Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Football, how to be a parent, parental support, parents, Soccer, youth, youth soccer
Parents have a big influence on the type of player their child becomes. Parents have powerful emotions generated through their involvement with their children, which can be both positive enablers and negative barriers.
These will have wide-ranging and long-lasting influences on those young players. Parents need to look at the “big picture” issues and responsibilities, and not fall into making the common mistakes which abuse this power.
Top 10 mistakes
- Taking their child’s sport experience too seriously, and not mixing in the appropriate levels of fun and recreation.
- Expecting perfection in their child.
- Living vicariously – as though they were taking part themselves – through their child’s sport experiences.
- Making negative comments about other children, parents or coaches.
- Having an unrealistically overblown assessment of their child’s talent.
- Contradicting the advice and guidance of their child’s teachers, trainers and coaches, leading to the child being confused and torn in loyalties.
- Failing to realise when their child is developing their skills rather than being competitive.
- Failing to see the value of sports lessons as preparation for life itself.
- Not realising that their child can learn valuable sport and life lessons even when they lose.
- Labelling their child a choker or other name.
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Barcelona, Football, goalkeeper, goalkicks, Real Madrid, Soccer, tactics, victor valdes, youtube
They are a good team and have a clever coach who is always ready to try things out during matches if he sees a problem. During the match, his goalkeeper was not having much luck from goal kicks.
Every time he kicked the ball it was going into a packed midfield and the opposition’s physical advantage in the centre meant they were often emerging with the ball. In fact, the opening goal had come as a direct result of a goal kick coming straight back from midfield. With his team losing 2-0 at half-time, it was clear the coach had to change something.
The first thing he did was alter the routine of the goal kicks to give his keeper more options.
He got two defenders to drop short left and right of the goal so the keeper could play a simple pass to ensure that his team retained possession. When this happened, the opposition players moved forward to close down, something that freed up space in the midfield area. As you might expect, this made a huge difference straight away, and having previously been overrun in the middle third, the team were now finding it easier to build attacking moves.
His mobile defenders also utilised space down the line, with attacking midfielders able to take the ball forward further, frequently sending dangerous crosses in towards the near post. After his team had won a succession of corner kicks they scored to pull the scoreline back to 2-1. In working harder to win the ball from goal kicks, the opposition lost a lot of their attacking speed and were less able to get the ball forward.
The match had effectively been turned on its head, all because of a change in the goal kick routine. The team had a number of chances to equalise but couldn’t take them, but that’s football. Nonetheless, they had won the second half 1-0, and learned a great lesson in tactics at the same time.
I love to see goalkeepers playing short balls to the wide defenders. If watch the video clip below of Victor Valdes the Barcelona goalkeeper continually playing short balls against Real Madrid. Even after he makes a mistake he continues to pass the ball short.
I could watch this all day!
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Football, shots, skills, Soccer, turns
Filed under: Dwyer Scullion, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: better soccer coaching, Brazilian coaches, Football, Japan soccer club, Soccer Skills, soccer team, The Observer, Zico
As a boy growing up and becoming interested in soccer, Zico was one of my favourite players. A truly dynamic, impossibly skilful, imaginative forward, it transpires that Zico is an equally inspiring coach.
After spells coaching a Japan club side and then the Japan national team, Zico became coach of Turkish side Fenerbahce in 2006. Fenerbahce’s ambitious desire to become one of the top clubs in Europe doesn’t seem so far-fetched when you consider that they are in the Champions League quarter-final, going into a second leg against Chelsea already leading 2-1.
His coaching philosophy is straightforward and consists of two central principles:
2. Teaching through repetition
And unsurprisingly, he does not compromise on how he thinks the game should be played:
“There are too many defensive teams around, with players passing the ball sideways instead of going for it. I like my players to have fun and attack”
For Zico, dialogue means talking with his players rather simply than issuing instructions. He is not concerned with straitjacketing his players or imposing strict roles. Instead, he prefers to give them freedom to make their own choices and decisions. He uses dialogue to show his players their potential then gives them the freedom to go out and reach that potential for the team.
Simple training is the second central principle that Zico applies with his players. Most Brazilian coaches, and indeed most of the top coaches in world club soccer focus their attention on tactics. Zico, however, prefers to emphasize the basics:
“For me, playing football is a mechanical thing, like cleaning your teeth. You need to learn the movements and have them in your head: controlling, passing, shooting, heading, crossing… it is all about training.”
This may seem like a simplistic approach to the game at such a high level, but you can’t argue with his results.
It strikes me that Zico’s coaching philosophy is very similar to what I should be doing as a youth soccer coach. In the past I’ve struggled to make the connection between what, say, Manchester United do, and what we have to do in our own little grassroots universe.
Zico’s approach has made that connection for me and I can see that if I follow that path – dialogue combined with coaching simple core skills – our players and our team will improve and everyone, including our spectators, will have more fun.
Dwyer Scullion, publisher, Better Soccer Coaching
Filed under: Dwyer Scullion, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: Better Soccer Soaching, coaches, dribble, Football, proper passing, soccer players, Soccer Skills, squad
My Under 8s side have been doing extremely well lately, but regular readers of Better Soccer Coaching will know that we started our season back in September with humble ambitions.
We didn’t have any outstanding players. You know, the kind that you can rely on to score regularly. As a coach I simply wanted to do what I could to help them progress as players and to have as much fun as is humanly possible on a freezing cold English Saturday morning. My stated ambition was for the team to score a goal before Christmas, and maybe push on to win a match by the end of the season.
Well, as things panned out, we actually got our first few goals in October but we were still a long way off winning a game. However, our fortunes took a dramatic turn when we managed to acquire the registration of a local boy who started training with us in the new year.
Now, this boy is really something special. He’s fast, skillful, smart, he looks up, and he has a left foot that Liverpool FC could certainly be doing with at the moment. Best of all, he is an absolutely delightful young boy. He supports his team mates at every opportunity. He’s always smiling. He’s never rude and he’s keen to learn as much as he can about the game.
Now we can’t stop winning. We’ve beaten the two strongest teams in our local area 4-0 and 6-0. We’re in danger of actually winning the Cup! Talk about Bad News Bears done good!
But here’s the thing. This weekend just gone by we had to make do without our star player, and quite a few others, and our squad was down to bare bones. We lost 2-0 but the message to the boys who played was that it was far and away our best ever performance. I saw cute little drag-backs, step-overs, passing into space, one-twos. I heard players pointing to each other to cover different areas of the pitch. I saw real determination to play “proper” passing, attractive football – not the kick-and-rush style that so many of us were brought up on.
So where did this all come from? I think our new star player has had an immeasurable influence on his peers, and not just in the way he plays. Sure, they all want to be able to dribble and shoot like young Ben and that aspiration has clearly raised their individual skill levels.
But I think it’s as much to do with the way he supports his team mates. I think they see him being attentive and respectful to the coaches. They respond to his encouragement and the fact that he never berates his team mates. They hear they way he communicates with the other players and, because, he’s such a great player, they can’t help but want to copy him.
In that regard he’s possibly a more effective coach than I could ever be.
Dwyer Scullion, Better Soccer Coaching publisher
Filed under: Dwyer Scullion, Soccer Coaching, Soccer News | Tags: better soccer coaching, Football, Gaelic football, Manchester Utd, marketing, Soccer, UK and European coaches
“Why would I buy one of your products when you don’t even know what the game’s called?”
So reads a response I received to an email marketing one of our weekly subscription services. In fact, I’ve edited that down to remove one or two expletives. This respondant was – you guessed it – English, and he/she was upset at our use of the word “soccer” rather than “football”.
I’ve heard the same sentiment voiced by respected radio journalists, one high profile match commentator intoning the word “soccer” in a syrupy and exaggerated American accent.
For the purposes of this posting I’m going to stick to my guns and use the word “soccer”. I’m Irish and was raised to refer to the Beautiful Game as “football”. But I’m comfortable using the word soccer. I have absolutely no problem with it.
Readers with a slightly wider world view will be aware that the reason we at Better Soccer Coaching use the expression is because we are an online publisher with a global market and a huge proportion of that market play a game called soccer.
That game has the same rules, the same beauty, passion, excitement, thrills and spills as what we in England insist on referring to as football. They love it just as much as we do. They may not have been playing it for quite as long, and they may not have the same proud tradition of freezing cold stadiums selling poisonous pies and watery beer, but they love the game just as much.
As I mentioned I was brought up in Ireland playing Gaelic football, basketball and football. In the last 12 months, working at Better Soccer Coaching and dealing with coaches from around the world I’ve grown used to using the expression soccer. So much so that it’s started to slip into my daily conversation. However, when I say “soccer” to my fellow coaches at my local club I’m treated with a combination of ridicule and scorn. Clearly, I know nothing about the game.
But we’re all coaches. We share the same values and ambitions for our players and our teams. Whether we refer to the game as soccer or football makes not a jot of difference. In the UK and Europe we borrow liberally from American culture in music, fashion, art, cinema and lifestyle (McDonald’s anyone? – a significant sponsor of grassroots football – I mean, soccer – in the UK).
You can bet your bottom dollar (pun intended) that when Manchester Utd and Arsenal play an exhibition match in Boston or Los Angeles they will be perfectly happy to market the event as a soccer match.
But culture is culture and you can’t change it overnight. For those UK and European coaches who baulk at the word soccer, maybe the thing to do is build a website just for them. Watch this space.