A National Alliance for Youth Sports resource helping coaches, parents and administrators provide the best youth sports experiences for children.
Five Pillars of Success
By Greg Bach
Orlando Pride forward Jasmyne Spencer picked up some valuable attributes during her journey through youth soccer.
And she’s committed to helping kids pocket some of those same traits as they learn and compete in the sport, too.
“In all aspects of your life you want to be confident and believe that you can be the best person you can be and achieve anything you want,” says Spencer, who starred at the University of Maryland and now poses problems for defenders throughout the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) as a member of the Orlando Pride.
Through her JAS Football Club she conducts developmental training for young players built on her five pillars of success:
Love the game
Play with passion
Work for the team
Never give up
That’s a pretty good list of attributes that works for coaching kids in any sport.
And at any level.
“We play a team sport and it doesn’t matter how great you get as an individual, your success comes from the team’s success,” Spencer says. “And if you can instill that in kids when they are younger, then based on my own experiences they are more likely to get further. Because it’s not just about themselves then and they are willing to go above and beyond just to help the team succeed.”
That team-first attitude defines Spencer’s play, where her high energy and enthusiasm to do whatever it takes to help her team is on full display.
“It doesn’t matter how big you are,” says the 5-foot-1 Spencer. “If you love it and you work hard enough and you have enough heart you can achieve anything you want.”
That’s a great message for all young players to hear and embrace.
And one coaches should be stressing to their teams, too.
Spencer remembers the impact her coaches had on her development in the sport, and she urges them to rely on a positive tone to make the biggest difference with young players today.
“If coaches use a more positive feedback approach then even when they are making corrections they can say ‘You’re really good at this but how about you try it like this this time,’” she says. “That way it doesn’t beat down the kid and they are willing to learn and take in some of that criticism and use it as a positive instead of a negative and help them to keep growing.”
A child’s first coach wields enormous influence and can be the difference between a child loving – or leaving – the sport. Just ask Prim Siripipat, whose love of tennis was forged by an incredibly supportive and caring coach
Jerry Jones learned many valuable lessons playing football, which fueled an incredible journey highlighted by being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.
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