Why Winning Isn't a Priority in Youth Soccer

"Winning is not everything? What a bunch of junk."

I remember uttering those words in my mind many years ago after listening to the usual coaches' meeting before the season started. I thought to myself, "If winning isn't everything, then why do they keep score and why does this youth league have tournaments at the end of the season?" When I walked out of the meeting I knew that EVERY coach had the same thing on his mind. They were already planning their "killer tactical plans" for their Under-12 soccer team.

Think of this mistake as a process, kind of a life cycle that many good coaches go through. Remember most of us start out as bad coaches. We don't really know what we're doing, we just know we are trying to get to a certain point. Along the way and through the years we just kind of figure it out. We go through coaching education, certification, watch videos, read books, watch other coaches, and rely on what we learned as soccer players. Eventually we become pretty good at what we do.

The problem that evolves in this pattern is the natural cycle of the parent/coach. We generally start out with our children at a young age. We teach them basic technical skills and focus on the simple things. We expose young players to the game by having fun, but at the same time teaching the basic skills that make them a skilled individual player.

Now the little ones start to mature, the season rolls on, and here is where the poison starts to trickle in to our coaching: Our human nature.

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