Respect for the ball

Here’s a couple good highlights from this 3Four3 podcast with a soccer dad.

Words of wisdom, from a soccer dad to his daughter about how to approach the game:

Respect the game. Respect your opponent. Respect your teammates. And, have respect for the ball.

I learned when I was coaching that one of the toughest things to convince kids and parents from non-soccer backgrounds was to have respect for the ball.

Kicking the ball down the field works early on. Why mess with the “fancy” stuff?

Having respect for the ball and learning to master it doesn’t produce immediate results. It won’t improve your game that much next week or over the course of a season, but it builds over time.

On playing pickup:

The thing that really irritates is street [i.e. pickup soccer] or futsal that’s not free…and that is artificially created to be super safe and it never works. It has the opposite effect. You might as well be playing club soccer because the same people are running it. Not say club soccer is bad. It’s not. We obviously play it.

But it has to be organic. It has to be free flowing. It has to come from the right place.

And, the players who are participating on it, at some level, have to get it. And the parents have to to get it and see the value in it.

If you don’st see the value in it, then it’s a real hard sell.

People ask all the time, you know, ‘futsal and street, what’s the point? You’re going to get hurt. It’s just for fancy footwork and they’re not really scoring goals and what do you see the benefit of it.’

Well, if I have to explain to you, then it’s not worth it, because you don’t get it. Sometimes it’s not always about the results, it’s about the process.

If you boil it down, street and maybe futsal to a lesser extent, is soccer. So, if you got a kid that can go play street for 4 hours, well maybe that’s the sacrifice for that week and maybe the [club] game isn’t.

But the sell for that is real difficult.

That 4 hours of street ball is more true soccer time than the average club soccer kids get over the course of a season.

Playing pickup in any sport is an important dimension to development. The best basketball players spend countless hours on their driveway hoops and in the park with friends.

For some reason, that lesson doesn’t seem to translate well to soccer, until its too late.

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