September 2014 Newsletter
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Game Time
Most of Milltown's U8-HS teams took to the fields last weekend for their first set of games, and Kick and Chase will be starting their game schedule in the next few weeks. It's an exciting time for players, coaches, and parents. Check out the U8-HS Game Schedule, and make it a point to get out to one of these games this season. You'll see some great soccer, smiling faces, and proud parents. Some of them might even share their snacks.
Playtime Adventure
Our friends at UK International Soccer are offering a NEW physical activity and development program for kids between 3 and 5 years old. The program is not sport-specific. It aims to develop the fundamental motor skills that will help kids enjoy all sports. 

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Let Them Play


The start of the season brings excitement for players and coaches as they prepare to test their skills in game situations. But for many parents, the start of the game schedule brings a kind of nervous confusion. We want our kids to feel successful and to improve, but we are often unsure how to help on game day.

Here's what I suggest: just let them play.

Don't get me wrong; it is important for parents to cheer for their kids, and to show an interest in their game experience. But despite what adults often assume, kids rarely need complicated pre-game instructions or a constant stream of "helpful" directions during the game. They certainly don't need the car ride home to become a post-game show on wheels. Instead, what they need is positive support that focuses on enjoyment and process rather than outcome, the freedom to make their own decisions during a game, and the confidence that they will get a snack and/or a hug after the game regardless of the outcome.

I guarantee that the players will make mistakes. They would probably make fewer if we could guide them around the field with joysticks. But we would be sacrificing long term development for short term satisfaction. The freedom to make mistakes, and to learn from them, is a crucial element in player development. What players need from parents (and coaches) is reassurance that mistakes are okay, and will lead to progress.

Of course, we also need to be honest about our own feelings as parents. We know soccer is just a game, but for many of us, what happens on the athletic field seems to matter more than what happens on the monkey bars. That is fine. We just want to be sure that it does not lead us to shape the experience of players in ways that undermine their enjoyment of the sport, or their willingness to make decisions and take risks.

So as we work our way through the game schedule, I encourage you to keep these three simple words in mind: let them play. Who knows, you might even find that you enjoy watching the games more when you realize that "letting them play" is all you need to do during the game.

Thanks, and enjoy the rest of the season. 


Mike Reese
President, Milltown United Soccer Club
Curriculum News

Milltown launched the 2014 fall season with a shiny new Coaching Curriculum courtesy of the Portland Timbers-Thorns and OYSA. Together with a series of integrated coaching clinics held in August, we expect the curriculum and session plans to greatly improve the experience of our players. Just as important, it will make preparing practices much easier on our volunteer coaches. Since most of our coaches start in Kick and Chase, we have taken an extra step in those age groups: through a unique partnership with OYSA, we are providing our Kick and Chase coaches with targeted session plans and access to on-site professional coaches to assist with implementation. None of this is intended to turn Milltown players into tiny Timbers. Instead, we want a developmentally-appropriate experience for our players, a less burdensome and frustrating experience for our coaches, and for the Timbers to win the MLS Cup. (Okay, that last one had nothing to do with the curriculum, but we still want it).