Imagine how bizarre it would be for your child to go to school an entire year and never bring home a report card. If that were the case, your perception of how they are performing in school and what they are learning would be based solely on the graded material that came home in their backpack.
Without report cards there would be no opportunity to hear from the teacher about their mentality towards learning, attentiveness in class, cooperation with others, their attention to detail or organizational skills.
The purpose of a report card is to provide updates to parents regarding a students’ progress towards meeting standards. Without report cards, parents would be left in the dark when it comes to gauging their child’s progress.
Youth Soccer Clubs Should Be Providing Regular and Systematic Feedback
In the article “The Parent-Coach Communication Divide” I highlight one of the reasons for the divide that exists between Parent and Coaches as “there is not enough regular and systematic evaluation of players.”
Should we expect youth soccer coaches to provide feedback to parents during the course of the year?
Parents should request regular and systematic feedback to become a club-wide standard for players who are on a competitive team – a youth soccer report card!
Feedback should not be the result of the parent or player having an issue that needs to be addressed.
Feedback should be commensurate with the age and level at which a child is playing.
Feedback could be in the form of a quick parent-player-coach meeting or phone call or a written evaluation similar to a soccer report card is reasonable.
Young players just starting down the competitive pathway should expect a quick coach “check in” in the form of a soccer report card or face-to-face conversation.
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For teams with volunteer parents, it should be left up to the volunteer coach to decide if they have the time or soccer knowledge to provide any feedback.
Help for Coaches in the form of new Technology
I was thrilled to learn about iSport360, a new app founded by Ian Goldberg, a sports dad and coach who is on a crusade to improve the youth sports experience for coaches, parents and most importantly – the young player.
iSport360 (of which I am not getting any financial benefit by plugging!) is an app that would be an ideal feedback tool for recreation through middle-range competitive teams. It enables coaches and parents to share objective player feedback throughout the season and at tryout time.
Technology like iSport360 is a demonstration of the positive path we are on when it comes to improving youth sports!
Great things happen when coach feedback is provided to players
When a coach provides feedback:
- Technical, Tactical, Physical and Psychological Standards are clarified by clubs and coaches, thereby supporting a player development focus.
- Tryout Stress is reduced as parents understand if their child is or is not meeting standards.
- Players are given an opportunity to interact with their coach. As this is often uncomfortable for the player, being forced to do so is important.
- Parents are less inclined to compare their children to others – as they now would have an opportunity to compare their children towards standards and/or suggestions the coach has for the player during the evaluation.
- Level-headed parents would have the door opened to them to communicate with the coach.
I am happy to say that this is an area where I am extremely satisfied with my daughter’s ECNL level club. The coach makes a point of setting up phone conference calls between the player, parent(s) and himself twice a year. The calls last 10 minutes and are an opportunity for the parents to hear the feedback the coach has for the player, hear their child ask for clarification and discuss their goals, as well as a time for parents to ask questions.
If your club is not providing regular and systematic feedback for their competitive teams, it’s time to ask them to do so. It is essential we foster an environment of collaboration.
There is the strong fear of being portrayed as a crazy soccer parent and the result is parents who are hesitant to speak up and ask for feedback. It’s important to know that feedback is a club standard most clubs aspire towards.
For better or worse, coaches and clubs demand a lot of our players – coaches owe it to them to provide feedback.