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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The waves crash. The kids play in the surf with their friends. The sun beams down on you, but the gentle breeze and a cold drink cool you down. Just one thing is missing – a good book.
Thankfully, the beach season is set to start in only a few weeks. We at Soccer Drills App cannot help with much of your beach planning but we’ve got you covered for that good book. Listed below are several books that we have either read, or that trusted friends have recommended to us in recent years. Some of the listed books are also appropriate for your children to read. In addition to these books, a(n) (auto)biography will also usually prove to be a good read.
The UEFA Champions League finalists have been determined. Two teams from the same city – Madrid – will be facing each other on May 28 in another city – Milan – to decide who will be crowned the champion of the most coveted club soccer competition in the world. Real Madrid, one of the sport’s richest clubs, always features a star-studded roster and is always one of the favorites to reach the final, and once there, to win it. Two years ago they won the competition for the 10th time, which is a record.
Several weeks ago we provided some tips on how to pick a game to watch with your kid, and one of the things we talked about were the underdog stories. We mentioned the exciting prospect of Leicester City Football Club (the foxes) winning Barclay’s Premier League as the underdog fairy tale story of the year that could write the pages of sports history, be turned into books and movies, and is already influencing rock bands.
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pele
Earlier this week Atletico Madrid beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in a UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg. The only goal of the game – and now the difference that Bayern has to surmount in their return leg in Munich – came early in the 1st half after a surging dribble through the heart of Bayern’s defense.
When it comes to practice gear for young soccer teams, there are many choices. Your league may provide you with some of the items you need, but we’ve put together a list of the most commonly used items by coaches so you don’t have to spend tons of time researching. Buy the items we list, or use them as a jumping off point to find similar items.
You can use the US Youth Soccer guide showing recommended Goal, Field, Ball sizes and match durations for various age groups to pick the correct ball size for your team.