Before each athletic competition most people will wish the athletes “good luck”. I ask why?
Is it really about luck? Are there variables that are beyond the athlete’s control and left to luck?
When you buy a lottery ticket you have no control of the outcome. There is no preparation that will be able to change your odds at winning. That is my definition of luck. Not being able to prepare to change or influence the chances of altering an outcome. So how is luck going to change an athletic competition? Is it a lucky bounce of the ball? A lucky shot? A lucky rebound? All these things mentioned can be actually prevented. If a player watches the ball has proper body shape and is actively engaged in the game, not just being in the game, he will be prepared to handle a crazy bounce of the ball therefore not making it a “lucky bounce of the ball”. If he marks properly, hustles and defends with vigor a shot will not be allowed. If a shot is not allowed there will be no chance of a rebound. Does this make sense? A player takes a toe shot or just miss kicks the ball from 25 yards out of the goal, no one is expecting that shot, the wind takes it and before you know it is in the back of the net. Coach yells “unlucky”, let’s get it back”. Was it really unlucky? Let’s examine the situation. First of all if the player who miskicked the ball was actively tracked and marked in a reasonable amount of time and had not been given the time to just kick the ball the miss kicked shot would have never happened. Secondly if all the players including the goalkeeper were always ready to expect the unexpected by utilizing their agility and reaction skills the ball would have never sailed into the goal. Do you see the point here?
So when does all this preparation start? Is it after the warm up as soon as the referee blows the whistle for the game to begin? I think not. Preparation starts at training, at home, in the back yard, every time a player has a ball, every time a player watches a game every time a player thinks about the sport. Now we cannot expect most youth players to feel like this about the game in the early years with the few exceptions but we can teach them about it. We can teach them about effort, working hard and not just going through the motions. But first we have to get them to fall in love with the game. Human nature dictates that most people will give it their all if they love something. It is no different here, if they love it they will try harder.
“Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Is Not Working Hard”
By the way most people’s definition of talent is a player’s skill ability. My definition of talent is a player’s total outlook of the game. Does he love the game, is he able to read the game, does he always give 100% effort, always puts himself in a situation to make the best possible play as well as make the players around him better, and lastly how are his skills? Yes skills are last in my book. I have met and played against some great skilled players. But that’s all they were; great with the ball at their feet. They only performed when the ball was given to them at their feet. They never worked to get to the ball or put themselves in a good situation to receive the ball. They never looked to share the ball or make the players around them better, it was always about them. They had no team vision and could not read the game. But they had great ball skills. That is every knowledgeable coach’s nightmare “a selfish player”. Those players never worked hard and always lost to hard work from their opponents, those players never prepared themselves in training or elsewhere. They only depended on their ball skills.
Some players are great athletes, they have great speed, size and mental ability. They have been given some great tools to begin with, but it’s what they do with those tools that is important. It is not luck that will make them better but the love for the game, hard work and determination.
Please do not misunderstand me here; Fundamentals are the basis of all, no matter what you do, in sport and in life. One must have sound fundamentals and always work on those fundamentals, but the key here is the word “work” not luck. They have to put in the effort and commitment to get better at it and then maintain it.
Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Is Not Working Hard, not Luck.
Learning to prepare yourself for any situation, being willing to commit to work hard and will give the best chance at being successful. One does not have to love the hard work but he must crave the end result of success.
It may sound like an easy question and depending on who you ask you will get a different reply. But think this for a minute; If you like to be told what to do all the time you will never grow and develop in anything that you attempt. If you are spoon fed information and decisions all the time your brain will never learn to think on its own, become lazy and actually become counterproductive regressing in its learning and developing.
Well, at any given day on any given youth soccer field that is what’s going on. Every game has 16 or 22 players on the field, (depending if you are playing small or large side), and tens or hundreds coaches/parents around the field screaming directions and what to do at every moment of the game to the players. I realize that everyone wants the best for the players and truly want to help them but in actuality they are doing just harm to them. There are coaches on the sidelines that give instructions to the players and it’s the players’ job to execute them. Furthermore often the directions that come from all the parent/coaches are inaccurate. The team coach has given certain directions that apply to a strategy, plan, development that the team is using and the parent/coach is yelling something totally different. The player gets confused, does not want to make either coach upset, does not learn how to make his own decisions, his play ability slowly declines while his frustration increases. A player just kicks the ball to nowhere and the parent/coach cheers: “Great kick awesome job”. Maybe the situation didn’t not warrant a kick to nowhere at that particular moment of the game. Maybe the player needed to maintain control of the ball and keep possession instead of just kicking it away. Knowing how to cheer and when to cheer is another way of supporting the players and it comes from properly learning and understanding the game.
The best part about the game of soccer is that it is a “PLAYER’S GAME”. It is a game where the best players make up their own minds by reading the game and constantly adjusting to situations. The fastest a player can read the game, think, prepare and adjust to situations the better he will be. The players learn from making both good and bad choices.
“SILENT PLAY/” is a way that SoccerSkillz Training helps the players accomplish their development. After an instructional training session players will be asked to play in small sided games, varying from 3v3, 5v5 or 8v8, where they will have to make up their own team shape, line up and substitutions. They run the teams as if they are in the school playground with no adult supervision. You will be amazed at how much more they communicate, help and create situations.
As coaches, parents and spectators, we can help the players more by giving them a chance to play on their own and make their own decisions. There is a right time for teaching a better way and a right time to enjoy watching them play.
Developing a soccer team into a quality squad is a lengthy and intricate process for both players and coaches. With proper training, motivation goal setting from coaches and players, a team can reach and surpass their goals and aspirations. Quality teams are formed over years of training with one another, having an excellent coach, and parents that recognize the value of sticking with their team instead of bouncing around from team to team always looking to win because they think their child is the best player on the team and he/she should be playing with the best players can make the difference on the field.
STOP THE MADNESS
wins DO NOT measure development.
Yes, every team starts the game with the objective to win it. But at what cost? Many premier level teams are winning because they are stocked with big, physical kids that can run fast. They push and shove their way up and down the field. When they score it is usually done by individual efforts, shooting the ball directly at the keeper who miss handles it because of the pace of the shot, or the shooter just toes the ball in the net.
These are not quality wins.
What makes a quality win is when the entire team contributes to the goal, the player who scores places the ball instead of just shooting at the keeper, yes that is called finishing, and the shooter strikes the ball with proper fundamentals instead of just toeing the ball. It is extremely important to understand what your duty is as a player, coach and parent on that team. A coach has to coach according to the skill level of the athletes on the team. The progression and development of the team should be the focus. Look at where the team is and try to determine where they should be at the end of the season. It takes much more than a great coach to get to the winner’s circle and know that you have developed doing it.
The members of each successful team, players, coaches and parents, thrive on teamwork, dedication, hard work, and something that most coaches forget: the element of fun.
The SoccerSkillz Training School is dedicated to developing and progressing student athletes as individuals in a team setting that will excel over the long term with proper skills, team oriented mentality and without breaking the pocketbook.
Do the players know the difference and if so, can they read the game to be able to make quick adjustments and decisions?
As a player, student and coach of the game I have been taught to appreciate ball control and possession. I am a product of being able to read the game at all times, make adjustments and quick decisions. Having and maintaining possession is a key element to the game. Without possession of the ball a team cannot apply the principles of attack. They cannot penetrate a defense and eventually score.
How much possession is enough, what makes an effective possession from an ineffective one and how can we make sure our players understand the difference?
We all know Barcelona are the masters of the possession game but we can't all play like Barcelona because we may not have the skill set to do so.
If Barcelona are the masters of possession why has the team conceded loses to Milan, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and the unforgettable disaster to Borussia Dortmund in 2013 Champions League semis? Is it because they have fallen so in love with their own style of possession game that they do not make proper adjustments when needed?
Let’s take a step back and first analyze what do we need to maintain possession. In my experience before we even attempt to teach possession a team needs to have sound fundaments. Players need to be able to trap the ball, control the ball and pass the ball. If players cannot do those things, there is no way they will be able to maintain possession. At SoccerSkillz FUNdamentals are part of every day training. When a player trains in our system foot skills have to become second nature, so that a player develops the confidence to be able to receive, control, pass or take on another player 1v1.
So once we have developed the individual player’s skill set then we need to move forward and work on the concept of possession, passing the ball, moving without the ball and offering support to the player with the ball. This is something that takes time and patience; as players now need to read the game, make adjustments and decisions. As they get better at it the possession touches and time of possession increase to the point a team can move up and down the field with ease. As the team reaches that goal of mastering possession now it faces a new problem. POSSESSION OVERKILL. That is what happens when the team passes for the sake of passing but really is not moving towards the other goal, remember the reason why we want to keep possession is so at the right time we can penetrate the defense and possibly score a goal. Yes, the goal was to teach our team how to keep possession but once that is mastered the team must be able to read the game and know when to pass, where to pass, how much to pass. If a player has the right opportunity to take on a defender one v one and thinks he can beat that defender then by all means he should do that. If the ball is passed to a player and the player has read the game quick enough and accurately and can make a one touch through pass to penetrate through the defense instead of just passing the ball back to a teammate that is great adjustment and decision. If the ball comes to a player and he is in a good position, has the right angle, and sees an opening to take a shot instead of passing the ball again that is a great adjustment and decision. How about the fact that slow passing, predictable passing or just too much passing helps the other team set up defensively and takes the element of surprise away from your side. The space where a team passes is another consideration. With TIMELY passing we want our team to spread out the other team so it can make it easier for our team to penetrate. A lot of times teams fall victims of small untimely passes which although it gives the illusion that our team is doing great, in reality it helps the other team set up defensively and crowd the middle of the field or their penalty box making it difficult for our team to penetrate. As our team may push all players up to try and break this massive crowd up we leave ourselves vulnerable to counter attacks and quick goals.
All these things happened to Barcelona, as they fell in love with their possession style of play and over passed at times, did not take shots when it was the best option, let the other teams counter attack them with quick through passes and timely finishing.
Being able to balance the passing possession game with quick proper read of the game and appropriate correct decisions is the magic of the game in my opinion. Teams that can master a blend of proper passing possessions, quick 1v1s, through passes, long balls and timely shooting are teams that will be able to see positive results.
Is the measure of development in youth sports how many games you have won? Why is that a lot of parents and coaches have become accustomed answering this question: "How did you guys do?" with this answer: "Oh, we won!". I always tell them I did not ask you if you won or lost but how did you do. How did your player play, how did your team play. Did they use their fundamental skills, where they able to read the game, make correct decisions or execute properly. Did they play as a team, did they help each other, encourage and motivate each other. DID THEY HAVE FUN?
I see all the time premier level teams that claim how great they are and how they never lose, just not understand the game of soccer and their coach has gotten the parents so into winning that they are clueless about how under skilled their children are. Yes I said clueless because either the coach is not educated about development or has just forgotten about development. I see coaches just pick the biggest and fastest kids on their teams and then proceed to encourage them to just kick the ball as hard as they can up the field, run after it, bump, push and shove to get it and try to toe it into the goal under any cost. How about this one: As soon as the team recovers the ball the coach screams and yells for everyone to pass the ball to one player on the team that has a bit of skill. EVERY SINGLE TIME pass the ball to that player. I do not know about you, but last time I checked soccer has eleven players and they are all supposed to play together in order to accomplish their task. What happens when that one player is sick or can not play? Parents that get it find themselves paying money to have their children play for academies with paid trainers so they can be developed the right way. Paid trainers do understand the difference between winning and developing a youth player.
Below is a great report I found by Ivan Kepcija & Prof. Craig Johnson that sheds a lot of truths to the right development of the youth soccer player. PLEASE PLEASE read the entire report and I am sure you will see what I am talking about!
Once you download and read the report you will have a better understanding what development is all about and how SoccerSkillz follows that philosophy in order to reach long term development, similar to the development European and South American countries have. Then sign up for a free training session so that you can experience first hand the philosophy and how it works.
Most parents and coaches think players come to the pitch simply because they want to win. In reality, this is the furthest thing in a player’s mind. Players want to play more often regardless of the result. For less able players, if this means playing in a losing
side, then many would rather do that than not play at all. Players play, coaches coach fans cheer! Simple isn’t it?
As a coach my philosophy is to give all players in the development years as close to equal playing time as possible. Off course there may be situations or instances that may not be possible but overall the playing time should be divided equally. Think about it; would you just show up in every game knowing you will be sitting on the bench? And please do not tell me that some players know their role and have accepted that they are support role players or are on a team for development purposes. At the youth development level there is also a social element to being part of a team. Players build bonds and relationships and feel like they are part of a group.
Research shows the focus should not be on whether you lose or win, but on positives.
Introducing a procedure that reduces the emphasis on losing or winning and focuses on activities to create more developmental fun activities while creating a learning environment for the players is essential and the positive results will follow.
I had a parent recently tell me after a training session that he liked the fact that I trained, build and developed for the future rather than the now. He meant that he liked the fact that the training sessions were designed for developing the player/goalkeeper skill set, awareness of game, solving situations and most of all having fun. He said that his son always looks forward to coming to training because number one he is always curious to see what the coach has planned for the training session, (keeping a session always fresh by doing different things keeps the player’s retention and focus), and likes the fact that the players play.
That is what the “street games” philosophy is all about that SoccerSkillz Training and Just4Keepers are implementing in their indoor training sessions. Players/keepers come together and after a topic specific warm up and technical period the players play 3v3 and build to 5v5. However the players make their own line ups, substitutions and run their teams as they see fit, without the coaches’ input. Coaches make coaching points during brakes. As coaches we like to watch players/keepers find their own solutions in the game. Just like kids do on the school playground without any grown-ups around. It is beautiful to watch games start at a chaotic state and eventually settle down with a well organized group helping each other and working together.
Futworks training with futpro trainers
This article has been perceived as too controversial.
We apologize to anyone who was offended by its nature. Furthermore, although no names or teams were disclosed, we apologize for the comment of a particular player lacking effort or otherwise perceived as "lazy." Our intent was not to publicly criticize, embarrass or label any one player, but we see how this may have been taken that way. Many teams face situations where its players are on different levels, whether it be talent, aggressiveness or effort. The beautiful thing about youth soccer is that, as players continue to develop, these levels can change and you can have a totally different player a few seasons down the road. Coaches and parents both must be careful not to label players at a young age.
Again, our intent was to give an opinion, and only as to who do we think should pay for an academy program, when to pay for an academy program and how to choose an academy program.
If you wish to read this entire article please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do not see anything wrong with academies charging fees and offering a higher level of coaching and developing programs than the free clubs do. In fact the academy programs were created to do just that and be selective about which players they accept. They were supposed to accept players of an advance playing level and skills and were supposed to be the stepping-stone to a college showcase program or even the professional levels. It used to be impressive that a player played for an academy team. In General I do not think that applies any longer. There are still academy programs throughout the country that have high standards and offer a higher level of training and do not compromise their standards for the old mighty dollar.
So how does a parent know if they should pay for an academy program, and if so which academy program should they choose? In my opinion it’s simple. If your child is not playing at a premier level free club team and is not excelling at that team you will be wasting your money. As far as which academy program to choose from, do your research. Do not get impressed my fancy training gear, training grounds or coaches with accents. Look for the academy’s record on that particular age group as well as the coach’s record. Meet with that particular coach and speak with him. Just because he is a great coach with a proven record it does not mean he will be a good fit for your child. Great coaches do not always mesh with players and that is why you see changes at the professional levels. You have every right to interview the academy just like they try to interview you and make it look like you are so privileged to be accepted by them. Remember, it is your money you are spending.
View more photos and videos of non academy training with futworks here
How Can Nutrition And Rest Habits Effect Your Youth Soccer Player
Most players and their parents at the youth level of soccer do not really pay great attention to the proper nutrition, rest and recovery habits, as well as their effects and consequences.
A very small detail but yet so important to the youth soccer player, is the sleeping habits and activity over load.
Therefore going to bed late cuts down on that very important rest time.
Body needs to rest to allow it to recover and grow
Mind needs to rest to take in everything and process it to memory.
Your Brain Needs Zzzzzs
Not only is sleep necessary for your body, it's important for your brain, too. Though no one is exactly sure what work the brain does when you're asleep, some scientists think that the brain sorts through and stores information, replaces chemicals, and solves problems while you snooze.
Most kids between 5 and 12 get about 9.5 hours a night, but experts agree that most need 10 or 11 hours each night. Sleep is an individual thing and some kids need more than others.
When your body doesn't have enough hours to rest, you may feel tired or cranky, or you may be unable to think clearly.
School counselors across the country are reporting that more and more students involved in extra-curricular activities are on “overload” and becoming stressed out.
Summer Activities School Year Activities
Basketball practice at 9:00am Pre-School Basketball Shoot Around
Day Camp at 11:00 School Activities 9:00-3:00
Swimming at 3:00 Piano Lesson 3:30-4:30
Soccer at 5:00 Soccer 5:00
Hip Hop at 8:00 Homework 7:30
I challenge many of the parents to take a good look at the lives of our children. We all know a kid like this: the one who gets off the school bus and goes straight to soccer practice, eats a take-out dinner in the car on the way to Scouts or chess, and gets back home just in time to fall into bed at 10PM.
Where is the downtime? The time just to hang with friends, or read for pleasure, or ride a bike? The time to play with neighborhood friends or draw on the sidewalk with chalk?
I see so many kids coming to practice tired, yawning, lucking of energy. I always ask my players to give me 100% effort when they are practicing or playing. I do not care as much about mistakes as for them to give effort. I always wonder why players although they are on the field no more than 10 minutes, or just arrived for a morning soccer match they seem to luck energy, focus and just in general do not seem that they want to be there. When asked most of the time it is
because of a late night or other activities prior to coming to practice or game.
Here are some Nutritional Guidelines and a sample out of state diet/rest plan
1. All players will be instructed by their coaches and athletic trainers concerning the importance of nutrition before each tournament.
2. Players will be required to attend all scheduled meals.
3. Teams will be responsible for following and supervising the nutritional guidelines of the club.
4. Parents/players are responsible for the availability of food/fluids for each team.
5. All teams are required to have sufficient Gatorade, water, ice, and snacks in each of the player’s rooms during the tournament.
6. All teams are required to provide sufficient Gatorade, water, ice, and snacks at each game for pre-game, in- game, and post- game nourishment.
7. Managers will be responsible for the designation of access to the aforementioned at games.
8. No sodas or carbonated drinks are allowed prior to and during the tournament. Water will be served at all meals.
9. Breakfast should be eaten daily. If your game is early a light breakfast should be consumed with plenty of fluids
10. Pre-game meals should be planned 3-4 hours prior to the beginning of each game. If not possible, nutritious snacks and plenty of fluid should be provided.
11. Post-games snacks should be available to each player at the conclusion of each game on the field or in the vans returning from the game.
Post- game nutrition should include the immediate snack/Gatorade (within one hour of the game) followed by a larger meal later after the return to the hotel.
12. Players should hydrate at all times during the tournament. Urine color should appear clear (not dark yellow) upon waking in the morning, before the game,
and before going to bed. This is a simple way of acknowledging proper hydration.
SOCCER DIET – Pre/Post Game Meals
Soccer players are continuously looking for ways to improve his or her performance,
increasing the body’s maximum potential and forcing it to achieve championship form.
Training leading up to a tournament is done with hard work and commitment on a daily basis.
With the amount of effort and time spent in training comes and equally high energy
consumption and that is where nutrition (fuel) will come in.
High energy can be obtained through a diet which is rich in carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are the main fuel and energy source of the body and the soccer player needs
loads of them. It is equally important to consume the proper carbohydrates as outlined below.
Protein is also very important to the soccer player diet as they help with recovery and muscle
growth. Fats are important and essential to a healthy diet as long as they are consumed appropriately.
A general rule is to consume 60% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 15%fat in your diet.
Fluid is very important and should be consumed before, during, and after every soccer event.
The pre- game meal should be consumed 3-4 hours prior to a soccer game.
Plenty of water/Gatorade should be available at the meal. The meal should be planned around
individual likes and dislikes, thus a variety is essential. Carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Index (GI)
should be consumed before the game to preserve energy stores and provide long lasting energy
throughout the game. High GI foods should be consumed immediately before and during the game
to provide for lost energy in during the first half of games. A list is provided below.
Players should be provided with easily digested foods during the game and at half time.
These include crackers, grapes, oranges, watermelon, rice crispy bars, trail mix, etc...
Gatorade should be available at all games. Each player should drink 10-12 ounces 30 minutes
prior to the game, 8-10 ounces of water before kick-off, and 10 ounces of Gatorade at half time.
Water should be available to all players at anytime prior to, during, and after games.
Light colored Gatorade (Tiger, Rain, etc.) instead of darker colors should be available for players
as it is easier to digest.
Immediately following the game (within 30 min.), Gatorade/water should be available to players after games.
Light snacks should be provided if there is a game the next day or later in the day.
This should include high carbohydrate and protein foods. Trail mix, rice crispy bars, watermelon,
other fruits, crackers, and of course small sandwiches with perferably wheat or grain bread.
The post game snack should be provided immediately as this is when the player’s glycogen stores
are wide open and able to consume the most for the next match. One to two hours after this event
lessens and the player is not able to consume as much food. The post game meal should contain a
good balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Calories are important and should be consumed at the
rate of 2500/3000 per day. Older teams can consume more; younger teams may consume less depending
on the weight of the individual.
GI Foods List
LOW GI FOODS MED/HIGH GI FOODS
Peanut butter crackers
Fat Free milk
Cream of wheat
Fruit roll ups
When coaching kids soccer, one quickly realizes how it can be difficult, because young soccer players seem to always be wandering in a different direction! How can a coach keep his/her players’ attentions and keep control of their practices? By mixing up activities and using as many senses as possible, a coach can give players an outlet for their energy while still teaching them. By keeping lessons short and focused, a coach also encourages players to pay attention before being let loose.
Mix it Up In my youth coaching career I have seen coaches be all fired up and full of creativity after they first get their coaching licenses but soon they fall pray to the weekly training boredom blues. A lot of coaches show up at the field, sometimes late because of their daily routines, not properly prepared with a coaching session plan for the day. They try to wing a training session and at times forget that their key subjects are youth soccer players that they might have had a long day at school and might want a bit of release of energy in the soccer pitch. Coaching kids soccer requires one to be innovative and always engaging and mostly to be always using their creativity and imagination. Kids do not stay focused for long, so coaches must constantly invent new ideas, games and techniques for keeping their young soccer players excited about participating in soccer and learning. To do this, I personally have had plenty of wacky, creative ideas from time to time…crazy hat day, golf soccer, hula soccer, for the younger soccer players, daily player game creation and favorite exercise, or player run training session for the older ones…
Keep it Short Coaches do not have much time with youth soccer players before their minds will begin to wander. To stretch out this time and get more undivided attention from young soccer players, coaches should work to involve players by asking them questions, asking them to repeat things just said, summarizing important lessons, and making the session interactive.
Because of short attention spans, coaches should keep lessons concise and very focused. By encouraging players to pay attention to one lesson at a time, broken up by periods of physical activity and reviews of material covered earlier in the practice, coaches lengthen the amount of serious time they have with young athletes.
Increase Interactivity When Coaching Kids Soccer Youth soccer players today are not as able to sit and absorb information as previous generations because of the readily available media streams. They are now able to process multiple inputs at once and often get bored or restless if they are simply listening to someone talk at them. To reach young soccer players on their level, I incorporate videotaping of training sessions, with the aid of a parent and then email all kids that training session with comments and remarks. Kids love to watch themselves and realize much better what the coach was talking about when they see themselves participate in that particular training session. Skills that were explained or mistakes and adjustments that were discussed in a training session, all of sudden become understood by watching the video playback.
Coaches should remember that any internet usage by young players needs to be heavily monitored by responsible adults to prevent athletes from wandering to inappropriate sites or accessing unapproved material.
Those coaching kids soccer can also provide written material or charts for older athletes who can read and write. Charts could contain a list of what skills have been taught, when they were first introduced, and the coach’s assessment of how well the athletes perform that skill. For written material, coaches can pass out brief instructions about skills or a one-page review of what has been taught to that point in the season.
The use of different soccer aids that are fun and engaging is another great way to teach and improve their skills while holding their attention and always have them ask for more.
Lastly one of my least favorite methods of training is “LAPS”. I see kids running laps, either for warm up or cool down or for punishment. My philosophy is that soccer is a game or quick short sprints. Running nonstop for a prolonged period of time is called cross-country or long distance running. A soccer player’s heartbeat is different from the one of the long distance runner. Why not develop and strengthen that heartbeat with proper sport appropriate exercises. I have found some fun engaging videos of great ideas on these sites:
www.futworkz.com - www.soccertoplay.com