Phillip is a new player on a U12 competitive team. He is excited to be playing a higher level of soccer after two years in the recreational version where he was a star, scoring goal after goal. At his first training session the players run through some technical skills, and despite his best efforts, Phillip struggles. He sees his teammates complete the tasks with ease….
At this moment, Phillip’s confidence hangs precariously over an abyss.
After a few moments the coach turns to Phillip and simply says ‘come on, you should be able to do this by now’. And with that Phillip’s confidence plunges, he has been embarrassed in front of his peers, and may never recover.
Sat on the coaches bench these past few years have provided an interesting and at times frightening glimpse into the coach/player and parent/player relationship, and it is abundantly clear that the USSF policy of positive reinforcement is not being followed by all coaches and parents.