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To develop talented kids into successful soccer players, it needs more than just discipline and hard work in practice. Without a positive learning environment, the long way to the top can come to a quick end. Our expert Brad Nein, US Coach, founder of the Storm Soccer Academy and the Blog “Educated Coaches”, explains to you how Coaches and Parents can support the development of the youngest players.

How to build a positive environment for young athletes?

Young athletes love to participate in activities that are fun, that allow them to showcase their skills and abilities, and where skill improvement is taught by caring and informed coaches. Unfortunately, the young athletes do not make the decision on who will provide them with the background for future successes on the field and in life. Parents, coaches, sport organizations, and influential parental friends all play a significant role in sport selection and how the sport education will proceed. How can youth sport participants navigate this system of development where getting a knowledgeable, energized, and proficient teacher as a coach and a supportive parental group is a game of luck?

Education is the key factor. Parents and coaches that enhance knowledge within the field of youth sports have a better opportunity for making better decisions and creating an improved environment for the participant. Every youth athlete deserves to participate in a positive environment that is built around individual growth and success. Athletes thrive in environments that feature:

  • Learning and Fun to be the two significant outcome goals.

  • An emphasis placed on personal improvement over winning.

  • Coaches that create personal relationships with athletes and their families.

  • Mistakes as stepping stones towards achievement.

  • Coaches who provide positive reinforcement at an increased ratio compared to constructive criticism.

Developing a passion for the sport

The earlier an athlete can be placed in this type of environment, the greater the opportunity for the participant to begin to develop a passion for the activity. Athletes that develop a passion for sport participation at a younger age have fun while participating, spend more time working on their skills away from practice, take time to observe more professional games, and become devoted to the sport of their choice as they grow older.

"Match up a quality coach who understands the environment that athletes thrive in."

A positive sports environment will look different from all groups involved including the athlete, family, friends, and coach. Player participation, fun and activity interest all increase when each group that provides influence on the athlete work in harmony.

Placing the athlete within the appropriate level and team where they have an opportunity for success through hard work and dedication assists in growing the passion. Match up a quality coach who understands the environment that athletes thrive in and an opportunity for life-long learning through sport appears.

Athletes flourish in an environment where fun and learning are the main reasons for participation. If it spirals out of control and the support group defines success as winning games, players will not be able to deal with the pressure of being in a must win situation at all times. In this environment, success does not happen unless the game is won. After watching 1000’s of games over a lifetime, it has become apparent that a team can win or lose the game and development and learning can happen for both teams. It depends upon what the coach places emphasis upon – development & learning or winning & losing?!

"Development & learning lead us to become lifetime learners."

Development & learning allow athletes to accentuate the process over the result. When the athletes’ purpose for participation is different than the coaches, parents, and other members of the athlete’s support group, the outcome will be disastrous…

Thanks to our friends from educated coaches. For more great reading on creating a good sports environment. Visit them under

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This article was written by Brad Nein, founder of Find more info on his website.

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