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The Soccer Sidelines

131 EpisodesProduced by David DejewskiWebsite

Join Coach Dave on the sidelines as he brings you in on what’s going on behind the scenes and the stuff that really matters in youth sports. Understand the game, development, and ways you can support your young athlete at home!

14:44

#10 – How to Be Intentional About Development

After the crowds go home, the final scores are tallied, and our youth athletes leave the field for the last time, it's on to real life. Whatever education they were able to pick up; coupled with the tools they got from their youth sports, home life, volunteer, and other club activities; are all that our kids have to dress themselves with as they enter the workforce.If former players have a good grasp on the most important things: teamwork, initiative, drive, work ethic, empathy, positive self-talk, self-discipline, etc. they are going to have a noticeable advantage over peers who don't. They going to handle stress better, use mistakes as teachers and not be demoralized by them, collaborate better, rise faster in the ranks, etc. If we accept the premise that youth sports add value in the form of life skills to our kid's lives, then we have to consider how we might go about being intentional about developing those skills. Leaving them to serendipity seems to me a weak position to take on something so important.The question is How. How can we be intentional about something that happens inside our player's hearts and minds? A lot has been written about the physical impact on young bodies by sport. In this episode, we explore a good article published in June of 2013 in the Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine titled Youth Sport: positive and negative impact on young athletes. The Author, Donna L Merkel, did some research and found, for example, a strong correlation between youth sports and health. She speaks about the positives such as youth sports effect on reducing the obesity problem in our kids, how it decreases the risk for a number of diseases like heart disease and diabetes. And she mentions negatives like increased risk for repetitive or overuse injuries and the damaging psychological effects of being exposed to parents that place too much emphasis on winning.She does mention lifelong lessons, but the treatment of this aspect of sports is lighter - almost in passing. She says: "It appears that an emphasis on fun while establishing a balance between physical fitness, psychologic well-being, and lifelong lessons for a healthy and active lifestyle are paramount for success." The lifelong lessons she calls out are related to a healthy and active lifestyle. I've not yet found a great deal written about the more mundane life lessons that I think youth sports equips our kids with.This isn't uncommon in studies. The development we're hoping for is te kind that will help our young people become successful in life no matter what they do: bankers, teachers, public safety... We want superstars who understand teamwork, empathy, cooperation, and integrity.How do we get intentional about this kind of development? That's the key question to answer, right? Leaving something this important to serendipity doesn't make sense to me. What are some practical things we can do to pull this level of foundational development from the shadows and into the light?In this episode, I tell you what I've done so far, and I invite you to leave a comment - either in the comment section of the podcast app you're using to listen to this program. In either case, I want to hear about what you or you're Club is doing to make character development an explicit part of your youth sports experience.For me, I wanted our program to be as explicit and easy to use as the United Soccer Coaches 5 stages of development model.  USC has tables we can point to. We can print one out, put our finger on the age we’re working with, and scroll down the column to find all of the skills we’re supposed to be working on in that year. As a coach, I find this really helpful for planning and as a reference.Why don’t we see sportsmanship, respect, or empathy on a chart like this? Why can’t I run my finger down and column and find exactly what I’m supposed to be working on to help my players develop solid character skills I know they will need when they enter the workforce?

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