Competition is a central element in a player’s development. At the youth level (ages 6- 12), however, a competitive environment should not be a result-oriented environment. The differences must be clear. A competitive environment at the youth level encourages decisions from player and coach alike that focus on performance rather than outcome (favoring ball skill and inventiveness as the means to find success within the rules and spirit of the game). The result is just one indicator of performance and at this age, not the most important one.
This was sent along by Manny Sanchez, the Executive Director for the Tennessee State Soccer Association: 15 things to keep in mind while watching from the sidelines: