Jeff Staus is a highly successful varsity soccer coach at Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin. He is also the leader of “Let Kids Fly” (LKF), a unique youth soccer program that is rooted in choice, accessibility, limited travel, character development and fun. In the contested space of youth sport, LKF presents an appealing model from which communities throughout the U.S. can learn
. In this SGG episode, we discussed:
His parents’ hands-off approach during his childhood sporting experiences.
The two questions he encourages coaches and parents to ask: “Did you have fun?” and “Were you a good teammate?”
More dynamic leaders at the high school than ever before. Working hard on “making good people and creating leaders.”
Concerns with the professionalization of youth sports.
How LKF started.
The free play model that was used by many of the top players and nations.
The number of kids signed up for LKF in its first four sessions: 125 – 225 – 300 – 500+ (rapid growth).
“Free play Thursdays” at LKF practices.
The benefits of free play.
Deliberate practice on Mondays. A games approach to deliberate practice.
Developing as a player. Developing as a person.
Documentary: In Search Greatness.
Providing kids choices in sports. “Do as many things as long as you can.”
The rationale for seasonal registration.
A “flipped classroom on the soccer field.”
Soliciting parent participation.
Accessibility to free play and to a healthy culture of sport.
Affordability as a means of accessibility.
Supporting kids who want to play collegiately.
Impacts of sports travel on families. Why LKF sends all teams to same tournaments.
Character development. The intentional embedding of character.
Looking for teachers and parents as coaches.