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This is an excerpt of the second article in a three part series that has been contributed by John Pascarella, Sporting Kansas City Assistant Coach. The first part was published in our Coaching Advanced Players blog.
In the first of this three part series I began with a saying from Coach John Wooden: “You haven’t taught until they’ve learned” and how this caused me to think of my own coaching style and how I sometimes find it difficult to get my points across to players in different ways when they don’t understand the initial way I’ve tried to explain it. In that article I compared US Soccer’s Simple to Complex teaching methodology to the French Federations Whole-Part-Whole method emphasizing that I didn’t feel one was better than the other but stressed that coaches need more than one way to teach progressions so they can teach players with different types of learning styles.
In this article I wanted to expand on that idea byContinue reading
The 4-2-3-1 formation has become the system of choice for many of the worlds top professional and national teams like Real Madrid, Manchester United and Brazil. As coaches at every level have watched these top teams play they have looked for ways to implement the system with their college, high school and youth teams.
The first step in introducing a new way of playing s to break the system down and identify the most important components. The was done very well byContinue reading
One of the benefits of coaching within a large club is the opportunity for continued coaching education from the Technical Director. The club I coach with is Sporting Blue Valley, an affiliate club of Sporting Kansas City of the MLS. Peter Vermes is the Technical Director and Head Coach for Sporting Kansas City but alsoContinue reading
When I'm adding a new drill, exercise or small-sided game to a training session I know that the players will go through three separate phases of learning; first, they need to focus on the framework and rules of the activity, then they can pay attention to the technique that the activity requires. Only then can they play with the necessary speed and intensity that will replicate a game situation.
One of the biggest mistakes I see from coaches is a lack of attention and patience to the first two phases so that they can get to the final phase. They push players to play quickly and game like before theyContinue reading
One of the perks of being apart of WORLD CLASS COACHING is that I have access to a large library of training sessions from some of the top professional, collegiate, and youth coaches. We have published books and DVDs on every aspect and topic of coaching. I often refer to our DVD especially for newContinue reading
The indoor season provides a change of pace and focus that I think is good for player development but you don’t want to completely lose the base of fitness that was built during the outdoor season. The challenge is that you have a limited amount of space to work with when you’re training indoor. WeContinue reading
I continue to run one practice per week outdoor with my older teams during the winter months when weather permits. This means that we are often training when the it’s pretty cold. On very cold days I organize small-sided games to keep the players moving and loose. They get a lot more out of playingContinue reading
This is the first time I’ve coached a team with two players that think of themselves as full-time goalkeepers. We came to an understanding before the season began as to how playing time would be divided. We also decided which events they would have a chance to play on the field when they were notContinue reading
This is the first time I've coached a team with two players that think of themselves as full-time goalkeepers. We came to an understanding before the season began as to how playing time would be divided. We also decided which events they would have a chance to play on the field when they were not in goal. In other events they would play one half in goal and not play in the other half.
This has worked well in large part because everyone has known what to expect and there have been no surprises. I also think it has been very good for both goalkeepers because there is an element of competition thatContinue reading
I continue to run one practice per week outdoor with my older teams during the winter months when weather permits. This means that we are often training when the it's pretty cold. On very cold days I organize small-sided games to keep the players moving and loose. They get a lot more out of playing games than they would if I tried to coach specific concepts.
Playing small-sided game should not be a matter of dividing up into two teams and throwing the ball out. My favorite small-sided games are those thatContinue reading
The indoor season provides a change of pace and focus that I think is good for player development but you don't want to completely lose the base of fitness that was built during the outdoor season. The challenge is that you have a limited amount of space to work with when you're training indoor. We use a school gym, and a small one at that. I look for exercises that mimic the movement patterns of the game while using space as economically as possible.
The warm-up below is from Dave TenneyContinue reading
With the outdoor season coming to an end in the Midwest of the United States, I'm turning my attention Futsal training. For anyone not familiar with Futsal, it's played with a ball that is one size smaller than the ball the players use outdoor (U9-U12 play with a size three ball while U13 and above play with a size four). The ball is also constructed to have a low bounce to help keep it on the floor. The game is played on the same surface as a basketball court so the ball moves very quickly. These characteristics mean that it is sometimes easier to control with the sole of the foot rather than the inside of the foot.
During the outdoor season I discourageContinue reading
One of the perks of being apart of WORLD CLASS COACHING is that I have access to a large library of training sessions from some of the top professional, collegiate, and youth coaches. We have published books and DVDs on every aspect and topic of coaching.
I often refer to our DVD especially for new ways to approach topics to keep my coaching fresh and interesting to the players I work with. I think we're all probably guilty of using the same few drills or exercises for a specific technique over and over. This can be a good thing because it allows us to focus on teaching the game rather than having to spend a lot of time teaching the drill. But changing things up on occasion can breath new life into a stale session and motivate players to perform at a higher level with the addition of new challenges.
In the past if I was looking for a new warm-up for a shooting practice I would have to scan through three or four DVDs to find what I'm looking for. This changedContinue reading
Each month we add a new magazine update to the Member Drills Database. The magazine contains training sessions, videos and articles presented by top teams and coaches from around the world.
Here's part of a training session presented by Chelsea FC Academy coach Chris Woodword. The session focuses on 1 v 1, 2 v 1 and 2 v 2 situations that lead to a zonal game.Continue reading
Teaching players how to protect the ball until the option to shoot or pass is available is extremely important if you want your team to keep possession and learn to build an attack. There will be times when there isn't an open team mate and they need to buy some time and create some space before support arrives.
The first thing I do when working on this topic is to have the players focus on the quality of their first touch. A player's first touch can put them into a tackleContinue reading
The post below from our Conditioning Expert Scott Moody with Soccer FIT got me thinking about how we inspire our young soccer players in the United States. As the quality and reputation of the MLS grows and more American players find success in the top leagues around the world, dreaming of a future in professional soccer is becoming an ever more realistic goal. Sure, reaching that level is a long shot as it always has been for kids playing basketball in school yards around the country but not so long ago it was almost impossible.
The dream of playing professionally will help young players develop to the very limit of their potential. They won't all make it toContinue reading
A youth soccer league in Connecticut recently banned heading in it's program. I read the story a couple of weeks ago on NBC Sports, 'Off the Bench' blog. It came to mind this morning as I was talking to a mother of one of my U14 players. Her daughter took a hard fall after fighting for a header over the weekend. She complained of a headache the rest of the day and the doctor confirmed today that she has a mild concussion.
Personally I feel that heading is an integral part of the game and youth players should be taught how to do it properly and safely. That doesn'tContinue reading
Like many coaches I focus on one particular aspect of the game during each training session. Sure, I try to train the technical, tactical, physical and psychological components around the specific skill so that the practice is as economical as possible. But in the past if my focus was on passing and receiving I wouldn't have thought about ending the session with any type of shooting.
When WORLD CLASS COACHING conducted a tour of Dutch club a few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend. While visiting the Ajax Academy I watched a session presented byContinue reading
For me, the beginning of the season revolves around getting a group of players to work together within a framework of a system. Lately that system has been the 4-3-3. This involves teaching each player the role and responsibility of their position: How the defenders work together to stop attacks and win the ball. How the midfielders connect the team together. How the attackers create goalscoring opportunities. All of this gives the players a starting point but the most important learning comes next.
Helping the players to think and act creatively within the framework of the system is what willContinue reading
Today's post is from our Soccer Conditioning Expert, Scott Moody at SoccerFIT Academy. I've posted some of their information on speed, fitness and agility testing in the past because I think Scott is on the leading edge of soccer conditioning in the U.S. and I work with him through our Sporting Affiliate Club in Overland Park, KS. Here is his latest update on the testing they have been doing with clubs and coaches around the world. I thought you'd find it interesting and helpful especially since there's no cost to test your players and see how they stack up. It's also a great evaluation tool that can be used to assess the progress of the players over the course of a season, year or career.
We now have over 700 coaches in 30 countries using the SoccerFIT Game Speed Test to evaluate their players and teams. Some of the college coaches have found the test a very useful preseason tool, as it shows strengths and weaknesses in SKILL, SPEED and FITNESS, and can quickly show where you are strong (and weak) as a team. We continue to support all programs using our test with eBooks and clinics that highlight our systematic approach of blending the physical aspects with the technical aspects to create a more applicable (and efficient) way to integrate speed, agility and fitness into normal practice sessions.
On the club level we have started testing all the teams and players in various clubs to create a clear picture of the developmental process within the club. Below is a graph of the girls side of one club we consult with (from U11 to U18). We ranked the teamsContinue reading
I think coaches spend a lot more time teaching offensive skills and techniques than they do teaching young players how do defend individually and in small groups. The attacking techniques of dribbling, passing and shooting are easy to create training sessions around and they are definitely the sexier skills of the game. But teaching a young player to defend a 1 v 1 effectively is vital to their development as a player.
This point was driven home to me last weekend as my teams played their first games of the new season. We had worked on all of the attacking skills but spent no time learning how to defend correctly. There are so many topics to cover that you just can't do it all in two weeks of training sessions before the first game. So this weekContinue reading