Flow happens when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable, so it acts as a magnet for learning new skills and increasing challenges. If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author of Finding Flow)
To the public and the families I work with on a daily basis, I aid children under the age of ten in technical and tactical soccer skills. We have multiple programs that I oversee with one overarching significant goal for young soccer players (U10 and below): Have so much fun in all activities that the player cannot wait to practice at home and come back to practice as soon as possible.
Our goal for training and games is to create an environment where players are enthused about soccer participation, have the opportunity to face appropriate level challenges, and look at the activity of skill acquisition as fun. The players who prosper within this developmental environment tend to become driven to increase training dedication. Training more hours on their own and in an official practice environment will allow them to increase abilities in a faster and more efficient manner. These activities must be fun, yet challenging in order for the participant to train with the amount of intensity needed to reach their maximum potential during their teenage years.
This Saturday was an amazing day for Fun, Success and Finding Flow. I coached five games with players under the age of ten over the course of the day and each game was a tie or within one goal on the win or loss side. Each game was a challenge for all participants and created the opportunity for each player to put themselves in a state of flow while having increased enjoyment in participation. The level of excitement was so high I had one player tell me:
Coach Brad, This game is awesome and I hope it never ends.
What could be greater for a coach to hear from a young athlete. The want to participate and play simply because the game is awesome!
Being challenged by the opponent and finding individual skill mastery lead to the state of finding flow. When you can create this effect within training or game activities and the players are having FUN, the coach has found success.
Forget the wins and losses. Create a training and game environment that young players love and all involved will have SUCCESS.
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