Do you believe in Miracles? YES!

40 years ago, Al Michaels gave us this unforgettable call in the final seconds of the USA / Soviet Union Olympic Hockey Game.  Sports Illustrated named the “Miracle on Ice” the top sports moment of the 20th century.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary, our local sports stations have interviewed several players from that Gold Medal-winning USA Olympic team.  Recently I heard an interview with Rob McClanahan.  What I found of interest was what he said about his personal preparation for the August USA tryouts. READ MORE

Coaching Children Ages U6/U8 – Part 1

This is the first in a three-part series on coaching children at this young age.

Introduction

Children at these ages are being introduced to just how much FUN it is to play soccer.  By providing a safe and fun environment you can ensure a positive experience for the children.

You are coaching because you care for children.  You may not even know much about soccer (well, not yet anyway), and that is OK!  What you bring to the soccer field as their coach is your personality!  Your enthusiasm for them will show through any misgivings you might have about your soccer coaching abilities.  Consider this:  these children may not remember what you teach them about soccer, but they will always remember how you make them feel. READ MORE

Be Proud Of What Your Child Accomplishes

As a professional soccer game announcer and analyst, I was honored to be asked to announce a Pre-Olympic game.  With their National Anthems playing and me reading the last names on their shirts, here were all these guys from Central America living the dream.  Then I thought “If my child were on the field how proud I would feel.”

These were U-20 players representing their country and dreaming of playing in the Olympics.  Their dreams came true because of the support of their parents. 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

Kindergarten Cop and Coaching

There is an old Arnold Schwarzenegger film called “Kindergarten Cop.”  In it, Arnold becomes a substitute kindergarten teacher who barely made it through the first day!  He felt totally overwhelmed and under prepared.

That is how many of us begin our coaching careers – feeling overwhelmed and under prepared.  That anxiety can lead to fear, even before you take the field for the first time with your team. 

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”  Mandy Hale 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

Coaching Smarter Saving Time

Smart coaching can be as simple as better organization prior to the season using a mapped out plan for an entire season. Having a practice plan for your sessions gives you a body of work that can be easily accessed and be ready for delivery to your team. Being organized and having a plan takes away an awful lot of anguish, frustration and ultimately failure in producing the education goals you aspire to.

A coach’s consistency of content throughout the season is key to instructing and demonstrating to their players that they are knowledgeable and engaged with the squad of players. Parents from the side lines will appreciate the coach more when they see energy, movement and meaningful activities that players are embracing and showing fun emotions while doing them. READ MORE

COACHES CORNER: When you first start coaching

When you first start coaching – be it your initial foray as a parent coach or the beginning of a new season with a new team for a more seasoned recreational coach, figuring out what to cover in a practice can be daunting. This is often especially true after you have seen them in their first competition – the list of “things they need to work on” feels endless. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and its best to go in with a plan.

First, give some thought to the skills you would like to introduce and the topics you would generally like to cover over the span of the season and work from there. Be realistic and age/developmentally appropriate with your expectations and goals. READ MORE