Confidence – Process Driven Individual Development in an Outcome Culture

A common question we are asked, or a concern of parents, is how can we affect a youth players confidence? In the age of social media, and changing beliefs and values throughout society, confidence has become a miss understood concept.


Confidence has become a perception of what people see, the posts and messages put on social media oozing with confidence as people put themselves in the limelight, often portraying their ‘best self’, and other people, celebrities, people of influence, letting us know they are thriving! Through this new age of self promotion through media, we are believing that confidence is what the loud, bold, and brash have. However, that is not the case, and being the loudest, opinionated person is not confidence. This new trend in modern society has a knock-on effect of what we expect in youth sports.

Confidence is the belief in being able to complete a task, and specifically a task in a given moment, it’s very much intrinsic.

Youth development is a completely different domain to senior sport. Senior sport is outcome driven (game results, championships), youth sport is a process of improvement (process goals to improve dribbling, shooting, etc). With that said, the senior game is becoming even more individualized, and process driven.

The attached presentation will introduce confidence as one of the 5 main ‘Cs’ of sports psychology (, and how the Individual Development Plan as an intervention will support player confidence.

Assimilating this to a game situation, no matter the result, how we frame, and review players experiences can support confidence. As the adults involved in the experience, if we frame a process for the player (e.g., when you receive the ball can you take on your player – with levels of support from the coach to guide the player to solutions in how to beat the opponent), confidence is achieved through being invested in a process, and empowerment to make their own decision in how to beat an opponent. In addition, making gains in performance increases performance and long-term improvement, utilizing a short-term process goal, as opposed to relying on an outcome that is not within the individual’s control. The review (what is said after the game), is incredibly important. Focusing on a result, or comparing to others damages the individual psychologically, in review as the adults involved the coach should be offering solutions in guiding the player to how they can use their experience to further improve and positively reinforce the positive moments, and as parents we can let the player know we loved seeing the determination and effort they showed to improve.

Soccer coaching is significantly more than how to kick or dribble, is deeper than ‘who wants it more’, and cannot be measured by game results. It is a long-term process. The continued ‘race to nowhere’, is having this negative effect on all players. With more league acronyms, fancier and bigger trophies and medals, the toxic nature of youth sports spirals, as we leave best interests of players behind as clubs chase numbers and ultimately money!

We look forward to seeing the players engage in their own IDP (our foundation phase players engaging in their TopTekkers challenges, and older players their own individual plans and training away from practice), and empowering the player to make decisions on where and how they are going to focus on their continued growth.

Fremont YSC and Oakland Roots

We are incredibly excited about the continued relationship between Fremont YSC and Oakland Roots.

Oakland Roots Sports Club seeks to harness the magic of Oakland and the power of sport as a force for social good. Whether on the pitch, in the stands, or within the community, Oakland Roots will represent our one-of-a-kind city with passion, pride, and commitment to all things Oakland. Player by player. Supporter by supporter. Resident by resident. One day at a time. One game at a time. This is about Oakland first, always.

We are proud of being able to partner with Oakland Roots, and with this partnership there comes a host of benefits to the membership. From FREE tickets to Oakland Roots games, to player experiences, player identification, and coach education opportunities for staff.

Sessions Canceled – 3/21/2023 – Grassroots and Comp 4.30pm

Taking in to consideration the current weather and forecast for continued rain.

Preparing for the Winter Sessions

Players need to dress appropriately for the conditions, and in the rain a rain jacket is recommended, and at least a warm up top should be worn. In the car following the practice a change of top should be ready. Players will not get sick from being in the rain, but will if not prepared for post exercise.

As a reminder, all players also need to be in Fremont YSC attire for all practices.

Embrace the Individual Process, Support Long Term Development

This weekend is the first game of the season for the majority of the players, some got to play last week in the rain, and others may not yet be starting until next week, however, embracing the individual process will be huge for the support of your player.

The following information will provide insight and depth to the soccer operations around a game day.

We are proactive and focus on what we can do. This is opposed to a reactive approach where we prioritize a response to opposition. Our priority is the Fremont YSC individual player, and therefore process orientated and not outcome. The following video is great at grounding us as adults in the game:

Jersey Numbers and Team Composition

2014 and 2013 teams are created through having players of similar birth age. Players born early in the year are FN I, and players born later in the year are FN II. This is completely different to other teams who look to either load by playing ability, or balance through a mix. Our is purely based on age, and for reason. Research shows that youth performance has no positive correlation to future performance and ability, with ‘better’ players largely dominant due to early maturation, or genetics in their size, speed, and power. The research shows that early identification is detrimental to long term participation, and most elite level players are not identified until 16 – 19 years old, with many early identified players dropping out. Our method of assigning players treats the players as an age group rather than a team (utilized by Icelandic FA, one of the most successful countries based on population size), and addresses Relative Age Effect where there is no bias towards players based on size due to being chronologically older (utilized by Tottenham Hotspur).

2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010

Jersey numbers are assigned to players based on their birth date. This is so coaches and parents have a visual aid in recognizing the Relative Age Effect, but also grounding us when we stray away from the process and slip into the temptation of comparing players against other. Players wearing a higher number will be the youngest in the age group, and therefore potentially almost a full year younger than other players. We must focus our attention on the individual, and not teammates, nor opponents.

2012 and Older are assigned to a team based on their rate of development in reference to our player pathway, and not ‘good’ or ‘bad’. We would prefer to do this at a much older age, but we are still working against a culture that doesn’t support this. What we must do though is understand that players are in an environment to support ‘flow’, where the challenge presented can be matched by skill level of the individual. Finding this state of flow provides an appropriate challenge, and a focus on the process, which has a positive knock-on effect for the psychosocial pillar in confidence and motivation. As soon as we switch to focusing on outcome, we undo all these great positives from a process driven approach. Players in youth development are in current rates of development, and are not ‘elite’ or ‘poor’, we need to move away from this perception.

Field Size and Dimensions

2010 are still in the first year of playing 11v11, and on full size fields. This is a huge jump from the 9 v 9, with the complexity of the game increasing through the increase in player numbers. Players will struggle to perform all the actions needed, and therefore recognizing the game insight of a player is important. A player can make the correct decision, but still be developing their physiological pillar and therefore the pass they pick out cannot be performed as they do not yet have the strength in kick to pass over a longer distance. A great video to see how this effects players:


Players over a large range could be going through maturation. An early developer could be up to 3 years ahead in maturation, while a late developer could be up to 3 years late. Even within one team that’s a 6-year swing, based on the two extremes, but another reason why we need to focus on the individual. While going through maturation the physiological challenges are great with a temporary loss of agility and co-ordination, which will affect skill performance and athletic ability. These are temporary, and during this time we need to be patient with players and showing empathy to what they are going through.

Lifelong Learners – Coach Education with Frans Hoek, World Cup Special

As coaches we must be committed to being lifelong learners.

The moment we stop learning, the moment we stop searching for more information about modern practices and research into youth development, at a deeper level than just technique and tactics, is the moment we are not providing the environment the youth athlete needs to support their development journey.

This week we were incredibly lucky to have a special online session with Frans Hoek. The Fremont YSC coaching staff got exceptional insight into the Netherlands process around the game day in Qatar 2022, specifically the USA knockout round.

Process and references are important for effective coaching, and we gained great insight into the selection process of the Netherlands squad, the scouting of the USMNT, and coaching practices around gameday -2, -1, Game Day, and +1. The level of detail, the long hours, and objectivity is what sets the exceptionally high standard of coaching at the elite level.

In Memory of Jesus

2/18/2022, we were left in shock and devastated by the sudden passing of Jesus.

Jesus had given so much to the club. As a youth player he was unplayable at times, fully committed in the way he played, displaying some of the most incredible ball manipulation and close ball control seen at the youth ages. Not only an exceptional player, but very popular with all team mates.

While still playing, Jesus volunteered his time to coach the 5 and 6 year old’s, nurturing their early love for the game and in the friendliest and kindest manner.

Jesus retuned to the club as a staff coach, passionate about the development of the next generation of youth players, he gave them an experience of passion for the sport, and a care to the players wellbeing through his player first approach.

Jesus left us way too soon and incredibly young, not a day goes past where we don’t think of him. He is sorely missed by his family, friends, and our own football family.

Embracing the Process – Ray Allen

Kids will participate in sports for three main reasons; to be social and nurture friendships, for the pure love of and fun of playing, and to be better and develop an ability to play at a desired level. These are not exclusive, and all three should be achieved in support of each element. For those who prioritize wanting to be better, the following is a great extract from ‘Peak – Science from the New Science of Expertise’ (Ericsson and Pool, 2017) *.

The following is from Ray Allen, NBA All-Star, and one of the leagues greatest three-point shooter. In an article a sports journalist stated Allen was born with a gift, Allen’s response was one we often forget about with elite performers.

“I’ve argued this with a lot of people in my life. When people say God blessed me with a beautiful jump shot it really p****s me off. I tell those people, ‘Don’t underestimate the work I’ve put in every day’. Not some days, every day. Ask anyone who has been on a team with me who shoots the most… the answer is me”

It goes on to note that in High School his shooting did not stand out amongst others and was in fact poor. Allen was dedicated and committed to improving and took control over what he could do to improve and transformed his shooting into a ‘gift’.

By sharing this with parents and players, we can take a few golden points from this. Firstly, young prodigies are few and far betweenmost elite performers are late developers, and this is supported throughout research literature. Secondly, you must put into something what you want to get out, being committed to a process of growth will be rewarding in the long term, embracing the process over immediate outcome. To be the best, be open to failure with a growth mindset to keep growing but work towards the short-term goal in a long-term process to achieve a high level of performance.

This links in to confidence. It’s often perceived that confidence is a result of winning, but this is confused with the immediate gratification of a result. Confidence is the result of recognizable growth while engaged in a process of development. We will soon be playing games again as the playing season kicks off. It is incredibly important that coaches, players, and parents, remember that these are not adult games or an adult environment, but a learning experience youth the youth player. Setting process driven goals will prioritize the individuals pathway, and confidence will increase as the individual recognizes that they are improving. This is where our language as adults is incredibly important, and the message we send can have lasting implications for the youth athlete.

* ‘Peak’ is a book that expands on Ericsson’s theory of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is incredibly successful in developing fine skills from very young ages but must be utilized in team sports at an age-appropriate stage in development, so deliberate and free play can still dominate the younger ages to nurture a love of the game and empower the individual athlete in decision making. See more about deliberate play and balancing this with deliberate practice in later stages of invasion game player development.

In Memory of Arunay Pruthi

On January 18th 2021, we were shocked and devastated, by the tragic incident at Cowells Beach, which took Arunay Pruthi from us far too young. Our thoughts are always with his family, and we will never forget his positive influence on everyone.

Arunay Pruthi Remembered

Arunay Foundation

Arunay Foundation aims to reduce beach accidents and coastal drownings by raising awareness and educating people about sneaker waves, rip currents, high surf, and other hazardous beach conditions. The focus of our organization will be on designing and implementing effective measures that can eventually save the lives of beachgoers. It is our hope that, together, we can raise awareness and make our beaches safer.

Our three-pronged approach: Educate, Equip and Inform.

Good People Make Good Players – Max Allen

Youth sports has lost it’s way, early specialization, fear of missing out, burnout at young ages from a must win culture, and a lack of commitment to chase short term rewards.

Developing the human is so important, coaching the person and not just the football.

We are incredibly grateful to have a great human in Max Allen

This Christmas, Max Allen asked his family friends to donate to the club, rather than receive a Christmas present. Specifically to help support the Financial Aid program that helps us provide the youth soccer experience to any player/family, no matter their financial situation.

Max has been with us since he was 5, both his Mam and Dad were volunteers in the U6 program, and he has been with us ever since both parents very supportive of the program, and his Dad a team manager.

Thank you Max, you are a credit to your family.

Fremont YSC at USC Convention 2023 Day 3

In the first session of Day 3, Aaron Negel, CEO of the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club presented on building a successful operating system within youth organizations. The first question he asked was “Why?”, why are we here, why is this club here, what is the club’s purpose”, this led to the development of club values, beliefs, behaviors, attitudes that the club would adapt and that they would be committed to moving forward, this means every decision moving forward reflect at least 3 out of the 4 values and beliefs of the club. Aaron discusses how important it is for a youth organization to have a clear identity, purpose, belief and the people in the right positions to make it happen. As they move forward, the Rapids main motto is “Develop remarkable coaches”, they believe that investing in their coaches will make for better players, a better program and more importantly an organization that is constantly evolving and improving as they are always pursuing to improve in every regard.


Session 2, a field session working on modern attacking and defending trends in youth soccer, Paul Payne worked on shaping the team in those two phases of the game. Paul emphasized that field players must have

  • A clear understanding of the positional responsibility within the team dynamic. Communication channels between coach and player must be open and democratic.
  • Good understanding of roles and responsibilities in relation to other units.
  • Good understanding of specific roles and responsibilities within pair-partnerships (RB and RW).


Session 3, Molly Grisham worked on team building. Molly was quick to establish that team bonding, team building and team development are all different but also simultaneously very relevant in each other’s success.

Team Bonding can be short lived, as they are surface interactions where players find similarities within activities which can be perceived as a positive interaction within the team dynamic. Team building can have a significant impact but also comes with considerably more risk, as players will have to get to the root of issues and consequently requires very careful and deliberate planning from the coach or organizers. Team development is Molly’s bread and butter, which dives past issues, to find leaders within the team, find specific players that fill specific roles and how those players can fill other roles that they are interested in or the team needs them to fill.