Over the weekend I had the pleasure of coaching some quality 13yr old players. It was a great group of boys all totally committed and focused on soccer, which is always a joy. They all had the latest gear, they all wore it just the right way and looked like they lived the game.
We began a 6v6 mini-game to get our practice started. I milled about setting them up and then yelled out to the white bibs, “you’ll be Real Madrid!” And then to the red bibs, “you’ll be Bayern!” Both sets of boys cheered. They knew the teams and they were excited. In my head I was sure a couple of them probably owned both sets of kit.
But somehow the reaction came across to me as strange. I thought there should have been more red bibs disappointed. After all, the mauling Bayern took in the mid-week Champions League semi-final wasn’t something you were going to be proud representing.
Then it dawned on me. They knew the gear but did they watch the matches?
“Put your hand up if you watched the last match? What was the score?”
Two kids on the white team put their hands up and one blurted out the final scoreline. Two kids. Elite team. My mouth dropped.
Soccer is a funny animal. Both non-existant in Canada and yet the most popular sport. Player development is already hard enough and with all the coverage online and on TV one should think easier and easier for kids to watch their favourite teams. But those games are on during school. Or in the morning. They know who the teams are but a lot has to be done to watch regular games on the big box. Another great challenge for the average family.
As parents and leaders of our teams we need to encourage our players to watch a little more. We need to find them ways to access these amazing spectacles. It is how they find heroes, emulate greatness and fall in love with the passion and quality on display. This is where you can impact you children’s love for sport.
As parents you can make it accessible. Instead of wasting time trying to learn the game through books and internet tutorials so you can help them get a leg up, simply watch the games with your kids. Spend time on the weekend cheering together. One game a week isn’t much. Learn with them.
The more they fall in love with players and clubs the more they will want to go play outside. They must see the best to be the best.
Have you come up with any unique ways that have helped your kids fall in the love with the game? Let us know. Please share.
Go. Play Better.
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