Webinar Recap: Erica Suter and Stu Singer on Mental and Physical Performance - Soccer Parenting Association
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Webinar Recap: Erica Suter and Stu Singer on Mental and Physical Performance

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Live Webinar a few weeks back! If you missed some fantastic pointers with Erica and Stu on Mental and Physical Performance, here is a recap of some of the best bits.

You can access the full hour-long Webinar on the SoccerParenting Resource Center now - hit the button below to sign up for a three-day free trial.

In the meantime, enjoy these clips we've added below! 



How to Manage Training for Different High-School Sports

TRANSCRIPT:

Skye:

Yeah. Erica, from Michelle Jackson, I have a 14 year old boy who plays ECNL and has a dream of playing pro. Can you comment on multiple sports at high school and how many hours and what type of performance training?

Erica Suter:

Oh, that's such a good question. So yes, at that level, that's, when kids are going to pick their primary sport. That's the age where they're performance focused on getting better at that sport, technically, tactically, and also for the physical demand. So if it's before high school, I definitely recommend multiple sports, but the high school schedule and then the ECNL schedule at that age, it doesn't allow for them to do so. That doesn't mean they can't play pickup or benefit from neighborhood play. I still encourage that for the older kids, but at that point, they're in the year round grind and they're focusing on achieving these high dreams, and it's going to be more important during that year round schedule to still do the strength training and all the injury reduction training, and really monitoring load and playing time and how they're practicing and what drills they're participating in. I know at the ECNL level for girls and boys, they have access to performance coaches and sports scientists who discuss these things to keep the specialized athlete healthy.

Skye:

Yeah. Thank you. Thanks. I know as there's some great content on Soccer Parent Resource Center too, from Erica, from Chris Gorez, that speaks to these subjects as well. So if you're curious, there's hour long interviews, a couple of them, from both Erica and Chris on there to support you all as parents as well.

How to Support your Child When you Feel The Coach is Treating them Unfairly

TRANSCRIPT:

Skye:

Okay. So the next question here, Stuart, from David, how can we best support a child when they don't like a coach or feel like they're not getting fair treatment?

Stuart Singer:

Yeah, this is a hard one because I mean, it's a challenging scenario. Not a hard question to ask, but it's, because on one hand what we want to say is, or often we say is that life's hard, you're not going to like every boss you have, we kind of do these, these kind of rote answers for that. I think depending upon age you can do a couple things. One is that as parents we have to define out what that all means. Because sometimes kids will say, "Hey, they correct me a lot." It's kind of the job, so do they really not like you or are they really picking on you? So helping them kind of put real words to what the scenario is. I think that that's really important because that's our job as parents.

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Stuart Singer:

But I also encourage the idea of kids being able to talk to coaches and it's hard maybe for a 10 year old, but if it's a 13, 14, 15 year old that we're talking about, I do think that that's the age that it's okay to begin having conversations like, "Well, you say this a lot to me. I'm not really sure what that means. Or, how should I be working on this to improve it?" And you open up a little bit of dialogue to find out more about what that means or what they can do. Some of it is about that and that's good life skill stuff, going back to some of the pillars that you talked about at the beginning.

Stuart Singer:

I know when my son joined a DA, I think he was 14 at the time, and they flat out said we want the conversations to be between the players and the coaches, at least first, unless there's something massive, that's where we want it to be. He's not a real talkative guy, and he did it, and he did a great job with it. And I loved that that was one of the things that they had to do was have these conversations together. So I think part of it is on us helping them to put real, like what is that? Is that coaching or is that too much? If it does feel like too much then can they have the conversation?

Stuart Singer:

And then lastly, obviously if that's an impossible thing and you think that then as a parent, we can step in and have the conversation with coaches. As coaches, if there's coaches on here that feel like they're trying to just give instruction, the kid's sensitive, well, why can't we open up that area of communication as well? So the one thing that we can do as coaches is have those kind of conversations. Like I feel like every time I talk to you, you get defensive and it bothers you. What's a better way for me to communicate to you so that you can learn? And they'll often have pretty good answers for you. So I think that's a great way, those are different parts of that process.

Skye:

Yeah. Thank you. That's great. I also think, my favorite part of the comment that you made is about the important role that coaches play in these interactions, and we have our United Soccer Coaches Convention coming up next week, I'm presenting a few times at the convention, and I'm leading a panel on fostering psychologically safe coach player interactions. And it's a panel for coaches to learn about how to do this. So I also want to mention to the parents listening that this is not something that all coaches are good at and some coaches are coaching the way they've been coached and we do need to support our child, listen, protect them maybe if the coach is a little bit too harsh or too much of a bully, and that is a fine line of where that happens. And so I would just encourage all parents to not jump to any conclusions about how their coach is acting, but to also in the back of your mind, realize that coaches need to help and guidance here too. And this is something that we, as an ecosystem, can all get better at. So I just wanted to mention that, especially as I'm thinking about this convention topic.

Dealing with a Lack of Motivation: Training Solo or in Groups?

TRANSCRIPT:

Skye:

This is a question from Jill. My girl doesn't like practicing by herself, but she wants to get better. We do a few clinics, but it's hard to find others to work with. She loves the social aspect, but between COVID and the cold outside, it's hard to get people together. Ways to make solo stuff more fun, or should we just not worry about it? Parts of this too, involves her not wanting to do the hard work in the moment in order to get her results, which is totally normal and hard even for adults, but how do you handle this for a tween?

Skye:

Jill to start with, I would encourage you to pop out of the Soccer Parent Resource Center and do our game plan on motivation and learn about self-determination theory, growth mindsets, and other things. Because this question came up a lot for us during COVID with clubs giving kids individual technical training and the kids pushing back and it becoming a real stress between parents and their children. And so we push out a game plan on teaching parents about the science behind motivation in order to help trigger some of the self-motivation from the child so that maybe they'd be willing to do this more. Erica, do you want to pop in with that to start with, just from your background with working with kids and motivation? And then Stuart, want to take a chime at that too if there's still some space?

Erica Suter:

Yeah, sure. I think it really depends on what motivates your athlete and do they need to be working towards a certain number? I can speak to things like speed times or strength gains and just giving them target goals to shoot for and then laying out, okay, well here's a map of what you need to do in order to get there. And I'm very honest with them that it is going to take some solo work, but a lot of girls during the pandemic, they really were motivated by just having music playing or just like something fun or building a home gym with their parents and just having that community within their household. And again, I can't reinforce enough how important it is sometimes for the parent to even join the workouts and make it competitive, make it fun with your kid. I've seen the most success in my programs, parents joining the kid.

Erica Suter:

And then as far as things like the cold or maybe inclement weather, you don't need that much space to get out and do pull ups or work with the ball even, so you can be in a smaller space and better yet you don't need to go anywhere and you can be in your home environment, something you're familiar with, something that motivates you and it's really important to just figure out what type of environment you need and who you need with you and what you need to take action on your goals.

Skye:

Love it. Love it. Thank you. Yeah. So the answer is let them play in the kitchen if it's too cold outside, no. Have some fun. Thanks. Stuart, you want to talk about motivation, self-determination, anything that's key for you related to that? Because I know this is a pretty common issue.

Stuart Singer:

Yeah. I mean there's a bunch of layers to this. One is, I would say, like what Erica said, if a kid enjoys like the small group stuff, let's try to get them there and have it, why not? Let's make that the way it goes. The other thing is individual work can be fun. It doesn't have to be like drills at 12 probably can be boring sometimes. So it can turn into more game like scenario where we kind of take what would be a drill, but we make it somehow fun, a little, a bit more competitive, let's say, competition wise. So those are some things to think about. But getting to your point around self-determination theory is the idea of first and foremost autonomy, which is like choice.

Stuart Singer:

So give them choice. Skye, we we're friends with Yael and the Techne App, and there's multitude, multitude, multitude of individual training sessions there. Let them go through and say here's 10, skill things that they want you to work on, but this is 10 different ways, you tell me which you want to do. And so by giving choice, sometimes we create motivation. When we feel like we're being jammed into something we can often resist and young kids may resist in that scenario.

Skye:

Yeah.

Stuart Singer:

Competency is part of it. So what do they already feel good, and just add a little bit. So we're more reluctant when we think we're going to be bad at something, if we're already kind of competent in it, but we just make it a little bit more challenging, that's a good way to create some motivation. And then connecting it with a why. Why is this going to make you better? Not just do it, but how is this going to play out and have that conversation, why is this important to you?

Stuart Singer:

And then the last layer of it that I would say is not everybody loves to practice and not everybody wants to be great. So you might want them to be great, they're 13, they just might want to be, they like it when they're with their friend, they don't love it as much when they're by themselves and there's only so much we can force upon people. So these are some ideas to try to engage, and also we should know, it's not abnormal for someone not to be absolutely like, I got to do my piano lessons or I got to do my ball skill work.

Skye:

Yeah. I love it. And I was going to chime in with that in response to Jill, and I know other parents deal with that as well is, is my experiences with my daughter is she and I were on an interview together for New Jersey Youth Soccer a couple weeks ago, and she specifically like looked at me during the interview and said, "I am so glad that my mom didn't force me to do things because if she did, I would've quit soccer." I had a gym membership for Callie since she was 13 years old and she would never go. Our nextdoor neighbor would go all the time, they could walk there, she wouldn't invite Callie, no, I don't want to go. And it was killing me. I'm like go to the gym. And now Callie goes to gym just about every day. She's 21, she figured it out. We just need to let our children find their own path. And so I really appreciate that.

About the Author Skye Eddy

Founder, SoccerParenting.com Skye is a former All-American goalkeeper, professional player and collegiate coach. She holds her USSF “B” License and USSF National Goalkeeper License and is an active youth coach, soccer parent and coach educator.

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