Fostering Creative Risk-Takers

Date Posted: 9/5/2006

Innovation is at the heart of what makes the modern world go-round. In an open society people are free to take risks, to experiment, and to think outside the lines. This fostering of creativity continually leads to innovations that shape and change our world. Recent modern marvels such as the invention of the microchip, cell phones, and stealth technologies have altered the way we live, do business, and defend freedom.

It should'nt surprise us then that fostering creative risk-takers is part of the global athletic culture. Recent modern marvels such as Michael Jordan in basketball, Wayne Gretzsky in hockey, Joe Montana in football, Diego Maradona and Mia Hamm in soccer remind us that creative risk-takers change the way we look and think about sport.

Creative Player is devoted to stimulating the creative impulses that lie within each emerging soccer player. I was struck recently by the words of Gordon Miller, the Virginia Youth Soccer Association Technical Director. He wrote, "Fostering creative risk-takers is also critical for long-term success. In order to break into soccer's upper echelons and stay there, we must produce players capable of individual brilliance and flair, who can turn the balance of a game, or at least its outcome. The creative player must be sought out, nurtured and allowed to blossom; an easy statement to make, but a difficult one to put into practice." (Success in Soccer pp.20-21, Sep. 04 vol.7)

It is true that fostering an environment where creative players can emerge is not easy. Many coaches unfortunately emphasize form at the expense of freedom when approaching youth players. This stifling instead of stimulating hurts youth development and according to Miller, fails to produce players that can break into soccer's upper echelons.

What is needed is an honest attempt to balance form and freedom in the development of young players. The fostering of individual attack building skills alongside the infusion of team play concepts characteristic of the adult game will enable creative risk-takers to emerge for the benefit of players, fans, and the beautiful game of soccer.

John Pietak, Creative Player Technical Director