Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Top 10 mistakes parents make about sport

David ClarkeBy David Clarke

Parents have a big influence on the type of player their child becomes. Parents have powerful emotions generated through their involvement with their children, which can be both positive enablers and negative barriers.

These will have wide-ranging and long-lasting influences on those young players. Parents need to look at the “big picture” issues and responsibilities, and not fall into making the common mistakes which abuse this power.

Top 10 mistakes

  1. Taking their child’s sport experience too seriously, and not mixing in the appropriate levels of fun and recreation.
  2. Expecting perfection in their child.
  3. Living vicariously – as though they were taking part themselves – through their child’s sport experiences.
  4. Making negative comments about other children, parents or coaches.
  5. Having an unrealistically overblown assessment of their child’s talent.
  6. Contradicting the advice and guidance of their child’s teachers, trainers and coaches, leading to the child being confused and torn in loyalties.
  7. Failing to realise when their child is developing their skills rather than being competitive.
  8. Failing to see the value of sports lessons as preparation for life itself.
  9. Not realising that their child can learn valuable sport and life lessons even when they lose.
  10. Labelling their child a choker or other name.

The secret to beating a static defence

One of the things I am constantly coaching my teams to do is to pass the ball into space behind the opposition defenders.
By playing a ball from midfield into an attacker he has the option to turn and run or try to make space for the shot or pass first time behind the defenders so one of his team-mates can run on to it.
In this video the AC Milan players at last year¹s Champions Youth Cup Final played Ajax ­ the kings of the pass ­ at their own game and scored a goal by playing the ball into space behind the defence. The Milan forward reacted quickest and had time to round the goalkeeper and finish into the net.



Dwyer Scullion, Better Soccer Coaching Publisher

dwyerscullion1.jpgHi there,

My name is Dwyer Scullion and I’m the publisher here at Better Soccer Coaching. I’m going to be posting my thoughts and views on a wide range of coaching–related topics in the months ahead and I thought I’d kick-off by telling you a bit about myself.

As publisher it’s my job to develop our range of publications to reflect the needs of grassroots coaches around the world. I’m also responsible for the commercial success of our publications and this involves making sure that everything we do is as good as it can be.

The best thing about my job is that I get to talk to and work with some great coaches – Tony Carr at the West Ham academy, Mike Beale at Chelsea, our very own David Clarke, and others. I also coach my local U8s side here in my home village in Oxfordshire, England. On Monday afternoons I usually work on editing Dave Clarke’s copy for Better Soccer Coach Weekly. Then on Monday evening I coach my team, so I get to take fresh ideas straight “off the press” and onto the training pitch.

I’m strictly an amateur coach. My background is in publishing. I left university with a philosophy degree (can’t quite remember why) and I’ve been working in publishing ever since. My publishing experience before meeting Andy (our MD) was more in the areas of law and accountancy. But I’ve been coaching youth soccer for 6 years now and that combined with my publishing experience made the chance to work at Better Soccer Coaching irresistible.

As far as playing goes, the truth is I was never that good. I was quick and quite skilful, but I never liked to be tackled and tended to crumple helplessly to the floor at the merest bump from an opponent (not diving you understand, just a wimp).

My main interest (obsession) outside of publishing and soccer is music. I’ve played guitar since the age of 9 and I just can’t stop. I play in a number of bands and I have a little attic-based home recording studio where I play and record all the instruments myself. I’m very interested in the recording process and I like to get out and record many different kinds of performers and sounds in different settings.

As regards musical genres, I don’t seem to have a filter – I like it all but I’m not going to name names to avoid ridicule. The way I see it, there’s 100 years of recorded music out there and not nearly enough time to listen to it all.

I’m a confirmed Liverpool FC addict. Maybe it’s the red shirts, or the Liverpool/Beatles thing – I don’t know, and I’m not actually from Liverpool – but they’ve always been my team. The first match I can remember watching on TV with my father and his mates was the 1974 FA Cup Final when Liverpool beat Newcastle United 3-0 (Kevin Keegan scored). And I remember getting a free poster of the team with the following morning’s newspaper. I’ve loved Liverpool ever since. I’ve been to Anfield a few times and I’ve seen them on their travels around the country. It’s my aim now to make sure that my son gets to go to Anfield before they move to their new stadium (so if anyone can help with tickets?).

Like most of you I love to watch fast, free-flowing attacking soccer as it’s played in England and Spain. I’m less keen on the Italian style although I do enjoy the tactical battles between the top Italian teams. The English Premier League these days is a great combination of gung-ho, let’s-score-more-than-them attitude mixed with imaginative tactical manoeuverings and some of the best players and coaches in the world. It really is mesmerising.

My U8s side are just as entertaining (really) so I’m loving my soccer these days and I’m looking forward to keeping you posted on our progress.

I really hope you enjoy this blog site and I’m looking forward to hearing your views, comments and suggestions.

All the best to you and your team

Dwyer Scullion
Better Soccer Coaching Publisher