As we go through the soccer fields on any given day in any given youth soccer team training or game we will notice youth soccer coaches making mistakes that affect their coaching and their team's play as well as soccer life. Youth soccer coaches in America are volunteers for the most part and for the majority their soccer education is maxed out after they receive their basic certification. Keep in mind that not every club/organization mandates their coaches to receive the basic US Soccer certification, and the ones that do remember that the basic certification only covers up to a certain age. So if a volunteer coaches keeps coaching his/her team past that age additional certification is required. Besides the certifications to help coaching with the different age groups other certifications are recommended as the game of soccer is continually evolving and the coaching techniques are constantly changing.
For example a coach may take workshops and certifications that are relevant to his/her style of play. If a coach is teaching a possession style of play he/she may want to attend a small sided game work shop and earn a small sided game certification. If a coach has his/her team train in a futsal enviroment he/she should attend a futsal workshop and earn a futsal training certificate.
These are some examples of how youth soccer coaches can help themselves as well as their teams to have a more positive soccer experience eliminating some mistakes. Please watch video to see more common mistakes.
Here is a new way to look at youth soccer tryouts, for all players, parents and coaches. Every year spring soccer tryouts are a painful experience for a lot of players, parents and coaches. In our effort to give as much information as possible to assist with the process we would like to offer a totally unique way of looking at the youth soccer tryouts. The title maybe funny and it may raise some eyebrows but it definitely has similarities on both sides with a lot of good points to consider. Remember, no matter what the parents and coaches want, at the end of the day it's the players' ultimate decision and we should respect that no matter if we agree or disagree with it. It's the players that will have to live with their decision and off course the consequences. All we can do is provide them with as much of information as possible to aid them in making that decision and off course support them in their decision. Youth players are pretty resourceful and understand things better than we grown ups do. If we trust them in their decision they will surprise us. Please see the following video and have a great tryout season.
Pre Academies, College Showcase Tournaments or College ID Camps – Not only path to a college program.
Every paid organization that has teams playing in the college showcase tournaments or have an affiliation with certain college ID camps will tell you how important it is to participate in those events in order to get scouted by college coaches. They will use their ability to participate in those events a leverage to get you to sign into their organization and compete with their teams. But what about if you can not afford to have your player play for those paid organizations commonly known as "pre-academies". Does it mean that you are out of luck?
Getting scouted does not have to break your pocketbook. There are other alternatives to getting scouted and in fact if you do your own due diligence you will realize that it can be done at much lower cost. There are a lot of players that do not play club or pre academy ball, just for their high school teams and those players, if they are good enough, find themselves being recruited.
Urban community soccer players – GOLD finds for college coaches. Some college coaches make a point to reach into the urban schools and look for players that may not have the money to participate in paid organizations. They are lot of layers that can be found that have the talent and the academics to secure roster spots.
Please watch the following video for more information.
WHY COLLEGE ID CAMPS, CLINICS AND COLLEGE SHOWCASE TOURNAMENTS MAY BE A WASTE OF MONEY AND NOT BE THE BEST POSSIBLE PATH TO A COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP
College ID Camps, Clinics, or college showcase tournaments, may not be the best solution for everyone. Most paid soccer organizations boost how they can get your kids to play in college showcase tournaments and be seen by all the big schools. Although that may be true to some degree, at what cost do you want to follow that path. Furthermore your child may not have a great single game or tournament while that particular college coach is watching or he/she may have a great game but that particular coach is watching another game. Now what? There are other ways to get your child noticed by a college coach that are much less costly. College recruiting has become BIG BUSINESS and some outfits may not be the best possible solutions. Do you ever get emails inviting your child to a camp or a clinic after they claim they have seen your child at a particular soccer tournament and were impressed by their skill level? The only problem is that your child was never at that tournament. How about being invited to a ID Camp that are supposed to be tons of schools recruiting. Sounds great but it is not free. It costs money. You can accomplish the same thing for free by contacting the schools you are interested in. Following is a video discussing some these pitfalls and some helpful alternatives.
It is that time of year again. You know what I am talking about...The snow has not melted off the ground yet, the trees have not bloomed, the soccer fields are not dry for all the winter rain and snow and most teams have not even played their first outdoor soccer game yet. But wait SOCCER TRYOUT MADNESS is here.
Every year, every youth soccer family has to go through the stress of tryouts.
Even the families that have been playing for a while on a the same team, stress over the fact that the team coach will see enough value in their player to ask them to come back on the team. For the new families or for the families that are looking for a change it is even more difficult.
Every paid soccer organization is competing for your dollars and they are starting tryouts earlier and earlier every year. It almost seems that playing soccer for a non profit soccer club is not good enough any longer. If you are a good soccer player you must play for a paid soccer organization. Sometimes skill may not be the first requirement for these paid soccer organizations but rather can your parents write the tuition check.We need xyz number of players to fill a team so let's just make offers.
Following is a presentation with some valuable insight on the DOs and DON'Ts of youth soccer tryouts.
If you ask any soccer expert they will all agree that the best coaches should be coaching the youngest players so that they can develop proper fundamentals and soccer techniques as well as grow the love for the beautiful game.
In the US the youngest of ages are being coached by volunteer parent coaches which in most cases do not understand the game, and proper development of a soccer player. The first goal of any youth coach, coaching youth soccer players should be to make the players fall in love with the game. To love something one must use it and come in constant exposure with it. What better way to love the game than by playing the game. On any given day in any youth soccer field you can watch youth soccer coaches making 4, 5, 6 or even 7 year old doing laps as warm ups. Those volunteer youth coaches are training youth players as grown ups not as age appropriate young players. Players at that age do not really need physical warm up, but rather just touching the ball warm up and getting familiar with how a soccer ball feels at their feet. After a short period of this, youth players, which have a very short attention span want to play the game. That is what they came to do, play the game, not do training after training activity.
American parents think that when young players are playing the game during training and not doing "DRILLS", the trainer does not know what he is doing and is not really developing the players. The BIGGEST misconception by American youth parents is that drills, not the game, is the biggest development tool.
Every season I try to schedule one scrimmage every week as part of the training schedule. Most think I am crazy and ask why I like to scrimmage so much. My reply is: “players like to play”. Off course having scrimmages, depending the age of the team allows to work on many other things and give opportunities for players to try new things without the fear of what will happen if they make a mistake.
The other misconception that volunteer youth soccer coaches have is that they play scrimmages to win. I always get coaches that I ask to scrimmage giving me this answer: “Sorry I don't have my full team so I can scrimmage”. They are so afraid that if they lose it's the end of the world..
As a soccer culture we have a lot of learning to do but we can not begin to learn unless we allow ourselves to admit we do not know everything there is to know about soccer and it is ok to watch, learn and implement other countries' successful systems of training.
One of the greatest underutilized tools in American Youth Soccer is the ability of a youth player to read the game and make runs off the ball or without the ball. The primary reason for this is that most parent coaches do not understand the concept of this or how it works and therefore can not teach it. US soccer at the grassroots level must be able to understand the concept of possession with a purpose and how players running without the ball are just as important as the players with the ball. The runs off the ball can create space, confuse the defense and allow possessing players more time to make a decision. SOCCERSKILLZ prides itself in teaching these concepts in its small sided game formats during soccer training in Ocean County in New Jersey. While players learn in a small sided game format it can be expanded to the big game of 11v11. Let's not forget that the big game is full of small sided 1v1 2v2 4v2 3v2 or any other combination battle. When players are taught to not just kick the ball and run, but try to work their way out of trouble via way of dribbling, passing and moving off the ball, making runs to give player with the ball options they will become more confident in their ability to maintain possession. Lastly coaches must stop yelling directions from the sidelines and let the players think for themselves. We have developed a robot nation who need constant direction in order to play. Remember it's a "player's game".
Following is an analysis on how to move without the ball, make runs off the ball and its benefits. Watch entire video as it gives many examples. The analysis portion starts around 6 minutes into the video.
Please view the video below of how, in my opinion, youth soccer training sometimes is nothing more than a babysitting service. How some parents feel that it is s cheaper alternative to a babysitting service. Is it the right situation for young players? Should we place them in such environments if they do not want to be there? How about the fact that some parents want their children to play soccer more than the children do. Are the children going to get anything out of youth soccer training if they just don't want to really do it but they are there just so they can make mom or dad happy? Wouldn't they get more out of an activity if it is something they want not the parents? I see it more and more, as young soccer players come to SOCCERSKILLZ soccer training sessions and you can just tell they are not interested in being there. Sometimes they are being run from one sport training session to another. They want to play basketball but mom and dad want them to play soccer as well. So they compromise and do both. Meantime by the time they get to the second training session they are tired and do not really have the energy to concentrate or get anything out of it.
Please view the video below of how, in my opinion, adults confuse the professional sports watching experience with youth sports watching experience. How kids view sports differently than adults. How wins and losses, standings and rankings mean more to adults that youth soccer players. The rest of the world does not begin to compete until the age of 14, however we in the USA think that we know better so we start competing at the age of 7, keep standings and rank teams as young as the age of 10. There is a time and a place for everything, and the scores and standings have their place, but not in the young ages. Soothing the egos of adults should not be the priority of youth sports. Youth sports are for the players, not for adults and that is why they are called youth sports. American culture cultivates that fact that if a youth team isn't winning, they are not a good team. If players are not scoring lots of goals are not good players. We have this crazy idea that development is measured by wins and losses, and standings. Nothing is further from the truth and the sooner we realize this the sooner we will begin to help our youth players stay in the game we all love. SOCCERSKILLZ soccer and futsal training will keep doing its part to share the benefits of long term development vs quick instant results.
As the sponsor of Central Jersey Futsal, SOCCERSKILLZ has teams playing in the Central Jersey Futsal based league, that train in a futsal environment. Recently one of those SOCCERSKILLZ trained teams played an outdoor game and the referee was an academy coach who from time to time referees this SOCCERSKILLZ trained team. After the game was over the referee asked what type of activities does the team train with as he said the team's passing not only has improved drastically but they can possess the ball at will. He went on to comment that if his academy team, same age as the SOCCERSKILLZ trained team, could pass the ball and possess the ball the same way the SOCCERSKILLZ trained team could, they would be unstoppable. By the way, his academy team is a highly ranked team in the state of New Jersey. He said although they win plenty of games and get positive results they are like robots. They do not possess much creativity and they rely mostly on their physicality to win 1v1 battles, possess the ball and create scoring opportunities.
Well, now you may ask...
What is wrong with that? They are winning battles possess the ball and create scoring opportunities. Isn't that the object of the game? To non-soccer people yes... To people who know and understand the sport probably not. First of all, if the academy team plays against another team that has the same physicality, player for player and skill set, and if the other team can pass the ball better is more creative and can understands how to move off the ball create space with passing to exploit lanes chances are they will win the game. The physical game only wins if a team is superior to another team, and we see a lot of this in youth soccer. But if the physicality is a non-factor, the skill set is equal, now other things come to play, like player thinking, ball movement, on and off the ball, creativity, creating lanes, exploiting space, taking advantage of miss matches and so many other variables. Physicality only wins games if the other team is less physical and does not have any other qualities as mentioned previously. At the youth level physical teams can get away with just that. As the players get older and play for better teams mostly all players have physicality and skills, or if they do not have all the other qualities discussed earlier. Therefore, teaching the game from just a physical aspect does not serve players in the long term.
So, my answer to the ref./academy coach was: What you see is a product of many years of teaching them passing and moving, playing in a small sided environment, learning to develop not only individual skills but team skills. Learning how to be creative and allowing them to be creative. We do not sit on the sidelines constantly barking directions. We are not developing robots but free-thinking soccer players. Futsal has a lot to do with this kind of development. It's a fast pace game which does not allow physicality. A player must be sound with their individual skills, be able to think fast and always move. It's a 5v5 game that all players must move, no real set positions other than the keeper who can also play as a field player. Creativity is at an all-time high in futsal. Coaching from the sideline is very difficult as the game is so fast, by the time a coach blurs an instruction the play is already over, therefore a player must think for themselves and must think fast. Futsal is also played on hard surfaces as opposed that of slower turf surfaces making the game even faster.
Being able to play a "Barcelona" style of game as we teach at SOCCERSKILLZ futsal and soccer training is a long-term development method, but it provides solid results as opposed to quick physicality methods that although provide immediate results fail in the long run.
To get a firsthand idea of how the SOCCERSKILLZ futsal training in New Jersey works check out our programs and come for a free training session.