Ask a coach about their philosophy, strategy, or tactics… And, they will likely respond with soccer formations they like to play. When I coached high school soccer, interviews for assistant coaches usually started like this:
Q: How do you like your teams to play?
A: I like a 4-4-2.
The offside rule in soccer is one of the most hotly contested on any soccer pitch. Thus, referees, players, coaches and parents all have a say. But, this is not without good reason. The rule has several exceptions that can throw off most fans. This post attempts to explain it in very easy-to-understand terms so you can “register your vote” with confidence, or just help others learn how to interpret it properly.
For a much more detailed explanation and the official rules / laws of the beautiful game, you can go straight to the source. Go to the FIFA website and check out this PDF (Laws of the Game).
The secret to coaching youth soccer positions is to communicate clear instructions to players. People found “3 Things To Tell A Goalkeeper On Gameday” so useful, we decided to extend it. Here are the top 3 things to teach each of the four position roles (goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, and forward).
You could provide more instructions to players based on whether they are in a central or outside role, or other aspects of the game. The following basic instructions will get a good response from your players though as they are simple and easy to understand. A lot of people struggle with coaching youth soccer positions, but with these tips, you won’t have to.
In the span of less than 90 seconds today (Aug 14, 2016), Arsenal’s Theo Walcott managed to earn a penalty kick, miss it, and then score a goal from the run of play against rivals Liverpool. The reason for the ultimate success, just shortly after a deflating failure, is the mental fortitude Walcott displayed.
We as youth coaches play a huge role in developing that mental strength that can make the difference between our players walking away with a negative or a positive experience.
When players make a mistake they first look to their coach for a reaction. If our reaction – both physical and verbal – is positive, or at least not negative, then the players are bound to recover from the mistake quicker. A quick recovery is in the interest of both, the player and the team, because the players making mistakes – and there will be many players making many mistakes at the youth level – will be able to focus their skills and abilities towards helping the team, rather than dwelling on the mistake and missing segments of the game.
If possible, the coaches should make every effort to:
- Avoid making facial expressions that can be associated with anger or disappointment after a mistake is made
- Instead offer praise for the player’s effort. A quick handclap is often enough
- Follow any physical reaction with words of encouragement
- “Great try” is often enough
- Follow the reaction with a teaching moment
- “Next time try this other way”
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: During my soccer college career, a sports psychologist discussed with our team the difference between college and professional players. The conclusion was that the training the two sets of players were exposed to was relatively similar, as was the intensity, yet the professional players had a huge edge over the college players in mental strength. This was measured in terms of recovery time after a mistake was made.
It took a college player several minutes to get over a mistake – it took high school players about one half of a game and youth players the entire game – while a professional player recovered in a matter of seconds. Theo Walcott’s goal against Liverpool goes to prove the point.
Imagine if one of your players missed a penalty kick midway through the first half. How long would it take them to recover, and what could you do to help them get their head back in the game?
Some of you have been asking about T-Shirts. The wait is over! Head over to Amazon and choose from several styles and colors. Shirts are available for youth, women and men. Let us know what you think…
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Although individual brilliance (think Messi’s free kick against the US) has featured in this summer’s rich soccer repertoire, it has been teams who have shown they can work together that have captured the attention of the soccer world. Chile’s triumph in Copa America, as well as Wales and Iceland pushing so deep into Euro 2016, have proven that a strong collective can overcome individuals. Let’s not forget Leicester City winning the Premier League and Atletico Madrid making the Champions League final earlier in the year in proving that good organization goes a long way in soccer. Here we offer a few team-building drills that focus on movement and communication. These are drills that young soccer players have enjoyed every time we have used them.