Caño Blog

Top 3 mistakes parents of youth sports players are making! The first one is a major problem.

By Cole Thornton

Top 3 mistakes parents of youth sports players are making! The first one is a major problem.

Youth sports are exceptionally great at a variety of things, from developing a player's skill to teaching important life lessons. However, that doesn't mean that the system is perfect! In fact, since the parents are the ones making all the decisions, they are also the ones making the biggest mistakes when it comes to how they involve their children in the world of youth sports.

1. Only involving their child in one sport.

Sure, the argument can be made that by narrowing a child's sports career to just one sport it allows them to become better at that specific sport, possibly leading to a scholarship or professional career.

To be candid, this is a terrible thought process. 

Youth sports should be thought of similarly to how a school works. There are different classes, some you enjoy more than others but all of them create variety in the lessons learned. If your child is only playing soccer and skipping out on baseball, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, etc., they are missing out on a majority of new learning environments, possible friendships, and coaching experiences. 

They are also put in a position where an overuse injury is much more likely to occur due to constant repetition of the same muscle groups. Emotional burnout is a more likely outcome as well, even in some of the brightest young athletes. 

All in all, it is a much healthier decision to involve your children in more than one sport than to try and "specialize" them.

2. Choosing a team based on the size of the program.

Choosing what team your child plays on should be taken seriously - you are about to send your child for 6 months or more on a 3-day-a-week (at least) venture.

Whatever team they end up on is going to teach them important life lessons and undoubtedly form some key friendships. 

So many parents choose what club or team to put their child on simply because of how many other people are already involved. Every family is different and should take an adequate amount of time to study the different options. This way you can choose the best fit for you and your child, regardless of how many players a certain club or team has. 

3. Choosing a team based on their record.

The following is a common myth: "That team has the most wins out of anybody, they definitely have the best coaches for my child."

Just because a team has a winning record does not mean it will be a good fit for your child. In fact, just because a team has a winning record doesn't mean it has the best coaches at all. Especially in the case of youth sports.

Oftentimes youth programs forget the fact that youth sports should specialize in development and teaching life lessons. Not winning. Some of the best youth coaches in the world will have losing records, because they focus on teaching the correct fundamentals and developing technical skills rather than figuring out how to outplay the opponent each week. 

Winning does not matter as much as developing the individual players at this age.

This is not to say that having a winning record is a bad thing. It certainly isn't. Just don't choose a program to involve your child in based solely on how often they win versus lose. 

So what should you do?

The best ways to avoid making these mistakes are by signing your children up for more than one sport, and always taking the time to make a smart decision of what team to put them on. 

Who is the coach of the team? What is his or her coaching style? Where is it located? Will my kid have friends on the team? What is the team's reputation?

These are all important questions to ask for each sports program you involve your child in. If you can answer all of these questions and happily come to a decision, you are setting your child up for a healthy youth sports experience.


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How the US soccer audience is inhibiting change in the youth development system

By Ivan Camillo

How the US soccer audience is inhibiting change in the youth development system

The “soccer mom” culture in the US makes up a significantly large audience that is prone to buy developmental tools and games for their kids in the 4 to 10 year-old age group. This young soccer mom audience is the one that drives most soccer training sales. Market researchers call the transitional period of a young woman becoming a mother the “maternal pride phenomenon”. It is this early mom period where young women are most susceptible to making purchases based on pride for their babies, including any training equipment and developmental tools to make their kid the very best they can be at their sport.

The particular gap period in which soccer moms are most likely to purchase excess training equipment and player development tools usually lasts between four and six years, gradually decreasing each year. The economy-driven United States has pounced on this information to turn such motherly instincts into booming business. Business wise, there is a great opportunity in potential sales of private training, training equipment, player development tools, and any other products or services that can help the players improve performance during this period. 

Market Researchers have also found a decrease on the size of the soccer audience as a whole after age 10. By age 14 the audience of soccer players willing to buy extra training equipment, private training sessions, and pay for spots on travel teams reduces to the point it can be considered a niche in the US soccer market. Why does this transition happen? Primarily due to two factors; the players age (since they no longer rely on their parents to make the decision for them on whether they want to keep playing or not), and the families monetary situation. This niche market exists in the US because soccer has transformed in this country in a way that it does not work globally – youth soccer revolves around generating good money, not good players. 

Hope Solo put it best when she described the current state of soccer in the US as “a rich, white kid sport”. With a pay-to-play system in place, the older a player who wants to continue playing the sport gets, the more money their parents have to drop each year to ensure that their kid doesn’t fall behind from his or her peers. This money goes to joining “prestigious” club teams, traveling for games, getting extra private training sessions, and so on. But what happens to the families that can’t afford these luxuries? In other countries, it doesn’t matter. Good players are recruited to the best clubs and given opportunities to play regardless of their monetary situation. In the US it is the opposite as the players have to seek out the best clubs and shell out a few thousand dollars a year just for a spot on the team. In other countries, families that have this same type of money can put it towards much more beneficial training equipment like private sessions, development tools, extra gear, etc., all while still affording to keep their kid on a good club team.

The irony of it all is that although soccer is the biggest and most famous brand to ever exist in sports on a global scale, the most powerful and commercially equipped nation in the global sports industry is the slowest in the race of proper youth soccer development. The current nature of the US soccer audience, young moms and wealthy families, will continue to be the primary reason that change towards a better nationwide youth development system will be a slow and painful process. In the United States soccer is a business, not a sport.

Edited by: Cole Thornton

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How Jess Sports is bolstering the effects of small-sided training on youth soccer players

By Cole Thornton

How Jess Sports is bolstering the effects of small-sided training on youth soccer players

It is well known that the reason young footballers (soccer) play small-sided soccer matches such as 4v4, 5v5, and 6v6 is because they are smaller, younger, and need to play with less people to have the same relative experience that older players have in a standard 11 a side match. That statement is a myth. The truth behind the matter of small-sided games actually lies in the process of youth development.

Just like the world of academia, the athletic learning curve is best developed in stages. An 8-year-old is not going to learn how to solve algebra before being taught simple addition and subtraction. The creation of small-sided games in US Youth Soccer was in order to accommodate for the same type of learning experience, so that players could learn in developmental stages. On a smaller field with less players, each player has more time on the ball, less decisions they have to make, and more chances to go at the opposition’s goal. This combination lets younger players learn the game quicker than if they were to jump into an 11 a side match, the algebra. However, the actual benefits of small-sided games go far beyond creating a learning curve.

According to a study by the University of Abertay Dundee on the effects of small-sided games, smaller games increase the speed of play, create more attacking attempts per game, more touches on the ball for all players, more 1v1 situations, and more shots on goal, among numerous other benefits.

Steve Welch of Jess Sports commented his personal observations of the effects 3v3 soccer has had on his kids who play the sport, saying “it really does wonders for improving my kids in all areas of the game. I have all of my little soccer players do 3v3 every summer, and it’s amazing to see them get back to their regular clubs in the fall and surpass their peers in terms of decision-making and skill on the ball.”

This type of information is what inspired the vision of the Caño Cage, a way to tremendously ramp up the effects of small-sided soccer on youth development. The Caño Cage is a portable, moveable, shapeable set of interconnected panels and goals with the vision of transforming US Youth Soccer development training. Due to the numerous benefits small-sided soccer has on player development, the creators of the cage thought “why not smaller?”, thus bringing the vision to life with Caño.

“The ball is always in play, kids learn to control the ball, manipulate it using the sole of their foot, block, tackle, create angles and get very fit in the process. By the way, we don’t teach them anything at this point, the kids go in the cage with no inhibitions and experiment, have fun and all come out smiling whether they have won or lost. Did I also mention they get 50+ touches in just three minutes? When was the last time a kid got 50 touches in a game?” – Paul Harvey, Coach at Oat Box Hill United, Australia.



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