The Williamstown Youth Center offers the following youth sports and movement programming during the year for both boys and girls, from K-8th grade:
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Williamstown Youth Center offerings include:
+ Boys and Girls Kindergarten Soccer (co-ed)
+ Boys and Girls Grades 1 and 2 (co-ed)
Click here for more on youth soccer.
Click here for more on youth basketball.
Click here for more on youth lacrosse.
Williamstown Youth Center Sports Philosophy Statement
At the Williamstown Youth Center, the most important goals for our young athletes are:
- To have fun
- To improve playing skills
- To be a responsible team member
- To learn to love to play
To achieve these goals, the Williamstown Youth Center will:
- Recruit coaches who put children’s safety and needs first
- Design programs that are age-appropriate
- Create challenges and opportunities for the different skill levels of all players
We will do this in fun, supportive settings that encourage active lifestyles.
WYC coaches follow best practices as recommended by the American Olympic Committee, specifically, the American Development Model (“ADM.”) To avoid injury and “burnout,” the ADM encourages elementary school-age athletes to play a variety of sports rather than specialize in one at too early an age. Other key features of this approach include:
- “Time on ball,” meaning that players should spend most of their playing and practice time kicking, shooting, or passing the ball or puck.
- Minimal wait time
- No information overload (presenting new information in limited “chunks” to allow for absorption and retention.)
Athletic programs should be fun. This includes practice time. Programs are more enjoyable when the athlete is actively participating. Coaches encourage greater participation by making games of every part of the program, including drills.
This can be done by providing one ball (or puck) for every child, making it possible to have 100% of the athletes actively participating at any time. For example, in soccer, play a 3-on-3 game with 6 balls. Whichever team gets all 6 balls in the opponent’s net wins. This is a good drill that helps develop agility and decision-making skills, while minimizing the tendency to stand around or simply follow the ball in a pack.
Keep in mind that:
- The rules of any particular game can be taught quickly when the athlete is ready. At younger ages, knowing the rules of a game (when a corner kick is called for vs. a goal kick, for example) is less important than maximizing time spent moving and enjoying the activity.
- The more positive the experience, the greater the likelihood of continued participation in sports programs. Our primary goal is to encourage healthy, active lifestyles, and this becomes easier if a child associates physical activity with enjoyment.
- Kids have short attention spans. The easiest way to keep them engaged is to not have them idle. By minimizing standing around time, kids will be more attentive, and behavior will be better.
WYC coaches are valued educators who help make it possible for kids to develop as athletes and teammates.
Coaches’ focus should be on maximizing activity time, encouraging creativity as a means of skill development, and supporting team-building and socialization, regardless of skill level or experience. With proper planning it is possible for every individual player to get the same number of touches, allowing everyone to be challenged. Presenting concepts in short, easy-to-absorb chunks, and quickly following up with fun exercises (in game format) will help achieve this goal.
The Williamstown Youth Center is committed to creating enjoyable, supportive settings where kids can develop their skills, as well as love for the sports we offer. Positive coaching is key to our success.