Youth Soccer

Youth soccer: We’re doing it wrong, Part 1

Scott Pugh begins a new series discussing some of the most important problems facing youth soccer (between the ages of about 5-13). Much of the ideas and content are derived from the work of Paul Mairs and Richard Shaw in their essential book, Coaching Outside the Box.

The questions

While waiting for my 8-year-old son to finish training on a recent night at my local indoor soccer facility, I sat down with my younger son to watch the finals of a U-10 tournament.

What I witnessed, frankly, disturbed me.

I saw 9-year-olds being screamed at by irate parents and coaches. I saw teammates yelling blame at each other with tears in their eyes. I saw some of them so tense and afraid of making a mistake that they could barely take a swing at the ball. I saw parents cursing each other out on the sidelines.

And I had only been watching for five minutes.

What am I getting my boys into? Are these supposedly “best” soccer clubs in the area the place I really want my children to grow into and learn about the sport I love so dearly? Is this good for kids? Does this make them better players?

I love soccer. I grew up in a soccer family and have played all my life. My kids really like it too, and are just starting to enter the world of youth soccer development. How can I ensure that they enjoy their experience? Are they talented enough to make it? How can I as a parent help them succeed in the sport? And what exactly do “talent” and “success” mean anyway?

I am also a pediatrician. Having decent knowledge of early childhood development and psychology, I’m often asked by parents about decisions that must be made concerning their family’s involvement in soccer. When is too early for travel programs? Is it bad to commit to a single sport? Am I driving them too hard? Should I push them even though they say they don’t want to play?

Soccer has been the No. 1 youth sport for several decades now in one of the richest and most populous countries in the world, and yet, we can all agree that we still have a long way to go before we match the level of countries that have but a fraction of our resources. Why?

I’ve had the privilege of living and playing soccer in Italy, one of the world’s biggest producers of soccer stars, and their youth soccer environment looks nothing like the scene I witnessed above. In the US, nearly 80 percent of the children who play soccer drop out before they reach 13. That is a staggering amount of children deciding that soccer isn’t for them anymore. What’s going on here?

The plan

During this offseason, I intend to write a weekly series on the current problems with youth soccer. We’ll discuss how children develop and explore the nature of talent. We’ll examine the best use of games and the problematic nature of tournaments. We’ll challenge conventional wisdom on playing time, positions and “playing up.” And we’ll put parents and coaches under the microscope in hopes of creating the healthiest developmental environment possible.

I hope it will be an interesting read not only for parents like myself, but for coaches and fans of the sport as well. I imagine some of these ideas may ruffle a few feathers, but I believe they are in need of a little ruffling. Perhaps we can shake the dust off a bit and not just keep doing things “the way they’ve always been done.”

That being said, I have only just entered the world of youth soccer. While growing up the son of a very successful youth soccer coach, I myself have never done any formal coaching. I hold no USSF licenses. I’ve never had to endure being yelled at by an overzealous parent on the sidelines or dealt with the pressure to succeed as a coach. I would never criticize any person who volunteers their time to help kids play soccer. But for those who do make a living off of youth soccer, I think the parents, and most importantly the kids, deserve the best we can offer them.

While I stand by everything I am about to write, I cannot take credit for the ideas and research that has gone into the topic. There are experts worldwide who devote their entire lives to the research of youth development, talent and sports achievement. Much of what I will write about is heavily influenced by (and borrowed from) the work of Paul Mairs and Richard Shaw in their book, Coaching Outside the Box, essential reading on the topic, in my opinion. Their vast collection of both empirical research and expert opinion conveys a convincing indictment of the current youth soccer system. I hope to bring justice to their message.

It goes without saying that not everyone is “doing it wrong.” Things have definitely improved since my early days of playing. I feel especially fortunate and grateful to the volunteers and coaches that my children have so far encountered.

And with that, I hope to have you drop by next week. I encourage you to contribute your ideas and wisdom over the next several weeks and to please invite others into the conversation as well. I won’t pretend to know all the answers, but the more people that talk about these issues, the better.

For Part Two of the series, click here.

57 Comments

  1. Check out the FCBEscola in Florida or even the Barcelona-themed soccer camps run throughout the country. They do it totally different. Development, positioning, tactics, etc. Very little competition/tournaments at the younger ages. Even when they do have scrimmages, the Barca coaches stop the game often to go over tactics and options. Strategy and how to play the game properly trumps winning a league game.

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Great Article! I’ve been coaching for 10 years and to put in bluntly, parents are for the most part idiots. They live vicariously through their children and everyone thinks their kids are going to be the next Messi. I tell parents straight up, if you want your kid to get a scholarship, get a math tutor! I’ve gotten flak from my U8 parents this fall (brand new team of 2nd graders mind you) becaue we aren’t “playing to win”. I’ve gotten complaints about my roster size (carrying 14 because we only have 1 travel team), playing time (everyone plays equal playing time), positions(everyone rotates to learn them all), practice sessions( why do you practice everything in tight spaces when the field is so big?)etc. I simply tell parents that I volunteer to teach, I don’t get paid to win. In European academies, they don’t even let the parents attend the games at the younger ages, they have the right idea!

    • It sounds like you’re doing it the right way, Dan.
      I coach a grade school team and some YMCA rec teams. Each time I start a new season, I tell the parents succinctly, this team is not putting winning first. It’s about sportsmanship and letting kids be kids. I can honestly say that the kids I’ve coached have loved playing for me, even though we don’t have any trophies anywhere.
      Adults (coaches and parents) have developed an unhealthy sense of competition, and it is exhibited at the expense of our children.
      Effort and Sportsmanship. If you show me those 2 things on the field, we will have fun, and we’ll even learn how to play the game.

      Scott, I cannot wait for your series of articles. I hope the message is received by the necessary audience.

  3. good stuff, another resource to follow is http://changingthegameproject.com/

    Hopefully with more and more people realizing the error of our ways things will slowly start to change…

  4. Great stuff, Scott.
    .
    “I saw teammates yelling blame at each other with tears in their eyes.”
    .
    I’m only a third-rate volunteer who coaches because somebody has to. But every time I see this sort of thing, a little part of me dies inside. From day 1 every season, I make it clear this isn’t acceptable; we play as a team, win as a team, and lose as a team. If the other team scores a goal, it’s not the goalie’s “fault.” It’s our fault. I can’t stand the blame game. I’m far more interested in seeing kids pick each other up and support each other.
    .
    I also make it clear to my parents that blame is unacceptable, even if they’re blaming the ref. Refs miss calls; ignore it. Cheer for your son or daughter, and their teammates, or go sit in the car. We celebrate successes – whether “success” is scoring 20 goals or making a big save or just going out there and trying even when you’re afraid to fail.
    .
    I’m far more interested in teaching kids the value of teamwork, effort, respect, and learning from mistakes rather than winning some rinky dink plastic trophy for winning the “championship” at our in-house league. Sure, winning is nice. But I won’t win at the expense of those other things. I think I have the right idea, since every year I’m told parents beg to get their kids put on my team.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Good on you, John! In an age where “me,me,me…” is seemingly everywhere, it’s nice to see and commend those that are trying to fight that mentality. Well played, gaffa!!

    • I don’t at all have a problem with a teammate holding another player accountable. None. Tears and all. This is where the hierarchy of leadership arises- it is incumbent on the coach to mold the responses properly. We here in America so touchy feely.
      .
      What I have a problem with is parents thinking for their kids on the field. Screaming like FUCKING idiots thereby creating more tension in an activity that like all sports requires instant processing of information. Hey parents – cool it. Go have a coffee.

      • The Black Hand says:

        It depends on how far they go with the blame game.
        .
        As for the parents, I agree. The loudest ones are those that know the least. That said, my father (not the coach) once pulled me off the pitch, at age 6, because I didn’t push my back line up and play my opponent offside. (He was right…but I was 6.) There is a fine line between reaching kids and missing kids. Luckily, my old man reached me and I ended up playing the game. Too many of these vocal parents don’t know shit and are simply putting pressure on their kids to be ‘the best’ and, in many cases, ruining the game for their children.

      • you guys are correct….the most annoying parents are the one’s who don’t know squat. Most dad’s and mom’s who grew up in the game sit and watch objectively. Kids should be playing 5 v5 and 8v8 until they are 11-12. Its all about development until age 12….then things start to get complicated. What worries me is….development at what cost? No killer instincts and a sanitized way of playing? I say this because the development argument has creeped into U-12 and U-13…….they should be learning tactics and how to win a match at that point.

      • Age and context are important when it comes to holding players accountable. What’s okay on a high school team is vastly different than what I’d deem okay on a U9 team. Kids at that age should be free to try things on a soccer field and fail. That should be encouraged, not subjected to blame and ridicule should it fail. On the flip side, someone not putting in the effort, not supporting the team, or just generally being a distraction should be held accountable. As a youth coach, I have no problem with well intentioned mistakes. I would only take issue and hold kids accountable for character issues like lack of effort or poor sportsmanship. I do think we have a responsibility to teach that and hold everyone accountable there.

      • Age is a big factor, absolutely. Scott’s example was a 9 year old. In my opinion, it’s completely uncalled for at that age. Or an example I faced this year: a 12 year old berating a 10 year old because she accidentally twice committed a handball in the box, and so we “only” won the game 7-4 instead of 7-2. The 12 year old got pulled from the game and watched the last 5 minutes or so from the sideline. (And, for whatever it’s worth, got chewed out by his mother nearly the whole time for the way he treated his teammate.)
        .
        Should a teammate have said something to her, along the lines of, “Hey – keep your hands down” or such? Sure. But there are better ways to do than standing on the 18 and berating the poor girl to the point of tears. We’re not talking about a kid who’s going to ever even play for the high school team, or even the middle school team.
        .
        So, sorry Joel. I disagree with you on this one. There’s no need for it. And in my experience it divides the team rather than doing anything to pull them together and learn to play as a team.

      • You bet John no worries I appreciate your POV I like a kid with fire in his belly and an absolute distaste for losing. .
        .
        The behavior can be molded towards the mean of constructivity as the child ages. Give me a kid who hates losing any day.

      • Joel, thats why the rest of the worls is ahead of us and no one wants to address it. The kids abroad grow up poor and in working class neighborhoods where they have had to fight for everything from birth. Our kids are generally privelaged kids from middle, upper class backgrounds who have had everything given to them. Entitlement abounds. Thats the reason the rest of the world is better. Its the poor man’s sport everywhere but here! Kids abroad have much higher stakes to succeed…they can get their families out of poverty. Here, thats not an issue in footy. In the States, the kids like that play American football and basketball…..for the same reasons.

      • And I’m not bashing parents here because they do well for themselves and their families……God Bless people for raising kids their kids comfortably. Just pointing out a cultural difference between Europe, South America, and the US. Thats all.

      • It’s two things- encouraging your teammate and pushing them. At that age the best kids probably need to focus on the encouragement skill, not telegraph the angry passion from the sideline.

  5. The Realist Brian says:

    You are completely correct. I would point you to three development tools/resources that have impacted my approach with my 4 year old.
    .
    1. Tom Byers work in Japan focusing on the 2-9 year olds is essential reading. The biggest take away is our technical ability in this country (and Asia) is lacking. Parental education is key, and letting them know that their kids should have a small ball (juggling and/or tennis ball) and dribbling it around their house is key to their development using all parts of their foot and changing direction. To many kids are just told to kick the ball. Have fun and let the kids play in the house. Throw balls to the to get them to trap it. This is huge, and we don’t do enough of it. I have my 4 year old son in Soccer Shots and LMSC for clinics/training, and I work with him throughout the week on foot skills. The cool thing is he is having fun and dribbling with cut back moves and pull backs against older kids, and his coaches are blown away by it. Other parents ask what’s the secret, and I tell them to get a ball under their foot and work on pull backs and changing direction, and make it fun for them!

    2. Fundido and Rondos- if you don’t know what this is, look it up. This creates touch and thinking.
    .
    3. Right size the game for the appropriate ages. One problem I have seen with Soccer Shots and LMSC is they have two many young kids (4-5.5 age) play 6v6 or 8v8. This needs to change to 2v2 or 3v3 so that kids develop faster. US soccer has that as part of their curriculum, and clubs do not enforce it. I have watched Fishtown and a few other clubs and they don’t use the appropriate numbers. That is something I will push to change locally as well.
    .
    One final thing, as a city dweller, we have an amazing dearth of soccer fields in the city. Or places to train. It is super frustrating, and this has to change. Penn has turf, but it is hard to get on. Drexel sucks with their key card field. We need more places to play soccer in the city. New York has a ton of turf fields, and their is always pick up games. We need that here desperately. Our parks have grass fields that are over grown in the summer. Or bumpy dirt fields with needles on them. This has to change.

    • Kids need to be touching the ball all the time. All you need is a ball and some music and a little space and an imagination to create goofy games and a smile. We are in the driveway busting ankles everyday- panna all the time- multiple gols for changes of direction and choice and creating the notion of going one way when you really are going the other, the notion of scoring in one gol breeds zero skills and zero creativity. Beyond that anywhere that coaches to TRUE SSG is the place for your kid.

    • Spot on, Brian. Tom Byers is a really smart guy. Time on the ball when a player is young is key. There’s no need to teach positions or tactics with kids under 9, their minds aren’t formed enough to grasp those concepts yet. Just give them a ball and let them learn how to control/move with it.

      • George I am inclined to disagree. The basic structure of a triangle or diamond can and IMO should be educated into children and believe this can easily happen at the 7 and 8 year old age whether through specific SSG that are designed to create that spacing or by quick explanation and return demonstration.
        .
        I thnk if kids were playing pick up all the time the spacing notion would be one self evident to them, as the game being best teacher, but they are not playing all the time and therefore need to be taught by proper teachers how to space themselves in short amounts of on the ball time. Futbol is not a game of random or chaos- it is more like jazz based on certain laws of movement that are able to be improvised as the game at hand dictates.
        .
        Kids lacking of the most basic rudimentary tactical understanding of the triangle 3v2 3v3 or diamond 4v4, 4v3 or 4v2 is one major reason we are STILL so far behind the rest of the imperial footballing countries.
        .
        Again in my opinion. This is a touchy grey area defined by our specific views of the game and how it should be played and taught.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        Ah, that comes with right sizing the teams for their ages. I watch intramural and club soccer on the weekends, and there is the constant blob (kids bunched up), and you are right about coaching some spacing. The easiest way to get them to spread out is if there are fewer kids on the field and playing smaller sided games. The game is the best teacher, and playing 3v3 or 4v4 makes kids have to play with the ball at their feet, and be somewhat responsible to defend.
        .
        So quick story, I am working for a new boss, and she has a 10 year old playing soccer, and she knows that I live the game and played/coached at a decent level. She told me he LOVES to learn moves from youtube and CR9, Neymar and Messi, and he tries them during games. His coaches yell at him to pass the ball every time, and she admitted that she talks to him to stop doing it (the further creation of robots). I let her know that she should be encouraging that, and looking to do it (the kid plays forward for Christ’s sake and the coaches are yelling at him to pass first, wtf???) I told her to let him play in the house, work on trapping the ball, moving in space and score some goals to shut the coach up 😉 Now she wants me to come out and watch a practice in Elkins Park.

      • Yup. I go so far as to think 5 and 6 year olds should be scoring in 2 gols.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        I have one better for you. Funino (sorry misspelled it on my iPhone). This is a game of 4 goals and the kids score a ton of goals and learn super quick from it.
        .
        http://www.cbcdutchtouch.com/images/FUNINOYouthDevelopmentprogram.pdf

      • Joel, I understand your point but the youth coaches at Barcelona have said the same thing that I have. Kids that young are too self centered to understand the concepts of space and positioning so you’re better off just letting them play with the ball until they’re 8-9 years old.

  6. The Black Hand says:

    Good read, Scott. It would help greatly if many of our youth coaches had an understanding of how the game is played. We have these hacks (not all, but many) molding our young football-minds and by doing so, planting the wrong seeds. In many cases, that damage cannot be undone.

    • The Black Hand says:

      “Hack” was the wrong choice of word and I apologize to any who took offense to it.
      .
      My point is: For the game to be truly understood in this country, it needs to be taught by those who know the game. We are making strides in the right direction, but are still light-years behind.

  7. If you watch Barca Youth Academy play the parents barely even pay attention. For them, the parent, it is an opportunity to socialize with other adults and let the kid be free- pausing from their conversations to occasionally applaud a gol.
    .
    Is there anything more that needs to be said?

  8. I’ve been coaching for a couple of decades at all levels. I don’t have a single license and rely solely on my experience. One year, coaching U-10’s I held my pre-season parent’s meeting and told the parents I don’t care about winning at this age and that my job was to teach fundamentals, instill a love for the game and create a unity among the boys. I lost several parents after that meeting and eventually ended up with only 8 kids on a 8 v 8 team. To this day those 8 boys count that season as the best they ever had. They don’t remember their record or the score of any games. Just the fun we had and the people they had fun with. Man was I glad I said those words.
    Most kids aren’t going to be professionals or even college players. To focus on where they might be or never be for that matter, is a mistake. I tell parents to enjoy the moment. If you play your whole youth soccer and never play in HS or college that doesn’t diminish the experience. Its still a great experience that should be savored and valued.
    I’m done. Great article.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Well said.

    • Amen, sir.
      I feel bad for the children of the parents that left your meeting. But I’m glad the remaining kids got so much out of it. That’s what it should be about.

    • I appreciate this POV as well, and comment specifically to the notion that some posters have undersold winning IMO. The point of a game is to win- so while I recognize the importance of development- they certainly do not have to be exclusive of one another.
      .

      • The Black Hand says:

        The desire to win is why we have sport.

      • agreed. Sport should be the one bastion of the truest form of social darwinism……..survival of the fittest! But we can’t have that in 2015 America, right comrade? Lol!

      • The Black Hand says:

        Hahaha…well played. If this were the 1950’s, I’d be in a bit of a pickle.

      • I don’t disagree with the focus on winning, but not elevating that above learning and enjoyment at age 9. When the player gets older then winning matters more
        .

  9. Not all 20 million kids that play soccer in this country need to be in a Youth Academy system. A large percentage of them just want to get out and play the game. There is absolutely no need to force an Academy-like structure on a kid who would otherwise just be sitting in his house playing games on his phone.

    There was an article on here recently about increasing the amount of Rec Leagues (this may have been Scott, as well). That was a fantastic idea. Allow more kids to play in an environment more suited to letting kids have fun. If there are kids who show exceptional or advanced abilities, then they can join the traveling programs. There, they can receive the advanced training that is available.

    The notion that we need to strengthen “training sessions” (they’re kids, it’s called “practice”) for everyone, is ridiculous. Don’t chase kids away with too much intensity. Include as many kids as you can be letting kids be kids.

    • This is also a grey area. I’m all to more free recreation play but I am also all for the deeper rooting of the academy system. My concerns lie with the educator talent pool. This is where US Soccer needs to mandate a set way of coaching, say it with me folks- Vision. Philosophy. Plan. – that has the game being taught with minimal expense to the 5 million young kids who do want to play and learn and get to the bottom of things with their ability.
      .
      We need to rethink our licensing IMO .
      .
      The curriculum needs to be very very very specific with very very tight parameters on tactics. This is the science. The art comes with the coaches who make it the most fun and reach each kid to make them individually the best they can be and as a group the best they can be.
      .
      More recreation soccer for sure for all kids too though. But if that isn’t being taught right…..

      • Your assumption is that there are enough people who want to coach the 20 million kids, and who will be qualified to do so. I think in a moment of clear thinking, we can all realize that volume of coaches doesn’t exist.
        In lieu of turning “Children’s Soccer Coach” into a valid career choice, there needs to be more freedom to let kids play.
        I’m all for the serious training and travel, but for the kids who want it and need it. Not for the parents who feel that there kids need it.

      • BANG! You nailed it dude. Coaching the youth is very highly regarded in Europe. Just as, or more important, than the first team. It is a lucrative and highly respected job abroad. I think people here in the States are finally starting to, at least, pay attention.

      • I think the volume is there and would exist if training youngsters was a full time gig and you could make a living wage from it…….you’d be surprised! Thats the case abroad.You would just have to watch for the snake-oil salesman with the foreign accents!

      • We here in US eat up the accent.
        .
        The only accent I defer to blindly tends to be the Portuguese Brazilian. :).

      • There should be a curriculum and progressions just like they were learning in a classroom……from 8 to 18.

      • The Black Hand says:

        We’re not doing so hot in the classrooms, either.

      • well, look as a nation how we treat teachers and education in general………….shouldn’t shock anyone. We reap what we sow………………we treat teachers and coaches in this country like crap…..the rest of the world doesn’t. Thats it in a nutshell!

  10. Lost me at “8 year old son finishing training…”

    • Haha. Good point, but hopefully I didn’t really lose you. By “training” I mean that he is in a wonderful developmental atmosphere where the focus is on individual skill, early/age-appropriate small-sided concepts and fostering a love for soccer. “Training” was probably a poor word choice. I blame Ed for publishing the piece before I had a chance to edit 😉

  11. Great start on this series. Looking forward to reading the rest.

  12. 5 and 6 year olds just need a ball and a space to dribble…….footy gymnastics, footy golf, footy imaginations……let them be kids, with a ball always at their feet. They’ll learn more by themselves in the backyard than some “coach” trying to space them at that age. They themselves will learn spacing, triangles, etc. Then they will model what they see on TV, and they have never had a better outlet to model anyone of their pro’s…its on TV all the time now. The best youngsters are the ones who grow up as little ones playing with their family and friends in the backyard, driveway, street, etc…..from a very early age.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      Agreed. The problem with trying to space 5 and 6 year olds is that the ball is the toy. If you put 4 6 year olds in a room with a toy dumptruck, they are not going to spread out and wait for their turn. They re going to clamor for the toy and in some cases take it from another kid. You can introduce triangles and diamonds to 6 year olds all you want in practice, but very rarely will you see that translate when they play 3v3 or 4v4 “game”.

    • if your a parent reaming out an 8 year old on the pitch…you deserve an a$$ woopin………….flat out. No wonder the parents were about to dance!

  13. As a parent of two travel playing boys and a board member of one of the largest youth soccer clubs in SE PA, I really appreciate your article and am looking forward to the rest. I have written here on PSP on my concern for the ever skyrocketing cost of travel, to what end? My boys will never play college ball, heck, they probably won’t see the high school pitch because of the size of our HS (1100 in graduating class), but I want them always to have an opportunity to play. Often as the kids age, the teams fall apart as kids focus on other sports. It happened last year at my older son’s age group and there were 14 kids without a team. This is my biggest fear…

    The other thing that drives me nuts is parents who “club” shop, Every year the player tries out for a different (or many) club(s) because they feel like the old team didn’t (Fill in the blank – win, train enough, play high level trnmts, etc…) This can hurt the team they leave and the team they join if the commitment to the team is not there.

    • There is nothing wrong with “club shopping”. I grew up in an area that sucked at soccer……..had to travel to get the right training. Whats wrong with that? I think more parents should do the same………..its called free enterprise! Nothing wrong with looking to get the best training…………..if your kids just want to be rec players…than fine, stay put. But if a parent is unhappy with curriculum, mindset, training etc……………..there is nothing wrong with moving to a better club. Most parents and kids do it to move up the pyramid! Got to do, what you got to do! Again it goes back to coaching. If you have a parents and rec coaches running it………get out as fast as you can!

  14. I yelled during games and was critical of coaches but my boys grew up fine. The eldest is playing soccer at a D3 College and loves the experience. The youngest received lots of awards recently at the end of the HS season and is being recruited by many D3 coaches. Note also that there is plenty of money to be gotten as Grants or as Financial Assistance at these schools. The boys’ confidence is sky high and all is well. The problem are those parents who don’t want to accept that their kids will never be playing at the Pros or at a D1 school.
    .
    My boys may not have played enough 2 v 2 and other small sided games and may have travelled to too many tournaments, but the experience has been phenomenal and it will be something they will never forget. They made life-long friends and have had a nicely balanced life.
    .
    So, what you see may not be 100% right, but in general things turn out OK for a lot of kids.

    • Or…perhaps you’re kids were in the lucky minority who were able to stick it out while the other 80% decided soccer wasn’t that much fun. Perhaps they could have been D-I or pro players if they were given the freedom to experiment and hone their craft. Just saying…we can always improve.

      • Sure we can improve but be careful with generalizations. Also, US Soccer thought they would improve things with the Development Academies. Personally I think they improved things for 1% of the players and made things worse for 99% of the others. When you improve things it should benefit the majority; not the minority!!

    • The Black Hand says:

      As long as you are constructive and informative, yell away!!
      .
      It’s the parents that haven’t a clue that are the problem. “Kick it…kick it…kick it…!!!”

  15. What annoys me for the younger ages is the 35 week season. Really? For an 8 year old? Or 10?

    I love the idea of quality coaching. Less emphasis on winning games. But every “serious” club requires 35 week commitment. Just wrong.

    I think there is a business opportunity. Offer a high end club and teaching experience for 15 weeks. Then stop. Let the 10 year old play basketball for 10 weeks. Then baseball.

    Offer optional once a week practices if you want. But stop the 35 week season and making kids feel like they can’t play baseball.

    It is 100% impossible to find a club in Philly that has paid coaches who dont pressure 9 year olds into spring soccer.

    Athletic kids want to play all sports and it should be encouraged.

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