Matt Waymont is adding into our series on the Education of a Coach. Matt who is a former player at Mars Hill College has been applying the trade of coaching at Storm Soccer Academy since 2010. During this time, he has learned that his favorite group to work with and introduce the game of soccer to our participants within our U7, U8, and U9 groups. This post will introduce you to a proactive coaching philosophy on how to positively introduce the game to children at the youngest ages.
We are so proud of Matt at Storm SA and know the children he works with become passionate about participation. Take it away Matt….
I have been very lucky for the past 4 years because I have had the amazing opportunity to work and coach soccer; a sport that I enjoy and am truly passionate about. I have primarily worked with U7, U8, and U9 boys and girls. I feel there are many different ways to approach coaching youth soccer but ensuring each participant has a positive experience should be the overarching goal of any program.
The most important thing to remember is that each player is unique in their own way and may not react to certain coaching styles in the same positive way others do. The number one goal any youth soccer coach should have is to make sure every single soccer player is enjoying themselves and having a positive experience. Get to know your players, understand how young they are and realize that although we are out there to make them better soccer players it will not happen overnight. It’s a process that takes time and different players will develop at different rates. Success happens when we stress positive reinforcement at all times and never let a player feel as though they are being left behind. As each player progresses in their careers there will be a correct time to push them even harder as that is dictated by the players skill level and mental capacity to understand how to achieve success (age 13/14). At this young age (U8/U9’s) it is not something that should be focused upon.
Unfortunately, I see uneducated parents and coaches who simply care about who wins the game on Saturday at this age. This idea should be the last concern for these individuals as of a more important concern should be the question to ask the participant, “Did you have fun.” The answer of yes means the child will want to continue participating in the sport, the child cares about the sport, and the child will come back to training next week in order to keep improving their skills. Without the passion to play the game, the participant will not continue playing.
At this age when many players are entering their first “serious” competitive sports experience it is important to make sure to keep them excited and enthusiastic about soccer while teaching them the basic fundamentals of the beautiful game. Create a fun environment where learning is enjoyable and each players love and passion for the game can continue to grow.
I’ve found the toughest aspect of coaching youth soccer and development is understanding that it is in our human nature to want to win at all times and sometimes at any cost. Although this goes against our natural instincts, it is important to remember that when developing these young soccer players, winning has to take a backseat as we focus on playing soccer the correct way and giving these players the correct understanding of soccer that will make them successful as they progress in their careers. If we do a great job in teaching the children the correct way to play and define success in an appropriate manner, all participants have the opportunity to win. At this age we must focus on long-term development and not simple short-term success.
My four points to leave you with:
- Make sure to create a fun leaning experience for every player.
- Always encourage and focus on the positives.
- Get to know your players and understand that every one of them is unique and reacts to certain situations in different ways.
- Always focus on long-term development and not simple short-term success.
I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible talent over the past 4 years and it is very rewarding to see their development continue to flourish at Storm Soccer Academy. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for each and every one of them as they continue
to grow into young adults and brilliant soccer players!
Special thanks to Matt Waymont on this fantastic EducatedCoaches.com post. Matt is a believer that their is a method to creating a successful youth sport experience for each and every child and it is our duty as adults to enforce this environment of success. I look forward to watching Matt continue to provide fantastic opportunities for the youth soccer players at Storm Soccer Academy.
Thanks for reading the EducatedCoaches.com blog.