Winning versus learning?

A recent article from the US Soccer Federation’s website tackles an issue of utmost importance to our Club as a whole, and our coaches and parents, specifically: the desire to win. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win, but what does winning measure? Is beating a weaker opponent better than playing the best game ever and losing against a tougher opponent?

The approach our Club is taking is one of development. Are we teaching soccer and measuring if our are players learning?  If you ask yourself this question, even after a devasting loss, you’ll almost always find the answer to be "yes."

Some players will learn, or appear to learn, more quickly than others because of early maturity, advanced motor skills, quickness and coordination. Note, however, these advantages quickly disappear as kids age.  As coaches and as a Club, we can’t control that. What we CAN have control over is teaching skills specific to soccer, getting parents involved in playing soccer with their kids like they do with other sports, and adopting approaches that facilitate learning soccer, both for our kids and our adults (coaches and parents). If we don’t, we’ll soon see – as we have already – players from our Club dominate early on but quickly becom less skilled than players that choose to learn.

If we adopt coaching philosophies with an emphasis on developing players, not just winning, we’ll develop a competitive program for our soccer club.

Our club has adopted concepts that I think will set us apart from the typical rec soccer program in Iowa. By segmenting teams by single age years and by gender at all ages, for example, we are forming core teams that will play together from the beginning of their careers all the way through high school. It’s an advantage that top clubs promote and have had success with.

Another change we will be adopting come this spring is the academy approach in teaching soccer. Again, it is nothing new, but the way we will implement this will be unique. Paul Gruber, the Club’s director of coaching,  will share more about this in the months ahead as we start to form teams with registration soon opening for spring soccer.

By popular demand, Paul will hold another U6/U8 coach/parent training session prior to the spring season as well.

Stay tuned to this website to learn about other steps the Carlisle Soccer Club is taking to deliver a select-type experience at a recreational price. We’re serious about making soccer fun again!


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