Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays
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Metz

Good Coaching/bad Coaching

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My wife and I are in a quandry... Our 11-year old is on a high-performing Select 1 U-11 team. [they're in the top 6-8 teams in the state] He's receiving excellent coaching [generally] from a VERY intense coach. This man is a Christian who's unmarried and lives with his mother. He leads the team in prayer before games but then sometimes swears and harshly criticizes the kids. Parents [including us] have periodically spoken to him about it and his behavior improves, at least for a while. But recently, there's a new type of criticism he's using that's got us very concerned. Our son and one other boy are doing very well... so the coach has invited them to play with a "select" U-13 team that's also playing in a league with the top half dozen teams at that level in the state. The coach has begun to single out the two boys, in front of both teams [11s and 13s] during practice and after games for doing things "right." Ordinarily, this would sound like a good thing. However his comments are phrased something along the lines of "David and John are playing better than any of you" or "why can't you all be more like John and David?" We think this is wrong for several reasons but especially because of the danger of inflating the boys egos as well as the fact that it puts them at odds with the other boys in the groups... many are good friends. Our son is very driven and competitive and is learning so much good soccer from this coach and the level of play really is excellent. Our older son plays at the high school level on an established team and they're not using many of the tactics, techniques and teamwork that these U-11 & 12s are. Please know, I'm not trying to brag about my kid... I'm just trying to demonstrate the step down [in technical terms] my son would likely be taking by leaving the program. But after having spoken to the coach before and seen little improvement in his coaching behavior, we're considering alternatives. But the alternative are unknowns... and all would have drawbacks... long commutes, unknown kids and coaches, more money, etc. Our primary concern has always been, and will continue to be, raising our son to be a good Christian young man. But if we can give him an opportunity to be a good soccer player [which can open many doors] we'd like to. Before we confront the coach [again], I thought I'd throw this out for feedback... maybe someone on this forum might have some ideas that we haven't considered. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. God bless...

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Metz,

You have a tough unique situation on your hands. I have experienced what you are talking about in another sense. My son was playing club soccer on a D1 team and with 3 other kids we just got to the point where the travel every weekend got to be too much. The next season we moved him to a D2 team that only travelled locally and compated to the D2 talent there was just no comparison and the training was just not of the level that he was getting on the other team. So for us it was a big mistake and a long season.

From the experience if your son is getting excellent coaching and is developing I would probably sit down and have a heart to heart with the trainer and tell him what you expect and the problems you see with the current method and then stay on top of it. I would hesitate to pull him out of that situation.

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