Coaching Outside the Box by Richard Shaw and Paul Mairs is a must read for all parents and coaches involved in competitive youth soccer or any sport for that matter. First and foremost, the purpose of kids playing sports is to learn and have fun. Unfortunately, many kids have a negative experience at an early age that discourages continued involvement in team sports. The book gives practical advice for changing the mindset from “win at all costs” to positive learning focused on kids’ long-term development and potential. Let me be clear: this book is not about entitlement and “everybody is a winner” mentality. We agree with grouping by ability and player commitment and finding the right environment for each child to facilitate a positive experience. We also agree with the premise of the book that many coaches care far too much about winning and throw player development aside to enable short-term results. Using insightful research and interviews from successful European youth academies Coaching Outside the Box highlights the enormous philosophical gap that exists between American soccer coaches and their European counterparts.
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