Circling in on Dominance

Posted by Tim Nash on Aug 2, 2018 12:13:56 PM


Way back in the 90s, the late Tony DiCicco had his players complete an exercise that emphasized teamwork, accountability and work ethic.

DiCicco used the exercise with his 1996 Olympic Gold medal winning women’s soccer team and the 1999 Women’s World Cup Champions.

The exercise is very simple, yet very effective. DiCicco drew the team’s formation on a whiteboard and asked a player from each position to come up and circle the area for which they felt they were responsible.

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Topics: Youth Sports, Coaching

Gymnast's Focus: "Train, Dominate, Repeat"

Posted by Tim Nash on Jul 11, 2018 11:58:14 AM

Last week, I met a remarkable 14-year-old athlete. Her determination, commitment and attitude toward her sport is remarkable. But it was her focus that really interested me.

Elizabeth Kapitonova is a rhythmic gymnast from Staten Island. She’s without question the best in the U.S. in her age group and will be competing in the youth Olympics this year.

I knew nothing about gymnastics before I was hired to cover the USA Championships. After four days, I know next to nothing, but it’s not hard to spot special athletes, even if you don’t know anything about what they are doing.

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Topics: Youth Sports, Motivation, Goal Setting

How Will Your Child Remember Their Time in Youth Sports?

Posted by Tim Nash on May 23, 2018 9:45:32 AM

Old sayings have merit. If they didn’t, people would have stopped repeating them long before they became old sayings.

And the adage that every youth sports coach wants to coach a team full of orphans is certainly grounded in some truth.

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Topics: Youth Sports, Athlete Development, Soccer, Coaching

I Say Yanny, They Hear Laurel

Posted by Tim Nash on May 17, 2018 10:14:31 AM


A month or so ago, I started asking parents what they wanted from their child’s coach and club. One parent had a simple answer that seemed like a good guideline for coaches to use when working with kids.

“I want a coach who can relate to my daughter in a way she can understand,” said one mother.

Makes sense, I thought. That shouldn’t be hard to do. But now this whole Yanny vs Laurel thing comes up, and I wonder what they actually hear when I speak.

If you haven’t heard of Yanny and Laurel, it’s a recording that has caused the internet community to freak out. It debuted on Snapchat Tuesday and was viewed 18 million times by Thursday morning. The recording says a word. Some people hear Yanny and others hear Laurel. It has something to do with pitch and how it is interpreted differently by different people.

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Topics: Team Communication, Youth Sports, Effective Communication, Coaching

Are Your Leaders Leading?

Posted by Tim Nash on Apr 4, 2018 8:41:41 AM

The hiring process in a business is pretty clear-cut. There’s an opening that requires a certain set of skills. Qualified candidates apply, and the person deemed capable of doing the best job gets the position.

In youth sports organizations, the process can be upside-down at times. When a club needs a coach, the search begins. The club tries to get the best coach available. Adding non-coaching duties to a job description is a common way for clubs to increase the salary of quality coaches.

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Topics: Youth Sports, Soccer, Coaching

Your Club is a Business, Treat it that Way

Posted by Tim Nash on Mar 23, 2018 10:55:21 AM

In 2013, ESPN looked at the exploding youth club sports landscape and came to this conclusion: “Youth sports is so big that no one knows quite how big it is.”

While ESPN was stumped by the sheer number of players involved in youth sports, last year a study by WinterGreen Research published in Time Magazine determined it was a $15.3 Billion industry and rapidly growing.

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Topics: Youth Sports, Elite Sports Teams, Athlete Development, Effective Communication, Coaching

Parents to Coaches: Remember, the Kids are Watching

Posted by Tim Nash on Mar 14, 2018 12:59:45 PM

What exactly do parents want? That’s an important question for youth soccer clubs and coaches, and one worthy of extended discussion. So, in a completely unscientific study, I asked 25 youth soccer parents what they want from their child’s coach and club. This is the second of several posts that will look at what they said.

A dad of a player I once coached told me, “These girls are not going to remember many of their teachers, but they will remember their coaches."

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Topics: Team Communication, Youth Sports, Effective Communication, Coaching

Coaches Who Yell Haven't Prepared Their Players

Posted by Tim Nash on Feb 13, 2018 11:46:14 AM

A mom once told me that her daughter performs best when she is yelled at by the coach.

I told her, “Well, I won’t be doing that.”

She went on to give some examples of coaches who yelled at her and how it seemed to work, or something like that. I wasn’t really listening. My mind was occupied imagining what a miserable experience this girl must be having with soccer.

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Topics: Youth Sports, Sports Performance, Elite Sports Teams, Athlete Development, Effective Communication, Listening, Coaching

What If Player Development Was Your Only Job?

Posted by Tim Nash on Feb 6, 2018 11:53:33 AM

Every youth soccer club will tout player development as the cornerstone of everything it does.

But making player development the top priority rarely happens. In many cases, the club is exaggerating its commitment to player development. In most cases, they are wishing it was true but not doing a lot to make it happen.

There are a lot of reasons, of course. But one in particular is especially frustrating in youth soccer, and that’s when winning games is more important to the coach.

Coaches endure an internal argument between their naturally competitive impulses and the desire to do right by the players. Too many times, when the competitive beats development.

That’s why Noel Gillespie’s job is so interesting.

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Topics: Athletic Performance, Youth Sports, Athlete Development, Coaching

3 Questions Every Club Needs to Answer

Posted by Tim Nash on Jan 29, 2018 1:01:59 PM

There are three questions every youth soccer organization should continuously ask. Honest answers can clarify the work being done and the direction taken toward success.

The questions are:

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Topics: Youth Sports, Elite Sports Teams, Athlete Development, Effective Communication, Coaching