If your child is just starting to play soccer, the most important thing is to forget about the game result. This is the philosophy at the Total Soccer Systems Academy in Richmond, B.C. as they work with children in the U6 and U7 age groups.
The TSS Academy is well known for focusing on fundamental skill development at the young ages and producing talented young players. Their approach is a response to the fact that too many sports programs for kids under 12 spend too much time playing games, and not enough time learning and practicing the skills that help the children become better players.
In this story from the Vancouver Province, TSS coach Daryl Ware-Lane explains why it is important to allow young players to make mistakes:
… Player development for me is being able to take an individual player and give them the right tools and the fundamentals to be able to succeed in football,” he said. “We take away the emphasis of winning, which allows them to make a mistake. … When they have that freedom, it allows them to try new things and be comfortable trying it.
When coaches and parents focus on winning, children become scared of making mistakes, so they experiment less. The irony is that making mistakes has been shown to be an essential part of the learning process, and there is actually a basis for “learning from our mistakes” in our brain neurology.
It all points to the same theme: Let kids make mistakes. If we let them make mistakes at age 7, they will probably make far fewer mistakes at age 17 when it might actually matter. They’ll also have a lot more fun in the process, which is the number one reason why kids play sports.