“When you look at your kids do you feel they move well?” This question was presented by Randy Celebrini at our latest Coaches’ Boot Room.
A few days went by, then a few weeks, and Randy’s comment kept coming back to me. These are the things that I think about in the shower. Yes, I am a huge footy nerd, but seriously, this particular question just seemed to stick.
Well, now I’m asking you, “when you’re out there coaching, do you think the majority of your kids are moving correctly?”
Traditionally I’m not a betting man, but I am going to bet on this one, NO.
This is a topic, and a very important one I might add, that first presented itself to me last summer. It was the first time I had the opportunity to run a proper warm up with a bunch of 10 year old boys. So I did what I had learned over my years of soccer experience. I set up some cones, threw down a ladder for the lads to jump over, and put them through the paces. A few groin openers here, some skipping there, a little karaoke…etc.
What I saw was straight up laughable, a real full belly laugh indeed, these young men had no idea how to move their bodies. It was dramatic.
Can any of you coaches relate to this?
How on earth are you supposed to play soccer at a high level if you can’t move your body?
I’ll answer this question for you. You can’t. I can honestly say that roughly half of the boys on our team didn’t know how to properly run, let alone do tricky fundamental movements. Without this knowledge it is impossible to perfect the sport and, more importantly, avoid injuries.
Coaches really watch for players running on their heels, or standing on their heels. This is a huge problem and it will only get worse as the field sizes expand. Please get your kids to bounce on their toes.
Furthermore, be honest to a parent if they ask, “why didn’t my child make the next level?” You need to tell them it’s not your kids soccer skills, it’s because they need to learn how to run. This can be very challenging for coaches to do because knowing how to run seems so trivial. Everyone knows how to run right? Except we don’t.
Fast forward 14 months, as I am now coaching out at TSS on the women’s side, and I am seeing even more challenges. Young women in our Country seem to struggle even more then the men to move their bodies properly. With the exception of one or two of the girls I’m coaching – who without coincidence were dancers growing up – they all really struggle to move properly.
So there it is, I think we should be targeting ballerinas if we ever want to see our Canadian women reach the highest standards.
But there is hope! There’s always hope!
Play Better has a plan and it starts with a conversation. It starts with having an extremely knowledgeable speaker, such as Randy Celebrini, educating our volunteer coaches on the benefits of fundamental movements. It always starts with education, always.
I suggest we start rewarding our players if they Move Better. Let’s try it out. Don’t be afraid to toss in a charitable reward here or there if your players are demonstrating proper fundamental movements. Reward them if they are actually taking ownership for their warm ups, moving their bodies properly, and not just going through the motions.
Reward them for this and they will start to see its value. It will add another layer in your player development strategies. When the kids see themselves getting better, at fundamental movements, they will organically feel it’s important. As a result, you will finally have a fun way to get the best out of your team during this “traditionally boring” and trivial part of the session.
Curious about how you can get involved? Check out this video and fill out the form for additional information.
Go. Play Better