USSF Best Practices For Coaching Soccer

Mike H at My Soccer Blog notes that the USSF has just released a PDF booklet called "Best Practices for Coaching Soccer in the United States"

U.S. Soccer’s Coaching Education Department has released a new publication designed to give youth and junior level soccer coaches in the United States a set of fundamental tools to help open up the game of soccer to young players in ways that celebrate the sport’s spontaneous qualities. The 70-page "Best Practices for Coaching Soccer in the United States" coaching book serves as the sport’s definitive new player development guidelines.

If you coach soccer at any age level, I encourage you to read this through. It is broken down by age group from U6 on through U18. League Administrators should also read this through as they make many recommendations regarding how to handle certain things like tournaments and aging up. It is refreshing to see the realization that there is no ‘one way’ and that various groups have various needs. All you need is a solid set of fundamental guidelines.

The scope of coaching education in the United States is as large as the country itself. As our society is woven with the threads of many cultures, so is our soccer the product of the styles and experiences of the many diverse communities across the country.While this presents us with a set of challenges that are unique to the United States, this diversity also helps to continually breathe life into our soccer community. It is against this backdrop that U.S. Soccer approaches its responsibility for helping to prepare coaches to bring the game of soccer to our young players.

There is not just "one way" to teach soccer to players, nor is there just one style of coaching. There is a broad spectrum of styles and methods for how each of us experiences the game. Some of this comes from our backgrounds, while some of this also is the product of our own personalities. At the youth and junior levels, however, there is a set of fundamental principles that must be considered by anyone involved with soccer. In general, young soccer players require a certain amount of uninterrupted play. This allows them to experience soccer first hand. They should be allowed the opportunity to experiment, and with that, succeed and fail.

I’m not going to say I agree with absolutely everything they lay out, but overall this is an excellent set of guidelines. I’ll go into some more detail in later posts about some specific issues.

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