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Kristine Lilly: Balancing Development And Winning

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Kristine Lilly (@KristineLilly) is a PCA National Advisory Board Member and Former U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team Captain. Kristine was a four-time NCAA Champion at the University of North Carolina and went on to play in five World Cups, helping the U.S. to championships in 1991 and 1999. She is currently an Assistant Coach for the Boston Breakers Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) team.

Lilly spoke with Positive Coaching Alliance at the 2013 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention.

In this video, Lilly shares her fondest memory in youth sports: eating orange slices with her team at half-time. Even though she went on to become one of the greatest female soccer players in the United States, it is telling that she remembers moments like that more than winning or losing in the early days of her career.

The ‘orange-slice’ memory is evidence, she says, that there needs to be a balance between development and winning. Younger kids don’t usually care so much about winning and just like getting the chance to play and have fun with their friends.

When youth coaches make the decision to keep players off the field because they want to win rather than focus on development, they don’t have the kids’ best interest at heart and aren’t even giving them the chance to learn the skills to win in the first place. Players like Lilly make it clear that youth coaches need to remember this balance and give kids a chance to develop and have fun.