Late Developers Often Times End Up Ahead

Hello RENEGADE!

As you probably know, I have a ten year old daughter…

She is an amazing girl who does so many things that I can barely keep track of it all…

Robotics club, math team, safety patrol, lacrosse, Kumon, rock band club…

Unfortunately, no soccer yet.

Don’t worry, I still have her do our RST videos, just in case she decides to play someday… : )

Along the way, she has played many sports, and her mother and I were both multi-sport athletes in college…

Often, the coaches begin the year a little nervous that I will chime in a bit too much…

This is never the case.

In fact, I may be the most laid back parent around.

Do I not care if my daughter is great?

Nope, that isn’t the case at all…

I just have experience and perspective, having been around sports my entire life.

I would like to share some of this wisdom through exploring the four pillars of youth soccer development through the answering of emails…

Those pillars are: Technical, Tactical, Physical, Psycho-Social (Psychological)

In other words, I am going to share my thoughts, through sharing my answers to emails.

 

Pillar: Physical

Here is a question posed to me at least 5x a week… at least:

‘My child is really getting better using your system, but still lacks some confidence since he loses the ball.’

After some digging, the child (son) is 9, and is smaller than most of the other kids, and weaker.

Here is how to rethink this as a player or parent:

For the next 4-5 years, athleticism will dominate.

So, if I had to guess, I would say that your son is smaller and probably weaker, and less aggressive than many of the kids who dispossess him…

I was a small kid…

5’7″, 103lbs kinda small as a freshman in HS….

How did I compete?

Skill and elusiveness…

I was also very strong considering how skin and bones I was…

Climbing trees, jumping on a trampoline, and NEVER being allowed to sit around inside made me that way…

Does it matter how big you are in 8th grade?

Only so far as it can get discouraging…

You can look at obstacles and fold in the towel saying that life dealt you a bad hand, or you can struggle for successes and say: look at what I was able to overcome.

 

Perspective.

So, as a parent, your goal is to keep him focused on what he can control: skill, discipline, teamwork, attitude.

As an athlete, that focus is the same: you win by controlling the things you can control… every, single, day.

In a few years, he will start to grow a mustache, and get some little biceps, and everything will even out so to speak…

But the superhero in 8th grade is often the guy who gets cut in 11th…

Why? Because in 8th grade 5’9″ and 145lbs is gigantic…

That same kid in 11th grade is below average in size…

And often, since he didn’t have to be as skillful in his early years, the smaller kids, now caught up in size, surpass him…

Right now, he is 9.

Keep the game fun, instill discipline and habits, and let nature run its course.

To change speed, you must change strength, first and foremost.

For his age, this means more activity, and some bodyweight work.

Bodyweight squats, lunges, etc. are all good. Bear crawls, crab walks, hopping, skipping…

But, at 9, any type of strength work in the weightroom isn’t age appropriate, in my opinion.

How many pull-ups can he do?

Does he have strong little leg muscles for a 9-year old?

These are things he can control… along with touches.

He can also control if he is fit… elusive… playing tag, keep-away, etc.

How can he make the bigger kids miss? It isn’t really speed… it is change of direction, change of speed…

Elusiveness.

When he has his growth spurt, he cannot control.

Keep his chin up, having fun, and help him understand that in a few years, everything evens out, and the skilled players begin to dominate.

Maybe this hits home for you…

Maybe you are a little small for your age…

If this is the case, then you have to work on the things you can control: quickness, skill, smarts, strength, fitness…

And someday, the size differences begin to even out, and you have developed where others didn’t, because they were big and fast.

If you think size and strength doesn’t matter, try this:

If you are a 9 year old, go practice with a bunch of 7 year olds…

Oor whatever age group is noticeably smaller than you…

Less physically developed…

If you are 13, go find some 11 or 10 year olds.

Don’t be a bully, but just see how easy it is to be dominant physically.

If you are smaller, or need to work on your acceleration some, or are a bit weak, then see how much of an effect this has…

It can be inspiring when you realize how much of a difference it makes.

‘Oh, no wonder I am having issues’, is exactly what should be in your head.

It makes you quickly realize how skillful you will have to be to compete…

How elusive you need to make yourself… always changing directions and speed.

Savvy on the ball… clever.

Why did I say inspiring?

Because in 11th grade I finally hit my growth spurt and started to put on some muscle…

I was still very skinny, and didn’t even break 150lbs until later that year at 6 feet tall.

But, by 11th grade I had enough muscle to become dominant in 4 sports.

The kids who were superstars in 8th grade fell by the wayside.

 

Final Thoughts

So, whether you are a player or a parent, make sure you keep the physical aspects of the game in perspective.

If you are small, then the road is an uphill one, but truthfully, it allows you to focus on the very thing you should focus on: technical ability.

Develop those good habits, keep your chin up, and CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL.

Sometimes mother nature has a different timeline than we want…

Relax, and enjoy the ride.

You will develop toughness, savviness, and tactical abilities the ‘good athletes’ won’t have to…

And as soon as you catch up in size and strength, everyone will wonder how you got so good…

Because you stayed the course…

Hopefully, this adds a little perspective.

In the passion to become great at something, we sometimes forget there are factors that will challenge us along the way…

Some we can control, some we cannot.

The key is to own…

Absolutely own the things we can control…

And to let the things we cannot provide us with challenges to grow…

Perspective.

By | 2017-09-21T19:07:41+00:00 September 21st, 2017|From The Coaches|0 Comments

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