If I asked you to name the two biggest problems in youth soccer - excluding the parents who email you their spreadsheet suggesting lineups and playing time - what would you say?
YESsoccer has been thinking about the pre-packaged world of "age-appropriate" curricula, and we suggest these two:
1) Players are not given enough free play.
2) Players do not use their imagination.
Why aren't we giving kids more freedom to use their imagination in soccer? Is it possible that parents and coaches have forgotten how kids think?
When I was a kid back in the 70's, my favorite show was In Search Of, a quasi-investigative show that explored "phenomena" like Bigfoot, aliens, and the Loch Ness Monster.
That seems like a lifetime ago from my present middle age, where my four kids - three of them in high school and college - have pretty much sucked the imagination right out of me, like the UFO abductees in Season Three. I use the phrase "when I was your age" around the house all the time, but I routinely forget how I actually thought when I was their age.
YESsoccer believes that youth soccer suffers from the same disconnect. We think the root causes of player burnout and dropout - known as "killing players" - are the lack of freedom and imagination in youth soccer curricula and training. The solution, we think, is to acknowledge how kids think, and to engage their powerful imaginations in a guided discovery of skill and situational poise.
That's why YESsoccer is moving beyond canned "age-appropriate" curriculum to create customized skill-appropriate programming for our partner clubs. Our talented coaches have the freedom to craft programs and sessions within a long-term development plan that respond to the unique needs of each club, each team, and each player.
Is your youth soccer curriculum customized to the needs of your club? Is it skill-appropriate? Does it capture young imaginations?
Or are you stuck in the rut of drills, more drills, and perfect-practice-makes-perfect?
We invite your organization to join YESsoccer as we go in search of imagination in youth soccer. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
H.B. Mertz @YESPres is an entrepreneur, coach and owner of YESsoccer
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