Things club soccer parents say: The club is not developing my kid.

Maybe a focus problem there.  Clubs only give kids the tools to get better, whether they use them or not is up to the kid. Could this maybe be an important teaching moment for…I don’t know…life?

Each kid MUST own their development in the game.  There is no exception to this.  Ever.  Whether 8 or 18, your progression in the game starts at home.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen parents lecture coaches and directors on their disappointment in their kid’s development and the kid cannot juggle more than 4 times.  Or is so visibly out of shape that you want to give them a water break after they take off their warm-ups.

Before you start pointing fingers and expect the club to use their magic wand to make your son Lionel Messi, you need to encourage this accountability in your child.  If your coach is lacking…and hey, it happens…get help.  Spend $100 on 2 private trainings with a good trainer that teaches the kid how to work on their own.  Two, hour-long sessions will give the kid all the tools they need to work on for probably a year or at least a season.  If they are working on their own at least 2 days per week, every week, all year with the program the trainer gives them…they will get better.  Rapidly.

Many parents do this with private training year-round.  They’ll dump a few grand into private trainers once per week or more and have a “scheduled” activity.  I mean, this can work, obviously, but is the kid taking ownership, or are you doing it for them.  Getting better has to be their choice and most of the time the training money isn’t significantly more beneficial than just having a program they can work on their own.  I know that opinion is not what the revenue-generating trainers would prefer to hear, but having made this mistake myself as a parent, I would strongly recommend against the year-round scheduled training for a fee over and above their club activities.  The kids MUST own their development.  You cannot do this for them.

If you are dissatisfied with your kid’s place in club soccer and are not looking at it from this angle, you need to look in the mirror as a parent.  And then you need to be honest with yourself about what your kid is and isn’t.  If they learn nothing else from club soccer, they should learn that any chance at real success comes from a ton of hard work…when no one else is looking.  And with that lesson firmly implanted in them, they may not play for the national team, but the ceiling for the rest of their potential in life becomes much higher.

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