Watford Youth Sports
Watford Youth Sports

Youth footy feature

Parent pressure

It has become increasingly more apparent that Parents are driving decisions about the direction of Youth Sport. The impact of this shift is that the needs and interests of the Parents often supersede the needs and interests of the Players. Social power, ego, future financial gain, and the child's perceived athletic prowess and possibilities are just some of the reasons why some Parents have turned the fun and wonderment of children's play into a competitive cauldron. Despite the arguments, protests and pleas of those educated in the field of child development, the "parent knows best" mentality is imposing adult models on youth sport, with alarming consequences. It is strongly suggested that communities examine their reasons for organizing youth soccer and question the degree to which their program is driven by Parents interests at the expense of the children.

As sport becomes more organized, coaches feel more pressure to win. Without a firm appreciation for the long - term nature of player development, it follows that the instructions offered to Players are driven by the pressure to reduce the risk of losing goals. Dribbling is discouraged in favour of passing and players are told to avoid dwelling on the ball. Defenders are strategically positioned in front of the goalkeeper to ensure at least two bodies are in place when an attacker bursts out of the ubiquitous mob. Direct play is safer and therefore preferred. Free movement of players in support of team mates is restricted by many and expressly forbidden by others. In short, the technical, tactical and emotional needs of the individuals are often supplanted by the emotional needs of the coach, whose self -worth and perceived value are generally equated with winning percentage. This scenario repeats itself at the grassroots level and at the more advanced level. As soccer has become more organized, soccer players have become less "free" to enjoy the game in a manner that satisfies their principle of fun through play, and then they quit, in droves.

Our ability to maximise precious player resources and improve the overall quality of the youth soccer experience is dependent on informed and committed adults having the courage to give youth soccer back to children.


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