February 5, 2008
Youth Soccer Coach Wanted -Only those with Patience and Perservarance Need Apply
Koach Karl brings you this article about the development of youth soccer players in the United States….
Youth Soccer Coach Wanted:
Only Those with Patience and Perseverance Need Apply
By Gary R. Allen
Virginia Youth Soccer Association Director of Coaching Education
Following are excerpts from an article in The Scientific American by Phillip E. Ross, dated July 24, 2006, entitled The Expert Mind. The article focused upon studies of the mental processes of chess grandmasters and clues to how people become experts in other fields as well. These excerpts can help us address some important points concerning the development of young soccer players in
"Simon coined a psychological laws of his own, the 10-year rule, which states that it takes approximately a decade of heavy labor to master any field."
The 10-year rule, or 10,000 hours rule, can be applied as easily to soccer as to chess. Each soccer game involves myriad of decisions, technical and physical challenges in an ever-changing environment, among and against other players of varying abilities, and in different stages of physical exhaustion. More than any other team sport, the game takes on the characteristics of those playing it, and requires development in all of the areas above: mental, physical, technical and social.
Kids develop at different rates in all of these areas. Both the game and the players themselves are complex. To help them fully develop their potential as players, we must allow them to unlock in numerous stages the many aspects of the game. As philosophers and numerous experts studying human development throughout many generations have discovered, experiencing, doing, is necessary for perceptual change to occur (Jean Jacques Rousseau—1712-1778), and learning and growth and development owe their efficiency to slow and inefficient experiencing that has gone on before (Dr. John Lawther).
It is the "slow and inefficient experiencing" that is captured by the 10-year rule concept. When one combines this truth with the complexity (continual decisions in a constantly changing environment) of a soccer game, it becomes apparent that we must allow and provide players time and opportunity to experiment over a long period of time, rather than seeking to accelerate their play by focusing primarily on the outcome of their games.
"Teachers in sports, music and other fields tend to believe that talent matters and that they know it when they see it. In fact, they appear to be confusing ability with precocity."
Sports history is rife with stories of the experts overlooking players who later, by sheer dint of their own will, became great athletes. In basketball, Michael Jordan was dropped from his high school basketball team as a sophomore. In soccer, Johan Cruyff did not draw attention until after his teen years. In fact, across the board, those trying to predict who will be the future stars have a dismal record. For example, studies in
Check back for Part II next week….