Assessments For Never Ending Improvement
Life's never ending challenge is to use our talents and resources to become the best we can be at whatever we choose to become. For talented young soccer players the single greatest limitation to becoming a world class player is the limited pool of professional soccer development programs with the highly qualified and dedicated experienced professional coaches and trainers who are:
For almost all players, coaches, referees and/or trainers, soccer will never be a full time professional career. They play for the love of the game and the opportunity to learn life's lessons so they can use their resources and talents to become their best in the career they are best qualified for.
Challenges in Real World Coaching and Training
In a perfect world everyone would have the same opportunity to learn from perfect coaches so that they would have the best chance of becoming an elite professional player, coach and/or teacher of the game. But in our real world there are few perfect opportunities, players, coaches or teachers and no guarantees of everyone having an equal opportunity.
Research studies document the majority of coaches and trainers teach the game based on how they were coached, what they see other coaches do and on outdated coaching text.
Meeting The Challenge
Most coaches, regardless of sport, teach players the same way they were taught, behave in the same way as coaches they played for and rely on traditional text on how to coach in their sport. Recent studies document advances in training and technology that can dramatically improve how a game is taught and played.
The mission of Soccer Game Sense is to:
Coaching Proverbs and Myths
Proverbs are often used to sell people on what you want them to do. For example:
Franz Beckenbauer, German National Team Player & Manager, observed:
Developmental Versus Chronological Age
Schools, sports and other activities use chronological age to define a child's peer group for their activities. The use of date of birth only doesn't take into consideration a child's intellectual, skeletal, physical, emotional and social maturity for determining the correct peer group for the child's activity.
For each type of maturity there is a normal range of up to 2 years between the average for the chronological peer group and the actual level of the individual child. For example, a child may be up to 2 years ahead of their chronological peers in intellectual maturity and up to 2 years behind in skeletal maturity.
In the 20th century schools taught language skills, spelling, multiplication tables and other subjects, including soccer, by rote repetition until the subject was learned. Soccer training text used in schools in the 20th century required rote repetition of soccer skills until they were mastered, but did not insist on Beckenbauer's always perfect repetitions.
In England, repetitive skills training has been replaced by programs like Manchester United's Coaching in Schools curriculum with emphasis on:
A 2012 European Research Study found 60.1% of players signing the highest paying professional contracts with teams in the 5 highest level professional leagues in Europe were late developers who reached physical maturity later than 78.2% of their chronological peers. In this study only 11.8% of early developers signed professional contracts with teams in the 5 highest level professional leagues.
The late developers survived playing with peers who reached physical maturity before them because their clubs taught them the understanding of the game required to survive playing with more physically mature peers.
Bibliography: - Research in Sports Medicine: 2014, October: 22(4): 398-407
Worldwide many players who reach physical maturity after their peers quit playing before they reach physical maturity. In the United States, with an emphasis on winning, 70% of all players quit playing by age 14.
Bibliography: - ESPN: 2013, July, 16:
Periodization for Performance and Development
Research shows that age appropriate "Periodization":
The 4 year range in developmental maturity within a chronological peer group of youth players dictates that all aspects of player maturity be considered in determining the workload for each player. For example:
The benefits of "Periodization" apply to all students and athletes. Studies document that parents who monitor their child's diet, sleep, rest, activities and social media access directly influence their child's performance and achievements in school, sports and other activities.
Retaining Youth Players
The percent of youth who quit a sport or activity by by U14 is 70%. The reasons given are usually negatives. Expressed as positives children want:
Game Assessments That Reward Effort and Success
Players improve most when their talents and what they need to learn to play better in games is correctly identified. A simple assessment system that rewards effort and success, correctly identifies contributions in games and encourages never ending improvement works best. Training must always be developmentally appropriate or the risk of injury is increased.
Some lessons a player needs to learn to become more successful, that are identified in game assessments, must be delayed until the player has the physical (skeletal and muscular), mental, emotional and/or decision making maturity necessary to safely and successfully learn the material.