Don’t Just Let Them Play…


If it’s not the most common complaint in the soccer forums, it has to be at least in the top 3; “just let the kids play”, that’s the popular formula for soccer excellence. 

“Kids in the USA just need to get outside and play... play street soccer, play pickup soccer… then they will finally catch up to the rest of the world and win a World Cup”.

I’m not one that can agree with this common sentiment.

The kids I see coming into SocrLabs that have only played “street soccer”, and maybe some park rec ball, are so far behind the kids that play organized soccer I sometimes wonder if I should even allow them in the door.

Or at least charge them double, or triple, for the extra work it takes to teach them a basic soccer kick instead of “toe balling” or "push passing". 

But I don’t… I just put my head down and know that this kid is going to show a massive improvement in a short amount of time and the parents will be amazed at the transformation. 

This “word of mouth” advertising then pays dividends for the business growth.

It’s not just soccer, my daughter played “street volleyball” with friends and family for years while camping but when she tried out for her middle school volleyball teaming 6th grade, it was already too late, and she was too far behind to even make the team, much less get any game time. 

Just being a good athlete wasn't enough!

Street sports do not teach the basics so all the hours of playing often amount to little and often create such bad habits that there’s a negative value acquired.

Are "street sports" all bad?

Some kids are more “naturals” than others and some sports have fewer technical advantages required to be successful. 

Dribbling a basketball is far less technical than dribbling a soccer ball and the game in general is more “natural” than soccer so playing “street ball” can be very beneficial. 

But many other sports have technical aspects that make a massive difference in the quality of a player and they require someone to coach / teach the kids how to do things correctly or all those hours of “street play” accomplish very little. 

Very rarely will you see a golfer hit the ball well without good technical form.

Fast running and “Toe balls” will get a kid through U9 or U10 but then the more technical players will leave them behind like bad cleat odor in the back of a car parked in the heat of mid-day summer.

Just let the kids play? Sure, but teach them how to play first. 

You don’t need to commit to a lifetime of soccer but don’t expect the majority of kids to be able to learn soccer from watching soccer on TV, an Xbox video game, or hacking around on the playground.

Kids need to help when learning to play soccer.

Gary Jezorski

PS SocrLabs is the only hi-tech indoor soccer development center of its kind for youth soccer development. If you want to see your favorite player get a rapid skills acceleration, then check it out today. or on Facebook at


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