ASA Youth Academy
MISSION: To promote holistic player development in a child-centered environment during a key developmental window in a player’s career.
WHY: To Increase player enjoyment & player retention in an effort to improve the quality of soccer player developing throughout the state.
HOW: Create training and game environments that meet player needs, i.e. Optimal Development Environments.
Optimal Development Environments & Competition Safeguarding
What does an Optimal Development Environment look like?
- Players competing to win by attempting to execute soccer-specific techniques, decisions, player actions and key qualities. Ultimately, what coaches are teaching in training!
- Adversity to overcome that is appropriate to the children’s level of play
- Goals scored and conceded
- Referee mistakes
- Weather & field conditions
- Balanced combination of support, demand, and teaching from coaches (NOT JOYSTICKING!)
- Competitive score
- More than 4 goal difference during a game = consider using Competition Safeguarding Steps
- 6 or more goal difference during a game = Competition Safeguarding Steps MUST be used!
WHY unbalanced competition prohibits development:
Dominating team usually lacks intensity and competitiveness, loses discipline and disengages from the game; all reinforce bad soccer habits
Losing team usually gets frustrated, lacks intensity and competitiveness, loses discipline and disengages from the game; All reinforce bad soccer habits.
Neither team develops to their optimal level!
What is Competition Safeguarding?
Actions coaches take to balance out mismatched opponents with the intent to create a more Optimal Development Environment.
- Move the buildout line back to midfield or appropriate location (Add a buildout line for 9v9 game).
- Add a player to the team behind in score
- Move players around so the more dominant players get opportunities in positions outside of the spine of the team
- Encourage or challenge the winning team with a specific task (not a restriction):
- Pass back to the goalkeeper when you win the ball
- Try to score off a cross
Competition Safeguaring carries out the same function as training wheels do on a bike, or floaties in a swimming pool. It is the same reason we do not ask players this age to play on a full size field - doing so fails to meet the needs of the players.