Vision and Awareness

Vision and Awareness are the New Buzz Words. How important are they?

Of all the pillars of player development, the two that separate an exceptional player from a good player are the level of Vision and Awareness.

Vision is the skill of seeing things quickly and in some instances before they happen in the game.

Awareness is a combination of feeling and recognizing opportunities to make and execute plays faster than opponents.

In team sports like soccer where interactions with team members are integral to ball possession, vision can be as simple as having your head on a swivel checking in every direction for clues as to what the opponent is doing and what you and your teammates are doing.  It allows a player in control of the ball to serve the pass to an open player, perhaps starting a possession sequence that could lead to scoring goals. Vison can also include a player not with the ball moving into open spaces, placing them in a situational dominance of defenders, making their opponent unable to match their pace of play and movement. READ MORE

How to watch and learn Soccer

I was asked last week how MOTI can help me understand the game of soccer when I watch broadcast games on TV.

Go to the MOTI Sports Activities and look for the simplest ball movement like ‘passing in pairs’ and you will witness two players facing each other delivering a ball back and forth.  This setup and format are the backbone of the game of soccer and deserve your observation as a key element to building one’s understanding of soccer excellence.

The next progression is to see the inclusion of a third player, then the fourth. With this spectator directive, your observations can now turn to the flow and effectiveness of possession and sequences of passes to move forward against the opposition. Possessions by a team will settle the game’s momentum on how a team is set up to take advantage of a perceived weak point and exploit that weakness. READ MORE

What can make our Soccer players improve?

Metacognition is “cognition about cognition”, “thinking about thinking”, “knowing about knowing”, becoming “aware of one’s awareness” and higher-order thinking skills. The term comes from the root word meta, meaning “beyond”, or “on top of”. Metacognition can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or problem-solving. There are generally two components of metacognition: (1) knowledge about cognition and (2) regulation of cognition. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metacognition) READ MORE

Volunteer Parents are the lifeblood

Volunteer Parents are the lifeblood of every Youth Soccer Club or Association.  They make the organization work and determine the short- and long-term success of the youth soccer club.

My experience and understanding of youth soccer are that most organizations lose up to 50% of their volunteer base predominantly in the coaching ranks each year.  By stopping a revolving door of losing these coach volunteers the Club can enjoy coach and management experience with continuity. Clubs need to offer age and gender specific programs that fit the organizations culture to make volunteer coach experiences rewarding and enjoyable, so they will sign on for another year or even more and continue to volunteer. READ MORE

Coaching U10 Players (and their parents)!

At this age the coach’s task is to provide the opportunity to play soccer.  These students have minds and bodies that are like sponges and we need to keep their attention.  The instruction can be directed at the development of the entire player, their physical, cognitive, social and psychological needs.

Remember U10 players are still children not adult players, their attention span is getting a little longer than last year but still not fully developed.  Their motion is gaining in balance and strength but not yet fully developed.  Psychologically U10 children are becoming stronger in understanding how to cooperate and share with others.  Boys and Girls are beginning to develop at different speeds, girls getting their growth spurts a little earlier.  Motor skills overall are becoming more refined.  Muscle memory is very elastic and receptive to good instruction.  At this age player memory is absorbing content as fast as it can be delivered and players are able to think ahead because they can tap into new information they have recently experienced.   READ MORE

New Coach? What do you do now?

Are you a new coach involved with Soccer for the first time asking – What do I do now?

What follows will give you enough pointers to begin coaching and give you a solid foundation to plan practices, identify and teach relevant soccer skills that will hopefully lead to bolstering your involvement in and ultimate enjoyment of the great game of soccer.

Soccer is a game of great skill and technique if it is to be played correctly and enjoyed immensely. When first starting out it is important, as a coach, that you not try to instruct the new player too much at one time. In the initial stages of development your concentration should be focused on having your players familiarize themselves with fundamental ball handling techniques. It is important that young players learn to control the ball with different body surfaces such as feet, thighs and chest. Being able to comfortably juggle the ball on all surfaces of the body is a natural progression to close ground control. Creating positive practice environments, especially during the beginning sessions, and allowing players to experience the many moves and technique skill sets together as a team is vital. Only with perseverance and repetitions will players attain the feel and touch required to have maximum control of their body and the ball. READ MORE