Monday, October 11, 2010

The Baffled Parent's Guide to Coaching Youth Soccer

The Baffled Parent's Guide to Coaching Youth Soccer Review

This book took me from being a total non-athlete, knowing nearly nothing about soccer and never having coached anything before, to being a coach with a plan. I am coaching my son's U8 soccer team, and even with this book it has been a challenge, but without the book, I would have been completely lost. Here's what the book did for me:

(1) it taught me the rules of soccer. I did have a bit of trouble understanding the offside rule as stated in the book, so I had to ask a friend to clarify for me.

(2) it taught me the most fundamental soccer skills: dribbling, passing, shooting.

(3) it gave me sample practices and a general structure to use as templates for my own practices, and it gave me plenty of games and drills to choose from to fill them.

(4) it told me what to do on game day.

(5) it prepared me for the psychology of my wild and crazy boys. This is key. I am a female "intellectual type" who has never really played or enjoyed watching sports (and has never worked with this age group), so the whole mindset was completely foreign to me. It prepared me for the facts that they would listen to only the briefest of instructions, that they needed to be moving at almost all times, that for them no drill or game would be as exciting as JUST SOCCER, in its pure form.

So why four stars? There's one thing that could really improve this book, and that is some kind of guide, for all the games and drills in the book, that would rate the maturity level and skill level needed for each one. Maybe also a minimum child-to-adult ratio required to run it successfully. (Unfortunately ours is 10 to 1.) As a U8 coach in a relatively casual city recreation league, I am at the very bottom end of the intended audience for this book. And because of my inexperience, it is very difficult for me to tell which of the drills are appropriate for my team, until I get onto the field with them to try it. By then it's too late, and the failed drill can make it hard to re-engage the kids for the next activity. For this reason I plan to order the guide for 6-and-under soccer even though my kids are over six. I need some tried-and-true tricks for engaging the youngest players when things aren't going the way I planned.

Overall I am very grateful for this book and what it has done for our team.

The Baffled Parent's Guide to Coaching Youth Soccer Overview

Written by soccer great and championship Stanford coach Bobby Clark, COACHING YOUTH SOCCER: THE BAFFLED PARENT'S GUIDE tells you how, starting at point zero, an uninitiated coach can meld kids into a team and help them enjoy one of the most rewarding experiences of their youth. (In the end, you may be the one who reaps the biggest reward, as you watch kids learn and grow in an experience they'll treasure for a lifetime.)

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*** Product Information and Prices Stored: Oct 11, 2010 04:12:05

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