As we end our regular season and look ahead, I would like our players and parents to reflect on our non-soccer sporting behaviors. When DUSC started its Soccer For All Committee in January 2020 we had ambitious aims to change the climate of youth soccer and elevate our conduct to a higher level by infusing our culture so that everyone—players, parents, coaches, directors, staff— treats each other fairly and that we exemplify good sporting behavior.
All across the club, we continue to work together to achieve these aims while increasing our acceptance and understanding of others. We must continue to develop codes of conduct that set the highest standards for respect and inclusion. This includes processes for decision making, education, and conflict resolution. Our goal is that families and especially our players, feel good to be a part of DUSC, and that our sporting behaviors on and off the field help each of us grow into more respectful, accepting and effective people.
Soccer creates many opportunities to discuss these noble characteristics. Every training session and every game offer a roller coaster ride of emotional and physical ups and downs. Instead of asking our young players if they won the game or they scored or what the coach said to them, try using the Socratic Method. Ask them - Was that a good decision? Why? Did you react appropriately? Respond respectfully? How should you handle a disagreement - are all good ways to start these conversations.
We can also agree that whether we are coaching when to pass or dribble or how to respond after a tough loss, our kids hold onto such lessons with deeper understanding when they learn them on their own. Some coaches believe that players should simply be told what to choose. The DUSC Way is to teach players that they have the power of choice, that they are responsible for the choices they make, and that they owe it to themselves and the team to work on their development on and off the field.
Yours in soccer,