After the positive response to the first three Special Topics Sessions hosted by Washington Youth Soccer earlier this year, three more were scheduled for June, and one again, the turnout from area coaches was strong.
Numerous area coaches attended the three sessions, each held at Starfire Sports in Tukwila and each featuring elite presenters from around the country. Coaches learned about managing the parent-athlete relationship, the development of a nationalized style of play and comprehensive approach to training.
The first session, Sport & Positive Development & Parent-Athlete Relationship, featured guest speaker Angela Hucles, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the U.S. Women's National Team. Now the founder and CEO of the Empowerment Through Sport Leadership Series, Hucles spoke about the specifics of the parent-athlete relationship, and tips that coaches can use to foster a successful environment in which a player can thrive. Having parents, coaches and players all on the same page is an important first step towards success for any team, and with Hucles' strategies, coaches can lay the foundation for a strong season.
In the second session, held later the same evening, U.S. Soccer National Staff Instructor Jay Hoffman discussed the development of a national style of play in the United States. Do we have one? Should we? And if so, what is the best way to go about developing that style of play at all levels of the game? The former head coach of the Boston Breakers and former assistant coach for the U17 and U20 U.S. Men's National Teams, and the current head coach of the U.S. Paralympic National Team, Hoffman's presenttation was very interesting and well-received by the coaches in attendance.
The week's sessions were wrapped up on June 26 by Chad Kolarcik, the head strength and conditioning coach for Seattle Sounders FC. Kolarcik shared strategies he's used to develop some of the top players at the youth, collegiate and professional levels, utilizing both physical training, conditioning and mental preparation for an all-around, comprehensive approach to soccer development. Applicable to coaches at almost any level, in multiple sports, Kolarcik's tips will no doubt make an impact this season on the teams of the many coaches who attended this session.
With the popularity of the Special Topics Sessions this year — including earlier sessions featuring Washington Youth Soccer Technical Director Timo Liekoski, Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid and other coaching experts — more are already in the works for the months ahead. To stay on top of all the latest coaching news, including upcoming Special Topics Sessions, coaching courses and more, bookmark the Coaches page at WashingtonYouthSoccer.org, and sign up to receive the free Coaches Corner newsletter, a bi-monthly look inside the world of youth soccer coaching, written by Washington Youth Soccer coaches, for Washington Youth Soccer coaches.