Posted: February 08th 2017

 Got a question from Rhian today that I thought would interest you ...

"I'm quite confused how my son does so well in the TCSA training sessions giving him full confidence and he runs his legs off . But every local team matches he falls apart with no confidence leaving him annoyed when he gets home. Any advice appreciated. Thank you"

In case you're wondering...

It's not the 'drills' we do.

It's not any of that stuff.

Are you ready for this?

It's environment.

Here's the best definition I could find on google:

"environment. the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu. Ecology. the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time."

Just like as humans, animals and plants we need water, food and shelter to survive and grow, kids need 'things' in their environment to 'grow' into the best version of themselves..

So here's my Rules for Creating a Great Environment for kids to Grow

1. Unconditional Love

This is a cracker from Stephen Covey, the author of 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People':

'The only way ALL your children will know they are loved unconditionally is by seeing you love your most difficult child unconditionally'

Let that sink in...You get it? Deep. But true.

Kids are gonna mess up a million times but they want to know that it's ok to make mistakes. Sometimes they'll be in front, sometimes behind but they must know that they inherently matter.

I can't speak for Rhian's boy's team, but I can tell you that in a lot of junior league matches it's definitely NOT ok to make mistakes. It's 'sink or swim'. The pressure to perform is so great, you'd swear these kids were on £100, 000 a week and had put in 20 years of practice.

2. High expectations

This may sound like a contradiction, but it's not.

Surely high expectations will put 'pressure' on kids?

Not if put across in a helpful and useful way...

It's about the message we send them. 'Can't do it' or 'Can't do it YET'? See the difference in expectations? 'You can't do it yet, but you will if you keep learning and developing.' That's the message we want to send.

It's one thing to have high expectations and 'raise the bar' for kids. It's another thing to be able to help them 'get over' that 'bar'. Again, I can't speak for Rhian's boy's team but many local coaches are semi-qualified at best. Many do an admirable job but if you have high expectations, they will only be healthy expectations if they are matched with proper expertise and support. You wouldn't be happy with one of the parents with no qualifications stepping in to take a maths class at school would you?

Football can arguably have a BIGGER impact on a youngsters confidence and attitude so finding proper professional coaching is a must if you want your child to flourish on and off the pitch.

3. Recognise And Reward Effort, Learning, Progress and Growth

Kids are not dull. They suss out the heirarchy straight away. He's better than me...But I'm better than him...and on and on...

But what's missing in a lot of 'environments' is the message that 'yeh, he might be better than you now...but that can change...if YOU change'.

That's why we don't do 'top goal-scorer of the year award' at TCSA...because a player banging in goals left right and centre doesn't mean he's improving.

Sport Psychologists call it the 'motivational climate' we create.

ALL of the things holding your child back can be broken down into a SKILL that can be learned and then make the difference in their game and their life.

They can even become so SKILLED that confidence, focus and attitude can transfer from an environment where they have full access to their 'inner resources' to an environment where previously they couldn't access it. That's the holy grail...

But it can take time.

In the meantime, choose your child's environments carefully.

Have a cracking weekend.I'm gonna watch some of our graduates now at Pro Clubs in action.