
- Striking – Kicking the ball against the wall; sometimes we make it a competition
- Dribbling and techniques like “getting pass your opponent”
- One Vs One
I have met many “soccer dads” who have stopped coaching their kids, and it has made a ton of difference. One Dad told me that we his improvement was remarkable after he stopped coaching.
But what If you are a coach and you kid plays in your team? , just coach your child during the formal sessions with the team and just be a training partner at all other times.
Try and tell me what happens.