A high percentage of soccer clubs and organizations claim that their main focus is on player development, when in reality, many of these clubs place the primary focus on building teams that can win games, leagues, and tournaments. There is a huge difference in these two approaches. Here are just a few examples of what occurs when a club focuses primarily on building winning teams:
- They pigeonhole players in the same playing position week after week, neglecting the players’ need to learn other playing positions and develop crucial skills.
- They give less playing time to less advanced players.
- They pay more attention to the ‘better players’ and allow them to take all the free-kicks, corners, etc. and constantly play them in the main positions on the field.
- They are constantly trying to recruit players who can help them win.
Although many of these clubs will still claim their main focus is on player development the truth is they are not. With these clubs it is about what the player can do for the club, instead of what the club can do for the player!
A parent who wants the best for their child should consider the following: Do you want your child being used to facilitate the club’s (misguided) objectives and have your child’s individual needs neglected in the process? Or do you want your child in an organization where they’re doing what’s best for your child?
At NY Soccer Central the foundation of our philosophy is ‘what can we do for the players’ best interests, well-being, and long-term development?’ We strive to provide all players with a platform where they can independently problem solve, develop their creativity, and play with no fear.
It is essential that as parents and coaches we help to create a healthy and positive learning environment. We must constantly reflect on how we can improve the players’ experiences and enjoyment levels so that we can achieve our two main objectives which are:
1. To develop the players’ lifelong passion for the sport.
2. Allow players to explore their abilities and unlock their true potential.