Soccer Expert Tom Byer on Why It Is Important For Parents To Help Kids
Soccer Starts At Home At An Early Age With Parents — this is the new mantra for success, pioneered by Tom Byer.
Gone are the days when parents drop kids off at a youth soccer practice or tryout and leave it all up to the coach. Here is youth soccer expert Tom Byer on giving your soccer player an edge — and the truth about why parents can help player development.
TOM BYER’S SOCCER STARTS AT HOME IS A GAME-CHANGER A REVOLUTIONARY APPROACH TO DEVELOPING BETTER SOCCER PLAYERS IN AMERICA.John J. Ratey, M.D. — Harvard Medical School, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Tom Byer is a highly respected youth soccer player development expert. Byer has conducted over 2000 events for more than 500,000 youth soccer players — in the USA, Japan and all over the world. Born in the USA, Byer has developed soccer players in Japan for over 30 years — in fact, ever since he hung up his professional cleats after playing in the Professional J League which is now Japan’s MLS equivalent.
Byer is also known for his best selling book, Soccer Starts at Home.
Byer became a technical skills coach and is known as Tom-san in Japan. Many of Japan’s men’s and women’s national team players have benefited from his training and grew up attending his soccer schools, watching him on TV, and reading his books.
In high demand, Byer has consulted with many of the leading Football organizations across the world, including FIFA, UEFA, AFC, DFB, the FA as well as the English Premier League, the Australian FA, Japanese FA plus Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, AS Roma and MLS’ Houston Dynamo.
Parents Can Make a Big Difference
In America, parents often send their kids off to their first time at sports … with little experience, preparation or any preliminary training — something they would never do when it comes to school. Who would send their kid to school without a clue?
Hand-eye coordination is developed from a very early age and while most parents play catch with their 2 and 3-year-olds to teach basic motor skills, simple foot skills and ball mastery is usually overlooked.
Diane Scavuzzo New Interview With Tom Byer on Why Soccer Parent Can and Should Help Their Kids:
Diane Scavuzzo: Are parents qualified to help introduce their kids to soccer? Are parents a bit hesitant? What are the advantages?
Tom Byer: I don’t think parents need much qualification to help their children start out with soccer. In fact, I often find it easier to teach parents what to do who have never played the game before — compared with parents who have played.
Having an open mind offers many possibilities compared to someone who thinks they know it all already. This is what “Soccer Starts at Home” is all about.
90% of a Child’s Brain Develops by the Age of 5!
Assisting parents who know nothing about the game and giving them simple knowledge on how they can get their child off to a flying start before ever joining a team.
Soccer Starts at Home also teaches the benefits of an early start and the value of the cognitive development to start ball mastery as early as possible.
Diane Scavuzzo: Parents don’t send kids to kindergarten without knowing their ABC’s — Why do you think they send them to a soccer tryout or practice, usually without a clue? Why don’t most parents help show their kids how to pass the ball?
Tom Byer: Well, most people believe that soccer starts from the first day you join a team. Many parents do not understand what a young child can and should be able to do with a ball at their feet.
We try to shatter the belief that soccer starts at age 6-years-old or 7-years-old when a kid has joined a team.
We also try to change the mindset that soccer is a kicking game.
Parents need to facilitate a love for the ball way before anything else — like playing on a team and scoring or preventing goals.
Diane Scavuzzo: Are American parents behind parents in other countries when it comes to getting their kids introduced to soccer?
Tom Byer: I believe that parents in America are actually behind parents in Europe and other countries and that it is the reason so many of the Latin American kids do very well at a young age. Usually kids from Mexico, for example, get a tremendous head-start at home and are introduced to a ball from a much earlier age.
Experience playing the game does not always make a difference. On occasion, I work with former players who have represented their National Teams and have played at the highest levels in the biggest leagues in the world and they come to me for help — because they don’t know what to encourage and practice with their young child.
It is not usually to need this information.
Diane Scavuzzo: On a broader perspective, who do you admire most in the soccer world today?
Tom Byer: That’s a very interesting question which most would expect a traditional answer such as Pep Guardiola, Sir Alex Ferguson or someone of that stature. Although I admire many of these top professional people, the person who’s been most relevant to me today is Dr. John Ratey, MD, Harvard Medical School Professor and one of the foremost Neuropsychiatrists in the world.
Dr. Ratey has written a dozen books on how physical exercise impacts learning and well being.
Dr. Ratey opened up my eyes to the neuroscience behind “Soccer Starts at Home” which has given me a much deeper understanding of what’s happening between a young child and their parent and the impact of setting up an emotional environment conducive to developing a child in many different ways. This has enabled me to help young soccer parents in many ways — not just with their kids when they are on the soccer field, but in life as well.