he primary goal of youth sports is development. And even though most youth soccer clubs and teams claim development as their primary objective, they usually define success in terms of winning, because it is the only thing they can measure. This is why soccer statistics are so important! Statistics help coaches, players, and parents re-define how they measure success and allow them to start measuring what matters - development! We have seen statistics completely change the culture of soccer teams when they make statistics part of their DNA. Here are just a few of the benefits statistics produce for coaches, players, and parents.
HOW SOCCER STATS HELP COACHES
When you are coaching a game, there is a lot to manage when you consider subs, tactical adjustments, in-game coaching, and sometimes the referee and parents. Even the best coaches cannot see everything. Real-time stats are an incredible tool to help coaches confirm what they are seeing, discover what they may be missing, and make better in-game adjustments to help their team and players get results. Just last week we were talking to a coach who shared with us how statistics showed him that one of his players was much more efficient coming off the bench than starting a game. That player has now turned into one of their most efficient goal scorers. He said he never would have discovered that without looking at the stats.
Being able to look at your team’s performance statistically also allows you to prioritize the most urgent things to work on in your upcoming training sessions and set meaningful short and long-term goals with your team. Another huge benefit for coaches is that statistics remove subjectivity and increase accountability for parents and players. This helps mitigate emotions during conversations and makes communicating about coaching decisions much easier. Read more about how stats can help coaches here.
HOW SOCCER STATS HELP PLAYERS
At the end of the day, kids start playing soccer because it is fun. Unfortunately, we find a way to suck the fun out of youth sports before age 13 and 70% of kids quit. The youth sports environment also struggles to compete with the immediate validating feedback kids get from video games and social media. Stats helps fix this in a couple of ways. With statistics, kids get positive feedback from peers and coaches and can measure their improvement each game. And when kids feel like they are improving or “leveling up”, they not only have more fun, but also get a huge boost in confidence as they continue to train and play.
One of the things we consistently hear from kids is how much they love seeing what they did well and where they can improve after each game regardless of the game result. This shift to focusing on development is huge for kids because they focus on factors that they can control. Stats also provide a major source of motivation because you’re constantly competing against yourself and your teammates. And now when a kid has a great game, he knows he’ll get recognized for it by his parents, peers, and coaches. This is Huge for kids! Read more about how stats can help players here.
HOW SOCCER STATS HELP PARENTS
As we talk to parents, we’ve found that they get as much and sometimes more value from the statistics than the kids. Oftentimes as a parent, you don’t know what you can do to help your child progress and love the game more. Meaningful game statistics help fix that! When you have statistics on a game, whether you were able to attend or not, you can celebrate with your child the areas where they excelled and make a plan to work with them in the areas where they struggled – regardless of a game result. This helps parents and kids re-define success from winning, where 50% of kids fail each game, to individual performance and improvement where everyone can grow.
As a parent, having meaningful accurate statistics for your child is comforting because you know they will get recognized for their contributions which can often get overlooked by a coach who is managing so many other aspects of the game. It makes having conversations with your child or coach much easier because there is real data to hold kids, coaches, and parents accountable. Parents can also use the stats a way to self-check how rosy the rose-colored glasses are that they are sometimes wearing. Read more about how stats can help parents here.
If your club or team is not yet using statistics to help players, parents, and coaches, you’re missing a huge opportunity. You can’t improve what you can’t measure so if you really want to make development your focus, start measuring it! Find a platform that allows you to track basic statistics for your team and players and watch what happens. In addition to changing the culture of your team, you can also accelerate their improvement and optimize for individual and team results. Learn more about how Ollie Sports is using stats to help players, parents, and coaches here.