An important reminder for parents, coaches and players! Breathe!

Development is not a straight line from A to Z. Development is messy to begin with and then you add kids to the mix and everything that entails.

Obstacles, set backs, adversity, socialization, puberty, teammate issues… you name it, most players will go through it.

Professionals have bad games and subpar seasons (look at any HOFers career stats and you will find very down years).

It’s not a straight line in any way shape or form. There will be set backs all the time.

Sometimes it’s not even 2 steps forward and 1 back but 1 forward and 3 back.

There are plateaus and there are breakthroughs.

Prepare Yourselves For The Ups and (sometimes long) Downs

There are really, really bad games and really really good ones.

There is seemingly no progress and then a big jump forward. This is one I’ve seen a lot.

Hard work, hard work, hard work, but seemingly a development plateau and then BAM! Yes, BAM! A big leap forward because suddenly it all clicked!

Stop judging players and teams with a short term perspective of game to game or even from the beginning of a season until the end.

There is a lot going on underneath, like the proverbial calm duck on the water.

That team you leave that seems really bad and can’t possibly be developing (gotta get away from that terrible coach!) may be ranked top 10 in three years.

That bad player you want off your team because they are the reason you lose? Might be better than your kid when it’s all said and done.

Development is a career long journey, not a game to game process. Take a breath. It’ll be okay.

There are never any guarantees, only the opportunities to increase the chance of success.

Gregg Gillies
Gregg Gillies

Coach Gregg is a soccer trainer, coach, and youth athlete development specialist. He is also a best selling author and the creator of The Soccer Specialist Podcast who inspires and motivates young players. He has over twenty years of experience in the fitness training world and holds multiple fitness and athlete development certifications, including as a youth development specialist with a focus on soccer players.