The Madness of King George

Max's soccer season starts in a few weeks and I was out at the Dream Camps coach's meeting today for orientation and the coaches clinic. We got a real treat at the clinic as NCSU head coach George Tarantani and his assistant Oronde Ash lead the U5-U7 session at the clinic. I know a lot of folks have varying opinions on Tarantani but their is no denying the guy has put together an impressive resume at NCSU over the last 20 years -- incuding launching the career of Tab Ramos all the way to the US Soccer Hall of Fame and putting 2 players in the World Cup and 5 on the US National Team during his tenure. It was pretty interesting to see George working with 6 year olds instead of All-Americans. There's no denying that Tarantini is a charismatic and dynamic coach and the kids took to him immediately. As he put the kids through some drills, he shared with the coaches some philosophical thoughts about youth soccer and coaching kids:
  • Nowhere in the world is a child's life so regimented as it is here in the States. He encouraged coaches to allow the kids to basically run amuck and enjoy themselves building their love of the game.
  • Every activity should have a purpose for the kids. Running a drill for the sake of drilling doesn't make any sense to a child. Every excercise should have a goal, no matter how trivial or silly.
  • Constantly challenge the kids to make new decisions and try things they are uncomfortable with as their conquering these challenges builds the confidence necessary for them to blossom as players.
If you ever get a chance to go to a Tarantini-led coaches clinic, don't miss it!