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Cal South E-News | January 2012 PARENT EDUCATION

January 19, 2012


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US Youth Soccer

How Parents Can Help

By Sam Snow, Director of Coaching Education - US Youth Soccer & U.S. Soccer National Staff Instructor

Coach Snow will also be appearing as a clinician at Soccer Nation Expo 2012 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 26-26, 2012. For more information, please visit www.soccernationexpo.com.

Parents of U6 and U8 players play an active part in the enjoyment their children have in youth soccer. Encouragement to try new things is step one. Now that they are out there kicking, running, laughing, falling down and all chasing the ball simultaneously they need positive reinforcement. Many parents during matches, and sometimes even during training sessions, yell out to the kids what to do and when to do it. They cheer when things go right and sometimes cry out in anguish when they don't. In all, they are trying to be positive and help the kids.

What many adults have forgotten from when they were 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-years-old is that children of those ages can focus on a limited number of tasks at one time. That may continue to be true to a lesser degree for older players too.

Indeed, it takes all of the attention capacity of a U6 player to control the ball. This is because they are still developing basic balance, coordination and agility. Also in a 4 versus 4 match, the actual odds for the player with the ball are generally 1 versus 7.

During a match, the player needs to focus on the task at hand--trying to control the ball. Unfortunately, they are distracted by all of the adults yelling from the touchline. Now they have to make a choice: either play the ball or listen to the parents.

So, the lesson is clear. If parents want to help the kids play their best they need to be quiet while watching the game. Just sit back and let the children play!

Sam Snow was named as Director of Coaching for US Youth Soccer in 2004, after joining the organization as the Assistant Director of Coaching Education in 2003. Prior to joining the US Youth Soccer Technical Department, Snow held positions as a U.S. Soccer National Staff Instructor and as a Director of Coaching for Louisiana Soccer Association. Snow has a USSF "A" License and National Youth License, a Premier Diploma and National Goalkeeping Coaching License.