Mirror Image

Kids Soccer – A Mirror Image of our Society

When clubs evaluate game operations for kids soccer in a table-oriented manner, and coaches consequently behave in a win-oriented manner, this gives the observer (kids/parents) a false perception and destroys the philosophy of kids soccer.

  1. Table-oriented game operations are not appropriate for children
  2. Weaker players are marginalized
  3. Players are often only utilized in one way

The basic problem that has made kids soccer develop in the completely wrong direction is ambition being realized in the wrong way, and the ignorance of kids soccer guidelines. Too many clubs/coaches identify with athletic success in kids soccer. In many cases, it is relatively “simple” to win a championship in organized kids sports operations. Since kids soccer is often divided in small scales (5-6 teams) across the globe, there are many titles to be won. When we think in terms of winning or in terms of championships, it only follows that we will compile a team with the most talent. You ultimately “have to” win.

As to point 1:

However, when competitive sports are organized in a “kids-appropriate” way, the children can still develop, but at the same time, the fun of the game remains intact. Every children´s goal is to win the game, but it can’t be the coach’s goal.

As to point 2:

Here’s the biggest social challenge, which kids soccer presents to every person who cares for a child: many adults can’t grasp what all embeds itself into the psyche of affected children. They have forgotten how kids really think. In the souls of children, dramas of “I’m not good enough” often play out, which remain unnoticed by adults. The effects on the kids further development are tragic, but aren’t realized. A 2005 book by the German Soccer Society “The Philosophy of Kids Soccer” speaks of a drop-out problem among U14 players, and more recent studies (2009) at the University of Landau/Koblenz already show the problem occurring in U10 youths. Lastly, the wrong turn that kids soccer has taken, despite a massive effort on the part of the organizations to educate people, is made clear here as well. Whose responsibility is this?

As to point 3:

Of course, this approach only brings short-term success. But do the kids learn something new in all this?

When a student gets good grades in math but weaker grades in English, which subject should he or she put forth more effort in?

Kids soccer is about integral education and with that, one needs to have patience above all else.

Soccer, mirror image of our society, or worse? Our fast-paced way of life has robbed our children of their reality. Because they don’t recognize the comparison to child-oriented work, they can’t fight back. We need to learn to recognize their cries for help in order to be able to help them. In our complex world, there doesn’t seem to be time for kids soccer anymore.

When working with kids, we need patience.
But when we want/need to win on the following Saturday, we don’t have time!

Thank you very much for your attention,
Ralf Klohr