Day after day I'm amazed at the level of confusion some soccer parents can reach. Then every once in a while I meet a parent that encourages me because they understand that their child isn't going to be the next David Beckham or Mia Hamm. I am a soccer coach, a professional soccer coach. I played soccer in High School and in College. I have been trained to play and trained to coach. I evaluate soccer talent almost everyday. I share this because some parents that pay me to coach their children act as if I'm not qualified to evaluate their son or daughter. I am also a parent, a parent that has two kids that play soccer. One of my children plays at a very high level and has aspirations to play this "game" professionally. He has unlimited potential to do just that.....if and only if he takes control of his destiny by working hard at his game in the off season and during days when he doesn't have training. Additionally, having a dad as a coach doesn't hurt either. Please note, I said that he does the extra work!
Yesterday as a new player was trying out for our club their father said to me. "She really wants to make the Varsity Team at her high school and this level of soccer is necessary for her to achieve that." He also went on to say that he repeatedly tells his daughter that this is hard work and she must put in the extra training time for soccer. I thought my ears were deceiving me, did a parent just say that? There are too many times when a parent walks up to me and asks why Little Johnny or Little Janie aren't getting more playing time. I kindly share with them a brief evaluation of the children's current skill set or lack of skills. Then I share that we instruct them every practice on the proper skills and they do exactly nothing with that skill the other days of the week. For some reason the parents believe that the 3 hours we get with them during training each week will magically transform their son or daughter. Transform them into Beckham or Hamm...did I say that soccer is completely an unnatural game. You must run while kicking the ball, then train your feet to allow a very soft touch on the ball to handle it. Then use power to drive the ball with great velocity at a goal that has the only player on the field that can use their hands to deter you from putting the ball in the back of the net. Lastly, I share with them this story.
When I was 7, my mother decided I needed something constructive to occupy my time so she purchased me a piano. I began playing because I loved the way it sounded and I used to play around on my cousin's piano. I remember my first lesson..my teacher told me I would need to practice at least a hour a day on what we covered in the lesson. I though wow, thats a lot...so I decided I would just practice around 30 mins a couple days a week. When I completed my third lesson my teacher told me that if I wasn't going to practice I need not show up for the lesson next week and she would gladly refund my mother's money. She said that she didn't have time to spend on a child that wasn't going to devote the needed practice. She also said that she was a serious teacher that only took serious students and she asked me to go home and talk to my mother about it. I walked home crying and wondering how I was going to tell my mother that I was a failure. About half way home I decided that I wasn't going to share it with my mom and that I would practice and practice until I was good enough. I decided to be a serious student. I spent many years playing for that teacher and we formed a wonderful bond. It was very difficult at times but well worth the time invested.
Soccer isn't playing piano but it requires a certain amount of devotion to practice. If it were easy, everyone would be good at it. So parents do your children a favor, take an honest look at their work ethic when it comes to school, music, and athletics. If they aren't devoting daily time into practice then they are probably not going to be one of the best at it. Which might alter your idea of them being on the next Wheaties box. I'm just saying....