Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All coaches should coach U9 or below

A friend of mine, Stuart Neely,  has coached at the international level and been involved with the youth academies of three different professional clubs.  He said something to me once that never escaped me but I didn't realize how important it was until this past Monday night.

His words were "anybody serious about coaching should always stay involved with the youngest players in some capacity".  His meaning was that you can sometimes get led away from the very basics of coaching when you move up levels and these young players bring you right back to square one, probably the most important place to be as a coach.

Over the past 5 weeks I've been working with a clinic for players U8-10.  I have to admit I was struggling with the lesser experienced U8 players and some in that group are very very raw.  Two weeks ago I felt I made some progress and last night I walked off the field feeling good.  During our warm-up and functional portion I felt they were really starting to understand what we were doing (dribbling and turns).  We got into 1v1 games and that showed more progress and the 6v6 game at the end told me they were catching on (with more work to do).

It's a funny relationship with younger players.  Not only can you feel yourself getting frustrated with their progress, you can feel the players getting frustrated with you at times.

The gentleman helping me , Coach Nilan, is helping with the Welland U9 boys this summer and I was glad he made this journey with me, to appreciate the work and persistence involved in coaching younger players.

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