Culture shifts the soccer talent bell curve to the right

In the previous post, I wrote about how Jimmy Conrad described on the 3Four3 podcast how he took the reigns to improve at soccer as a youth.

In my experience, only a tiny percentage of players take ownership of their game, until it’s too late.

As a coach, I experimented with lots ways to get kids to take ownership because I figured it would accelerate their progress over just showing up to practice.

But, I couldn’t find anything that stuck.

For example, I assigned simple homework hoping the players would see how that extra work improved their performance and spark motivation to do more.

They saw the improvement. But, it didn’t take long before they stopped. “Hey Johnny, are you keeping at your homework?”

“Nah, Coach. I’ve been playing for three years and things are just clicking for me, I don’t think the homework was helping.”

The beauty of a strong soccer culture is that it teaches kids the sport’s important skills without them ever knowing it. It does it while they are having fun and bonding with their friends and family.

Culture doesn’t need to convince kids about delayed gratification and working hard to improve. It teaches them while they are having fun and bonding with their friends and family.

It does this with simple activities, like monkey-in-the-middle and juggling, pickup soccer, and generational transfers of knowledge through all-ages activities.

The U.S. has this in baseball, basketball and soccer. We start learning to throw and catch a baseball very young. By age 10, most kids can do it well. We attribute that to improving coordination

But, pay close attention to a 10-year-old, or 30-year-old, who never played catch, and you might be convinced of the simple game’s uncanny ability to serve several purposes: have fun, bond and also shift the talent pool of baseball players to the right.


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