As we take time around the holidays to slow down and appreciate the little things in life, I wanted to take the time to share the value of coaching this great game; for your great club.
What can soccer give a child who first steps onto our field at the age of four or five?
It goes without saying that soccer can teach valuable life lessons in fairness, sportsmanship, and grace under pressure, respect for your teammates, coaches, opponents and officials. Also sports can teach kids how to recover from setbacks and give the ability to solve problems and face challenges. Of course many parents will believe, and will in effect lead their children to believe, that winning sets you apart from your peers. No matter if you are 5, 15 or 25, first is everything and anything else means you have failed. However, what we soon forget is that our children are not signing multi-million dollar contracts to play for Arsenal.
As a club, we want our coaches, our parents, our volunteers and our players to think wider and bigger than what the scoreboard says each week. We need to measure performances individually and collectively to give our children and players a sense of worth no matter if they played on a winning or a losing team. Our coaches are tasked with not just developing the player, but developing the person and getting them to constantly think outside the box and evaluate situations and challenges differently. Educating our players on how to set measurable goals, unique to each individual is paramount to building on the foundation of a love for the game, which most if not all children have. Where we come in as coaches is to make them see their successes, and help them work on their weaknesses. This will only be achieved through educating ourselves to do this. As a club we are making positive strides in this direction. We have coaching tools which will allow every coach access to training sessions which are designed for a specific age-group and can be modified to fit the ability of the players involved.
As coaches once we have this foundation in place, we can begin to educate the parents on how their journey will take form, reminding them that development and passion always need to be at the forefront of their child’s voyage, when parents will begin to understand this is when the chance of success begins to cultivate. We want our teams to have a unique style of play; we want the players within our club to have the confidence to try new things without fear of failure. We want any child that plays here to take confidence and belief into other areas of their life, where it will serve them well today as a young person, and tomorrow as an adult. It’s about the understanding that team is more important than self, which can hold endless possibilities to those in the work place later in life. Those players who, while being the most gifted of athletes or soccer players to begin with, grasps that through hard-work and perseverance they can reach their goals by developing their strengths and being able to overcome their perceived weaknesses, is that same person who needs to pass their Biology exam and uses that experience of working hard on their own to get a good grade. The child who played on a team that lost all of their recreational games finds themself on a State team at U15 and is constantly hungry for more success because he/she haven’t been spoiled by ‘over-winning’ at a young age as well as they were taught it was more important to learn to pass the ball with both feet than worry whether their team was winning or not.
If we can give these gifts to our children today, then no matter if they were winning or losing on an Arsenal team, they will look back and say “I really loved my time when I was here and I really learned something about life,” then we will all be winners. They may even come back and coach our next generation of players.
We want our kids to LOVE soccer, we want it to be a big part of their families’ lives, something they can do and enjoy together. Whether watching games on TV or following the Men’s and Women’s University teams or simply just being out at city fields or the complex. . We want them to wear their jersey with pride and believe that they are part of something unique and special. It is no accident that soccer is the most popular game in the world and it is a gift that we can all enjoy together, every day at Arsenal Colorado.
Thank you for allowing me to do what I love and to be a part of your child’s memories
Have a wonderful holiday season and we will see you in the spring!
-Jayme “Beamer”Halsey – Assistant Director of Coaching & Player Development