Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Child development v parent glory

davidscwnewDuring the off season I spend a lot of my time at tournaments and I often look around for new players who, for whatever reason, have not fitted in with their clubs and face a season out in the cold.

Last year my club had been offered a number of players from rivals that were closing down. Three of these players were in an age group I was coaching and I was asked if I could fit them into my team. This was fine as I had a number of tournaments ahead and was looking for players to come along for a bit of fun and show me that they were up for playing in my team.

The next tournament was a six-aside affair and so the three new players would have a great deal of influence on the game and could let me see how interested they really were in playing for the club. I didn’t have any idea where they played on the pitch but because of the small-sided games, they would have to play in every position – again an ideal scenario because all my players swap positions during a season.


Dani Alves training fun with Barcelona

Of course, they all told me they play up front. The team performed really well but one of the parents did take it upon himself to voice his disapproval. “He doesn’t play in defence, hasn’t anyone told the coach?”

The player in question played very well during the first half but the parent kept up his banter.

“You don’t play in defence but you’ll just have to get on with it and do your best,” he said in his best stage whisper. The player looked across at me and we laughed.

“Is it right you’ve never played in defence?” I asked him at halftime.

“No,” he smiled, “I’ve played there plenty of times – I like playing there.”

So the second half started. “In defence again, that’s crazy!” shouted the parent. Eventually I did move him into midfield much to the parent’s delight and he played well there too, so it was a great game for me to watch him and to see that he was already able to play in more than one position.

His dad was wrong in wanting his son to play up the pitch to have the glory of scoring goals – just ask defenders like Dani Alves at Barcelona or Nathaniel Clyne at Liverpool if they hate being stuck in defence. There are all sorts of pressures heaped on young players and dads should try to support children wherever they are on the pitch. They should help them to learn all the positions because it helps with their development.


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