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Soccer Practice: How to learn what your kid has learned

Story Time

My last blog on soccer practice discussed the value of storytelling in helping players (new and seasoned) better connect with the sport. I cited several articles, some with "story telling recipes" designed to help you think about how stories are formed.

Basically, most stories only have two components: the problem and the solution. Some stories have multiple problem-solution couplets, but almost all stories have at least one.

What captures our interest about stories of any type? Most of us are more intrigued by hearing solutions to complex issues a story sets forth, rather than listening to a litany of perfect scenarios.

Story tellers (like our kids) intuitively know that they can't engage others, like their parents, about all the "boring" things that went "right." They also intuitively know that their parents might over-respond or get judgmental if they bring up problems, even if solving problems was the most interesting part of their day. Consequently, they play it safe and say nothing.

What went wrong?

How many of us have asked our kids "what did you do at practice today?" knowing that they did quite a bit, yet only hear a grunt or a statement such as "not much" in reply?

While we don't really want to worry our kids, we are more likely to get answers to questions such as the following:

  • What was your biggest challenge today?
  • What was the hardest dribble maneuver you got through today?
  • What was hardest about ball control today?

Of course, you need to know something about your kid's experiences before asking "what went wrong." Bone up on what is being taught in practice sessions and even better, find out from coaches what they think are difficult skills to learn.  

Ultimately, your objective is to be a good audience and show that you are, indeed, entertained by what your child tells you. Remember that your child is not asking you for help when discussing a problem but is telling you how he organized a solution or is actively working on one.

Directly asking about problems won't always result in discussions, but knowing what types of problems exist within your kid's framework will point you to where the problem/solution stories originate. 

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We publish two weekly blogs; this one on Sundays and our soccer sketching blog midweek. All are written to help you, your kids, and friends improve their game and develop some new skills while doing it.

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