Reflections on the US Youth Soccer Workshop and the NSCAA Convention
Sam Snow is Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sports organization in America and our newest soccer expert columnist. A United States Soccer Federation “A” Licensee, Snow is a passionate coach who has worked in national, collegiate and youth soccer. Here Snow has shared his reflections on the recent US Youth Soccer Workshop and the NSCAA Convention.
Two wonderful events – the US Youth Soccer Workshop and the NSCAA Convention – took place in Philadelphia from January 14 to 18, 2015 and thousands of youth soccer coaches from around the world attended. With an amazing offering of workshops with outstanding speakers and panelists, coaches came together to rejoice in the beautiful of the game and left with renewed energy and greater insights.
Soccer coaches in America have a multitude of both formal and informal coaching education available to them. The formal education is the courses such as the “E” or “Y” or “C” Licenses through the state and national associations. Formal education could also be the Master’s Degree in Coaching Soccer through Ohio University.
Informal education may include mentoring within a club, clinics, webinars or conventions. In the last category I recently attended the US Youth Soccer Workshop / NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia. This was my 34th NSCAA Convention and my 20th US Youth Soccer Workshop. For the last three years, the two events have taken place side-by-side. The contract has just been renewed for another three years and I foresee the partnership continuing for many more years.
This gathering of coaches, vendors, referees and administrators is unsurpassed in the world.
Where else could professional team coaches rub elbows with local youth coaches? Indeed with over 9000 people in attendance every level of soccer is represented. The convention is a fantastic education opportunity. Sessions are given for administrators, coaches and referees. There are demonstrations done with players of all ages and both genders. Classroom sessions take place from Wednesday through Sunday of the convention week. There are so many wonderful sessions going on that you couldn’t possibly attend them all. Truthfully you will need to attend two or three years in a row to take it all in.
As I write this post for SoccerToday, I’m flying from Denver back to Dallas. I, along with Mike Freitag, gave some sessions for a coach clinic hosted by the Broomfield S.C. – Bill Stara organized the clinic for all coaches in the northern Denver area. Over the course of the day about 100 coaches, players, their parents and administrators attended.
All youth soccer clubs must budget and plan for continuing education of the coaches, administrators and parents in the club. The players deserve this effort by the adults. Investment in the growth of its personnel is a club’s highest priority.
So, whether it’s a small clinic in a club or attendance at a national convention, coaches must be lifelong students of the game.
Indeed refining one’s craft of coaching is an on-going process. If you are a soccer coach then you must be committed to your formal and informal education. A coach has every right to expect the club to host a clinic at least once a year. But the coach has an obligation to attend the clinic. On the club wide ‘clinic day’ all training sessions and matches should be postponed.
Youth soccer clubs should also budget to annually send some of the staff to a state symposium or a national convention. The experience is eye opening! Continuing education of coaches should be a cultural norm in all American soccer clubs. I look forward to seeing you at the 2016 US Youth Soccer Workshop in Baltimore next January.
New this year: A Poster Session was held this year in front of the US Youth Soccer Workshop booth and it was a great success offering a series of interesting and innovative topics presented by top people in their field. Here is the list for 2015’s session.
How Important is Playing at Home and Scoring First?
Dr. Jay Williams
Do the Physical Demands of a Match Affect Technical Performance?
Dr. Jay Williams
Physical abilities of pre-adolescent and adolescent club soccer players
Radi Baltov, Brian McKay and Dr. Jesse DeMello
Measuring Physical work capacity (aerobic ability) of 8-11 year-old male and female soccer players
Sarah Cresswell, K. Pierce, C. Frilot and Dr. Jesse DeMello
Measuring anaerobic endurance of collegiate level soccer players
Brian McKay, K. Pierce, T. Winter and Dr. Jesse DeMello
Soccer Coaches Commitment
Dr. Sheri Huckleberry
Schools vs. Clubs: Research for the Debate
Dr. Andrew Guest