CJFC is a competitive youth soccer club committed to offering central New Jersey players an organized and professional association that encourages player and character development, teamwork, sportsmanship, social responsibility and a love and appreciation
The point of the game: winning or player development?
The point of the game, as in any game, is to win. True. And false. At the youth level winning should not and indeed cannot be the basis by which success is determined. When winning is put first technical and tactical development take a secondary role to putting the ball in the back of the net. At the youth level this is disastrous. The product of this style of play is players who kick and chase a ball around a field, sometimes actually putting it in the back of the net. The teams proficient at this style of play, in fact, often win at younger ages as athleticism presides over skill. Instead of learning how to play properly they learn how to chase down a ball to kick it in the back of the net. Instead of becoming technically proficient they become proficient at kick ball; kicking a ball as hard as they can, then chasing it. Granted winning is nice, but winning at this cost is foolish for as these players advance in age the game will pass them by. Unfortunately this is often seen on fields across America. This needs to change. Players need to be put first. Coaches must build a technical base starting at a young age, adding with age, tactical understanding. The product of this environment will be players who have trained properly and have become technically proficient with the ball and tactically aware of the way the game is played. The future belongs to this player.
So where does winning fit in? Innately, within nearly everyone is a competitive nature which exudes itself in many ways; from winning on the field, to winning the boyfriend or girlfriend, to being better than a brother or sister at pretty much anything. A desire to win exists; there is no doubt. Once a player steps onto the field the desire to win will show itself. If it did not there would not be ten and twelve year olds crying after a loss as if they had just lost the final of the World Cup. Every player at every age understands winning and losing and the joy and agony that accompany it.
Furthermore, within everyone (except maybe a few) is the desire to have fun. Once on the field the players should enjoy themselves. However, fun has many facets and getting players to understand the right type of fun may be one of the most difficult tasks coaches face. After all anyone can be a fool or an idiot and use crass humor but only the smartest comedian can be funny about anything, or in the case of Jerry Seinfeld, nothing.
On the field the same holds true. There are major differences between having fun by possessing the ball and dribbling circles around the opposition and having fun by playing grab ass on the field. Anyone can walk on the field and have fun kicking a ball. How far will it go? Can I hit that person in the head from 20 yards? Can I joke around and make everyone laugh? However true fun is found when a team can possess a ball around an opponent at will, with such skill that the opponent has no opportunity to even touch it, much less possess it. This type of fun comes to teams only thru discipline and hard focused work.
Indeed as players mature they find that fun is found in success and discipline while immaturity and naivety are found in crass and foolish games. They begin to hold coaches to higher level of expectations and learn to demand high level training sessions. The only way to become a player who has fun on the field in a mature manner, and sometimes an immature manner (Can I meg this person? Can I do it again?) is by training with a purpose and training intently within that purpose. When this happens both desires will be met; players will be pleased to have won and found that they had fun playing the game properly.