Hantsport coach taking new approach to support Under-8 soccer stars

Ashley Thompson
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Coach Brad Webster is teaching his Under-8 Hantsport soccer team to be goal-driven but not driven by goals alone.

“They get the ball, they put their head down and they just dribble for the other net and try to score a goal,” he said.

Webster is using the Play Better Program founded by a soccer coach in British Columbia to show his team there is more to the game than scoring goals.

“He’s taken the focus away from scoring goals and you can decide what you want to work on at any given time and create a goal for your team,” said Webster.

Play Better challenges teams to focus on goals they must achieve together. When a target is reached, the team celebrates and reflects on what they were able to achieve as a cohesive unit.

The scoreboard alone does not dictate the success of a Play Better team.

“The design of Play Better is to change the metric system in youth soccer away from scoring goals and replace it with predetermined goals of our own that are aimed at developing more skillful players,” said Webster.

It’s a win-win scenario every time a Play Better goal is reached. Not only do the players realize the progress they have made, the team then gets to celebrate by making a donation to charity. 

Webster’s players must complete 25 passes in one game to reach their first Play Better objective.

The motivation is clear: the pint-sized athletes will experience the level of camaraderie that is achieved when multiple teammates get a touch on the ball before it hits the back of the opposing goaltender’s net, while honing their passing and playmaking skills at the same time.

It’s a team building exercise Webster is trying for the first time this season. He hopes to see real results every time the girls’ cleats hit the field.

“It allows us to hopefully make better soccer players but also better people, maybe.”

Click here to learn more about Play Better.


Organizations: Play Better

Geographic location: British Columbia, Hantsport, Nova Scotia Hants County

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