Newsletter - Coaches Corner

Welcome Back!  

I hope everyone had an enjoyable summer where they took some time for family and friends. We started Vale seasons again with our carniVALE last weekend and a jamboree on the 1st of September. It’s great to have all the kids back on the field!

Today I wanted to talk about FAILURE! Is it even real? The late Kobe Bryant would tell you it doesn’t even exist and the Japanese teachers purposely want their students to fail/struggle in their classes.

It is said that the Japanese are considerably better than the American students in Math. In the book “Talent Code” by Dan Coyle they did a study to understand why. In the US, our students get their math problems either correct or the answer given to them 98% of the time. That means 2% of the time they get it wrong or have to sit and toil with the struggle of figuring it out. In Japan, 40% of the time they sit in that struggle, they have to problem solve and work to figure it out. It is said that the teachers will give them the wrong answers just so they sit there that much longer.    

This summer my son’s math work was hard for him. On multiple occasions he would say “I knew this during the school year…” He would then go on to get super frustrated, yell, and quit. As the “caring” 🙂 father that I am, I would hear and see this happening, work to bring him back to his work and basically spoon feed him all the way to the answer. In reflection I wonder if I was helping him or hurting him.

If the Japanese students are known to be better than the American students at Math what can we learn from their teaching style? 1. Struggle is good! The kids sitting and working through the problems multiple different ways is a good thing. Trial and error, working and reworking through a problem and going through the steps can help deepen their understanding of how to solve it.  2.  Learning to not give up! This may be the biggest lesson and the most important lesson for me and my children. When those students sit in the struggle for a longer duration and not give up on it they are learning perseverance. This may be the biggest and greatest skill for them to have in life. 3. Is failure even real? In my presentation to my players this week I dug deep to show them my opinion of failure.  Failure is an opinion and a bad one. Within the context of Sport, a finite game with an beginning and an end, rules and a winner and loser we may fail, however, if we have takeaways that will allow us to grow and improve for the future were they really failures? My position is rather than failures, they are opportunities to learn.

Failure is scary. Kids today are so worried about the opinions of their peers that often they won’t give full effort. They want to look cool and trying hard and looking bad is way worse they not given full effort and looking bad because then they can say “I wasn’t even trying.” I would challenge us all to get rid of the negative connotation on failing. I would push that we re-frame failing to be learning. In sport and in life every time we get something wrong it is an opportunity to learn how we can get closer to getting it right the next time. Let’s push our kids to be brave enough to fail. To show them in our daily lives by stepping outside of our own comfort zone. By trying something new that may be hard. For recognizing that learning a new skill or trying a current skill against new people is hard and that is okay.

Starting this fall I push each of us to support our children while they are in the struggle but not solve their problems, I know for me that is extremely hard as it may be for so many others, but I recognize that in the long run it is better for my children.  

Here is a great clip of Kobe talking about failure!

Yours in Soccer,

Zach Eddinger