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If you have not yet read the overview for how and why sport is changing in Manitoba, we suggest you start there and then move onto sport specific examples such as soccer.

Sport Specific Example: Soccer

Should we be keeping score? What about standings and periodization? Check out this provocative interview with Brian Lilley of SunNews as he discusses the changes coming to soccer.

This past weekend the Globe and Mail printed a story called "The case for killing the competition". It also discusses the changes coming to soccer in Canada.

What is happening in Soccer in Winnipeg This Spring?

Changes to the way 9-year-old soccer players will learn and play the game are now being phased in by Winnipeg's five soccer districts. The Greater Council of Winnipeg Community Centres and all the districts have committed to a standard approach for soccer programs for ages 4-8 however there will be some variations from district to district in how 9-year-old soccer is delivered in 2012.

"Our goal was to move all Winnipeg 9-year-old players to a 6-versus-6 league format this spring," said Alastair Gillespie, WYSA president. "While our consultation involved representation from recreational to premier soccer, it's clear that there are still concerns about the need to inform parents and players as well as upgrade infrastructure. We have agreed that the best approach for this year is for each district to implement U9 changes according to their individual preparedness."

The Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association, which includes representation from the district associations, has been working for more than a year with the Manitoba Soccer Association to develop a new Winnipeg-focused plan for the Wellness to World Cup Long Term Player Development program (LTPD).

LTPD is a national program for soccer development, training, competition and recovery based on biological age (physical maturity) rather than chronological age. It is player-centered, coach-driven and supported by administration, sport science and sponsors alike. By ensuring fun playing experiences for children, a suitable player development pathway for youth, and opportunities for lifelong participation for all players regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, LTPD provides a framework for the growth and success of the beautiful game in Canada.

To read more on Wellness to World Cup and LTPD

Sample practice activites: Follow the leader, Making friends with the ball, Nuts and Squirrels and Chain soccer


Feature Article

by Sylvie Beliveau
LTPD Manager
Canadian Soccer Association

Why are the changes in soccer (LTPD) beneficial for children aged 8 and under?

“The changes in soccer (LTPD), aim at giving the game back to the kids by placing them in the center of their development and the learning process.”

"Get rid of it! Kick it out! Kick it away!" all that screaming by adults under the pressure to win games does not have a place in soccer (LTPD). For too long, this was exactly how we valued the work done by the volunteer coaches who devote time and energy to the game and how we position success for the players developing. Imagine how beneficial it would be to play without this fear of being screamed at and with the freedom of the streets that has been lost.

In today`s world, where kids have stopped playing outside, it has become more important to educate the adults (coaches and parents) in how to structure the environment and the changes in soccer. As the early experiences in soccer are nowadays organized, supervised and coached, LTPD provides the necessary information to reach our goal, to provide a game for the kids rather than the adults.

Before the age of 8, kids play soccer to have fun; they have yet to fall in love with the game. And before they can play the game, they need to develop the skills.

The changes provided by LTPD make us understand it is crucial to teach children of the early stages (4 to 8 years old) the proper fundamentals to develop and to enjoy sports all lifelong. In addition to learning how to run, jump, throw, catch, roll, kick, they also need to learn to solve game problems and the only way is to encourage children to express themselves. This is only possible if kids play fearless and allow themselves to control the ball, play with it and run with it.

As Thomas J. Watson was saying:
“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s really quite simple. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success, but it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember, that’s where you will find success.”

Smart kicking starts with a touch.

  • In soccer, we must be able to select relevant information and appropriately process it to build an appropriate motor response.
  • Our action must support what we choose in relation with what we see.
  • The notion of trying to accomplish a positive action as opposed to simply kicking the ball away!
  • The possibility (risk) of failure is part of the learning process (similar to learning in school)

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