Coach Randle Loses a Talented Player

So, as the old saying goes, you can make some of the people happy some of the time but you can’t make all of the people happy all of the time…

That rang true for me this week…this week I lost one of my most gifted players on my girls U9 team…and it basically came down to my system and philosophy…

For me, and those that really study youth development, there is only one way to teach kids this wonderful game…only one way to give them the foundation and development platform that they need…

POSSESSION SOCCER

There are no ifs and or buts about it…possession soccer allows kids to make decisions…two decisions are never alike…it forces kids to be intelligent players and not athletic robots like you see here in the states…kids that play possession soccer look for solutions through creativity as opposed to just booting a ball up the field…but let me digress for a second…

This week I indeed came up short to a father that just wasn’t in line with my system and philosophies….

But that is ok, because for everyone that I can’t get to, there are ten waiting in the distance….

Everything I learned from playing youth soccer up through my 2 years at San Diego State has been dumped and left behind forever…my training philosophies and systems today completely contradict everything I was ever taught or learned as a player…I had to put my ego aside and dive deep into youth soccer to uncover the truth…problem is, 99% of Americans never go that extra mile…

So to put this in perspective, let me give you two different accounts of player evaluation for you regarding the U9 player above…one from her dad, and one from me, her coach…

DAD PERSPECTIVE

“Coach Randle, you are stifling my daughter…when she plays up on the U10 team she never has bad games…her bad games are only here with you…she doesn’t dominate with you like she does with them…I feel like you are holding her back and not allowing her to be free…she is not developing…”

COACH RANDLE’s PERSPECTIVE

“Dad, you are not comparing apples to apples…comparing her on the U10 team which plays kickball and allows your daughter to run freely to my U9 team which plays possession soccer and forces your daughter to think are not the same things…what you are seeing is your child being challenged in my system…She lacks game intelligence and the creativity to execute flawlessly all the time…In the other system she has 2 decisions to make that are already predetermined…knock the ball long or dribble the ball forward…real soccer isn’t quite so simple…In my system there are countless outcomes that are dependent on the situation taking place at that moment…is she going to pass the ball back to start over…will she dribble it into space…will she play with her teammate and move into the space ahead of her to receive the ball back…will she play it one time…will she receive the ball to the left in space to avoid the player coming at her…”

And I could go on and on and on…the point I am making is that the girl wasn’t regressing, she was growing as a player…she was being challenged and he saw the challenges as regression instead of progression…he equates her dominating games with development which don’t go hand and hand most of the time…

HE IS A PRODUCT OF ATHLETIC AND PHYSICAL AMERICAN SOCCER

So if you have a child that is, what you perceive as struggling, with a great coach that plays possession soccer, I ask you to take a step back and really evaluate what is going on…don’t fall victim to the trap of equating dominance with success or development…many times in this sport we have to take a step back today to take two steps forward tomorrow…

Ponder that and let me know what you think…

Coach Randle

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