By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching Instruction, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
It is sometimes difficult whatever the season to remain full of hope when you spend a huge amount of time involved in youth sports. I have recently been trying to spend time visiting all the leagues within the ENYYSA sharing some of the more brutal truths within the youth game. These truths make difficult reading.
1. 7 out of 10 youth players quit sport by 13 years of age.
2. Less than 10% of youth coaches in the U13 age group get any sort of coaching education.
3. For the first time in history, today’s youth will die younger than their parent’s generation according to a recent Nike report on the heath of the world’s children
Driven by the facts above and with a firm belief that we as a nation of coaches and parents simply cannot let this continue, I have produced an ENYYSA parent education piece. Please take the time to both watch the piece below and share it with as many parents and coaches as you can.
The message to the leagues I have visited so far is simple … together we can make a difference. Our aim is 10,000 views by Jan. 1 so please help out.
It is my hope that if enough people participate in our parent education project that in turn will lead to thousands of coaches wishing to get involved in coaching education which in turn will lead to a complete reversal in the numbers I started this article with. Imagine if only 1 out 10 players stopped playing by 13 (is even that acceptable?) and more than 90% of parent coaches at the U13 point had some type of coaching education… now that sounds like a world we would all like to live in.
I decided to finish this newsletter with a story of hope; I guess tis the season after all. Recently when presenting to the East Hudson Youth Soccer League, I heard the story of the Shrub Oak Athletic Club (SOAC). Less than 12 years ago, SOAC had around 300 recreation or intramural players and just four travel teams. They were losing players to other sports and other clubs. To their credit, those responsible in the club opted for drastic change. In addition to ensuring that players played in-house in an environment which stressed participation and player development rather than win at all costs, they also restructured the age groups so young children got to play year round with their age groups from their schools
The most dramatic and effective change was in their request that all travel coaches within 1 year of taking a team have a minimum of an F license. This change combined with the provision of lesson plans provided via e-mail for all coaches has helped the club flourish to a stage where they have over 600 recreation players and 16 travel teams. What a difference some education can make congratulations SOAC for being an example to all.
Best wishes to all the players, parents and administrators involved in the beautiful game