A Business Lesson in Six-Year-Old Soccer

Years ago we were coaching a soccer team of six-year-old girls. After a game with a team clearly way more organized and much better coached than ours, I asked the other coach how he did it.

“Oh it’s not what we do,” he said. “It’s what we don’t do, and even what we don’t say.”

He explained that they kept things very simple.

“We don’t tell them about passing or dribbling or very much of anything. We just tell them we want the ball in the goal.

“We don’t call them halfbacks or fullbacks or strikers or sweepers. They’re kickers and honeybees and goalguarders. Kickers go where the ball is, honeybees go where the ball is going to be, and goalguarders kick it away if it gets close.”

And perhaps the most interesting thing of all:

“We never tell them what they did wrong, or what they’re doing wrong,” he said. “Instead of that, we wait until they do something right, and when they do, we make a really big deal of it. We make sure all the others know what they did right.”

This made so much sense that we started copying it immediately. By the following year, the girls had way more fun, the parents had more fun, and the coaches had more fun, and oh, by the way, not that it mattered, but that team also won every game.


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