New Study Supports CYSA's Curriculum

Since the early 80's, the CYSA Coaching School Curriculum has been urging coaches to help change our soccer culture by giving their players 'Home-work' (now called, "HOME-PLAY!"). We realized, even then, that mastering our game by working on soccer techniques only during organized practice sessions was not enough.

Our curriculum has been structured to teach coaches how to teach their players what to do between practices (in their free time) in order to come back to the next practice/game as a better player. Home-Play assignments included:

  • Making the ball their friend, by juggling.
  • Playing against a wall.
  • Playing against an imaginary opponent.
  • Finding a partner and playing the highly beneficial 1v1 game.
  • Finding more friends and playing any of a variety of small-sided games.

Now, we find that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a report saying that today's overscheduled children need more "free play and unscheduled time." In effect, the report urged parents to schedule free time so their children can act like kids.

"Parents need to realize that kids should not have every minute scheduled," said Dr. Daniel Broughton, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician who helped co-author the report, called "The Importance of play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds."

The report states that child's play helps a child develop socially and emotionally, and deserves its own place alongside academic enrichment and sports programs. It is, the report acknowledges, mainly a problem of the most fortunate in society. However, it said that harried lifestyles are threatening the right to just play.

Among pediatricians, it has been a growing concern, said Broughton, one of seven physicians on the panel that wrote the report.

"We're not just concerned about growing and illness. We're also worried about all the other things that make a happy, healthy child," he said. "Obviously, we're very concerned about children who live in situations where they don't have any supervision and parents are not involved and not caring. We've been dealing with this for years. This is almost the flip side of that, where children are losing out on their childhood."

We hope this report will encourage coaches to become more mindful of giving their players Home-Play assignments. If we (coaches) don't teach them (our players) what to do during their "free time," who will?

Want to learn how to teach your players to structure their "free time" and make it beneficial to their soccer development? Attend one of our CYSA Coaching School Courses.

You can find one near you by going to our web page: www.cysanorth.org