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The Tattle of Hastings — soccer directive hurts KYSA player development

The Tattle of Hastings — soccer directive hurts KYSA player development

KTW sports reporter Marty Hastings.

KTW sports reporter Marty Hastings.

Starting this year, the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association (KYSA), in accordance with a BC Soccer directive, will not be publishing scores or keeping standings in its under-11 and under-12 divisions.

This directive is a mistake.

Here are a few of the arguments for the directive, taken from a memo sent to KYSA members: It diminishes the incentive for coaches to concentrate solely on winning; it reduces the pressures placed on young players by coaches and parents to win, to perform and to avoid making mistakes; coaches will pay more attention to giving more equal playing time to all the children on their roster, rather than playing their better players all the time; and it may reduce the verbal abuse officials receive from coaches.

It appears many of the problems that led to the BC Soccer directive, which brings the organization in line with the Canadian Soccer Association’s (CSA) Long Term Player Development model, have to do with one thing — idiot coaches.

At those age levels, bench bosses shouldn’t be concentrating solely on winning, their players should be seeing equal playing time and they should not be abusing officials.

Agreed, but I’m not sure taking standings out of the game is going to correct the problems.

(I skipped the part about pressuring players to win, perform and avoid mistakes because I think athletes at that age should be pushed, to varying degrees based on their goals, to do each of those things).

But, if you ask me, league titles and championship victories should not be taken out of the game in those age divisions.

That hurts player development.

Young soccer players in Canada need to know it’s OK — in fact, it’s imperative — to make winning a goal.

They also need to learn about the agony of defeat in big-time matches.

I’ve lost a lot of big games (see Earl Marriott Mariners vs. Semiahmoo Totems high school rugby Sandcastle Cup grudge matches, 0-2) and, believe it or not, I’ve racked up the occasional W, too.

It’s impossible to understand how much an athlete can learn from each situation  — a massive victory or a crushing defeat in a championship-deciding matchup — until you’ve been on both sides.

Some of the best coaching moments are borne when the final whistle blows — especially when games really matter, like when a league banner is on the line.

How do you handle the anguish of defeat? How do you win graciously? How do you better handle the pressure next time around?

There are at least a few KYSA parents who agree with me. They went so far as to unregister their children. I wouldn’t have done that, but they felt so strongly about competitiveness that they took a stand.

The directive nixes the presentation of trophies and medals in those divisions.

Here’s another piece of the KYSA memo: “We are concerned about how this initiative might affect our KYSA Cup entries in May. Will teams be prepared to travel great distances to come to Kamloops to participate in a “Jamboree-like format” with nothing at stake?”

Good question.

After speaking with a high-ranking member of the KYSA brass, I understand it’s simply impossible to weed out all the idiot coaches.

The KYSA cannot force its parent-volunteers to go through coaching-certification programs (even if it did, I’m not sure that would keep idiot coaches off the sidelines) and, like in many minor sports, there is a dearth of people able to take control of a team.

It’s either have idiot coaches or have no coaches at all and, therefore, no team, which is unacceptable. The kids need to play.

So, what’s the solution? I don’t pretend to have the all-encompassing, ingenious answer, but some of it might have to do with non-idiot parents being vigilant, keeping their idiot coaches in line.

If you notice your team’s idiot coach playing the heck out of the best players, focusing only on winning or yelling at referees — report it.

I’m sure that’s happening already, but maybe some folks have been shy in the past about voicing their concerns. Now is the time.

Again, I’m well aware this is a very, very complicated issue and there’s more to it than what I’ve discussed.

I just don’t think the CSA — our men’s national team is ranked 113th in the world and hasn’t qualified for the World Cup since 1986 — needs to crack down on competitiveness which, despite what its board members will tell you, is exactly what this directive does.

The Tattle of Hastings appears in KTW on Thursdays. Email Marty Hastings at sports@kamloopsthisweek.com

 

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2 comments

  1. sorry marty, i think your wrong kysa can force its coaches to be certified, kamloops minor hockey has done it for years, it also makes on ice personal take the “respect in sport” certification, also this last season all parents must be certified in “respect in sport `before any player can start the season, you are are right it is impossible to weed out all the a%$holes but to get rid of them is easy, just don`t give them a team, taking away the incentive to win is a very bad idea, this `if we tie everyone is a winner`mentality is wrong, it is moves likes this why todays kids live at home until they`re thirty, life is about winning and losing and learning how to deal with it

  2. Agree 100% with comment made by Pothead.

    I have seen KYSA refuse to deal with ABUSIVE coaches effectively – pulling the ‘what can we do card’? (the problem is….idiotic coaching takes many forms and being an ‘idiot’ with kids can turn a kid off sports for life. Minor hockey does do it much better – and the new-this-year requirement of having one parent take Respect in Sport has been good.

    KYSA needs to: 1) deal effectively with abusive/idiotic parents — maybe if they did, others would step up and coach, but you can get bet your bottom dollar that others will not coach with an abusive person coaching – duh (in fact, after they appeal to KYSA and get nowhere, they will have to more their kid or take them out of sport) 2) provide mentorship for their young referees – that is another tale but if KYSA wants to put their energy somewhere they need not look beyond their own organization

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