Minute with Merrick Episode 05

New Coach? What now?

Alan shares advice for youth soccer players, parents, coaches, and fans of soccer during these “Minute with Merrick” episodes.

Alan Merrick is MOTI’s Director of Soccer Content. Alan’s professional career began in English as he played for West Bromwich Albion as well as the English Junior National Team. He played for 10 years in England, before moving to the United States in 1976 where he played for the Minnesota Kicks. His career as a player also included playing for The LA Aztecs, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto Blizzards, before returning to Minnesota to play for the Minnesota Kicks once again, and Playing for the US National Team – Team America. He coached the in-door NASL Team, the Minnesota Strikers for 6 years, and the University of Minnesota Men’s Club Team for over 20 seasons. Alan helped start the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association with others and has been coaching youth players, and teaching coaches for over 40 years. Alan holds coaching licenses in England, the USSF A License, and Canadian Coaching License. READ MORE

Minute with Merrick Episode 04 – Let the Coaches Coach

Alan shares advice for youth soccer players, parents, coaches, and fans of soccer during these “Minute with Merrick” episodes.

Alan Merrick is MOTI’s Director of Soccer Content. Alan’s professional career began in English as he played for West Bromwich Albion as well as the English Junior National Team. He played for 10 years in England, before moving to the United States in 1976 where he played for the Minnesota Kicks. His career as a player also included playing for The LA Aztecs, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto Blizzards, before returning to Minnesota to play for the Minnesota Kicks once again, and Playing for the US National Team – Team America. He coached the in-door NASL Team, the Minnesota Strikers for 6 years, and the University of Minnesota Men’s Club Team for over 20 seasons. Alan helped start the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association with others and has been coaching youth players, and teaching coaches for over 40 years. Alan holds coaching licenses in England, the USSF A License, and Canadian Coaching License. READ MORE

Minute with Merrick Episode 03

Lesson Plans for the Teachers

Alan shares advice for youth soccer players, parents, coaches, and fans of soccer during these “Minute with Merrick” episodes.

Alan Merrick is MOTI’s Director of Soccer Content. As an international soccer legend both as a professional player and coach, Alan now dedicates his time to teaching the sport with MOTI Sports’ 3D Mobile Soccer Training Platform.

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

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