Coaching is a GREAT adventure!

My first coaching job was as an Assistant High School Soccer Coach.  Our local high school was beginning soccer as a club sport.  My best friend and I applied and both got the jobs.

We were both graduates from this high school.  He played soccer in college.  I had never played the game, although I had played many other sports.  This was going to be the start of a GREAT coaching ride for both of us.

We got together in the summer before our first season to discuss why we are coaching.  Up until then, I had never put much thought into it.  Here are some of the questions we asked ourselves to help us think through the kind of coaches we wanted to become. READ MORE

Coach’s Corner: One Size Doesn’t Usually Fit All

Do you know what kind of coach you are? Can you describe your style? How you motivate players? Are you impactful in tapping into players needs to be affirmed and coached positively?

I won’t continue with the 20 questions, but I will suggest that however you usually show up, it can be a game changer when you are able to be you – but also be the kind of coach (each of!) your players needs you to be for their growth and love of the game.

In other words, you should absolutely bring your authentic personality to the field – it won’t work to try to over-emulate to be too much like somebody else or something you are not. But after thoughtful reflection and getting to know your players, you should also absolutely have a strong sense of how to provide communication that is individualized to the receiver when giving one-to-one feedback. This will lead to greater impact and larger intended outcomes for the player, and possibly for the entire squad. READ MORE

See it and Do it.

In recent weeks I attended maybe 20 coaching clinics. I often wonder that takes place at these clinics really. Ever look around at a coaching clinic and ask yourself Why am I here, what and how am I learning?

The idea behind the coaching clinic is for a coach to visually see and experience “a fully developed model, which coaches can implement immediately within their organization to promote innovation and accelerate results”.  Coachinc.com

See it and Do it.

Similarly, both USSF and USC are now using on line training and YouTube videos to help train new to the game coaches and seasoned veterans alike. READ MORE

The Joy of Coaching at Multiple Levels – Part 1


Part One – The Young Player

When coaching the very young player or a player very new to the game, one must gather all of your faculties, your organizational skills, and your nurturing instincts, in order to maintain a positive practice environment. There is nothing quite like seeing the grin on the face of a young player who has just completed a skill element and see the satisfaction of accomplishment beaming across their entire set of teeth.

These young players may lack physical strength, power and range but they are there to enjoy the game as they develop their coordination, gain a repertoire of technical moves, and confidence with a ball. They will quickly build some muscle memory from their very astute imitation and visual memory instincts. At this age they play for themselves and are very egocentric. As a coach, you give them some boundaries – cones, some supervision, do some demonstrations of moves or guide them to a 3D animation skill library. Coaching points should always be motivational and a boost to their effort. Encouragement drives them to develop quickly so that basic techniques are assembled in all the players so that introductory games and exercises bolsters their motor skills.

The introduction of small sided games 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 ensures that they are all getting huge numbers of touches and opportunities to dribble, control and pass the ball. This is a great time to gain Coaching knowledge that focuses on teaching techniques specific to the player’s position while moving from offense to defense to learn the game. When teaching and coaching at this age you must take into account all of the physical, physiological and physiologic aspects of each stage of childhood and adolescence. Remember a young person is not a small adult and one should always treat each individual appropriately.

There is a need to make a distinction between growth and development characteristics’ with a very positive and encouraging practice environment that nurtures all players and allows them to grow in the game while having fun and enjoyment. So the training session you are trying to produce goes a little like this:

  • Player with ball in a one on one duel
  • Focus on a repertoire of technical moves and confidence on the ball, coordination skills and technical moves using all the surfaces both feet, chest and thighs.
  • Introduce variations on simple exercises
  • Introduce dynamic movement, rhythm and ultimately getting up to full velocity
  • Have players get their heads up to develop creative offensive minded play and consistent efficacy of pass and movement
  • Increase speed of play on execution and making the correct choice from options in front of them
  • Training through progressive practice plans, exercises including drills, technical exercises and playing in small sided games to ensure as many touches as possible.
  • READ MORE

    COACHS CORNER: Parent Coach Seeking a Good Therapist!

    It doesn’t matter what age group I have coached, there inevitably comes a time when I need to seek a little “coaching therapy.” To me, this means consulting with my coaching peers and mentors to discuss the different triumphs and pitfalls I have encountered in a certain practice, at a game or throughout a season.

    It doesn’t matter that it is “just a recreational league” – kids emotions…parental expectations…player development…practice plans…the general energy it requires to try and give everyone a positive experience can, at times, leave a coach needing a friend to lean on! So don’t go it alone. Find your people that are in the know who you can celebrate the little victories with and who can give you the perspective you need to re-energize you for your next round. READ MORE

    From Player to Coach: Coaching in an Organized Fashion

    In the summer of 2017, I was still in college, finishing up my undergrad while also getting experience in my field. I was approached by a coaching director of a local club if I had any interest in coaching a U10 boys soccer team. Growing up, I was passionate and engaged with the game of soccer but never thought to coach the game. I accepted the position and could not wait to share my knowledge with the youth players. Right away, I found a few challenges when it came to the entire process. Like most coaches at the youth level, I was not certified or licensed at a high level, so I was pretty much working off of previous experience from my coaches in the past years. The season went pretty well because the kids had so much passion for the game and were excited, but I know this is not the case for a lot of teams. It’s one thing if you have a team who is motivated on their own, but when it comes to a team that needs a motivating coach, that’s where having a system in place would be extremely valuable.

    Now let’s jump about 8 months later. I was doing research for this club I had previously coached at regarding coaching education. I came across a platform called Moti
    Sports Inc. I started diving into this company to see exactly how they stood out compared to other programs. This company took the “See-It, Do-It” approach, which is extremely valuable in today’s visual age. A few things jumped out to me right away that would have made my coaching experience much more effective.

    Consistency

    Moti Sports allows coaches and clubs to be on the same page by creating 3D graphics centering around drills and skills that are accessible on your laptop, tablet, or mobile
    device. This would’ve helped my youth players because if a player was needing help with a specific skill, I would simply tell them to go home and watch that specific video
    on the Moti Sports app for extra guidance. I would still be able to teach them in person, but this would be an additional training tool for the kids to visually see how to do the skill. In addition, entire clubs would be able to teach their players the same way and have a more consistent coaching plan throughout the different age levels.

     

    Messaging Board

    The Moti Sports app also allows you to communicate with parents about any concerns they may have about the season. When I coached the U10 team, I was emailing parents regarding any updates or weather changes. This was ok, but people get so many emails daily that the email could have easily been lost in the clutter. If I had the Moti Sports messaging system, I would have been able to send a message to all the parents in a separate app, allowing the parents to easily have access to the message, creating a more consistent communication across the board.

    Spring and New Era of Coaching

    Spring and the Birth of a New Era in Coaching using Visual Technology – “Watching the Game”.

    Virtual experience is the new key to shortening and shaping the learning curve for Soccer Coaches and Players. Instead of watching unimaginable hours, even years of game footage, or live matches, a new option is available through mobile 3D animated content. Think of a Soccer Session in your shirt or hip pocket at all times via a phone or tablet.

    The Modern Game demands coaches and players to increase their understanding of the important ‘small elements’ of the game. These elements, like good technique and positioning are the glue that enables Speed of Play, Cooperative Input, Cohesive Interactions, and Synergies of Offense and Defense. A shared virtual learning experience can produce both individual player and team organizational speed and execution of tasks on the soccer field, even before taking the pitch. If that virtual learning is a Soccer Training Platform that has soccer ideas, concepts and theories melded into an intuitive, organized, curriculum, which is age and gender specific, it can be an instrumental aid for all participants in the Modern Game.

    Make better Soccer decisions! Place yourself in a position where you can make yourself and people around you more successful, improve your game understanding and competitive edge from Recreational to the highest level. Don’t be scared or timid about the ‘Birth of a New Era in Coaching – try using Virtual Technology and share with your Director of Coaching, your Board of Directors, your Team Coach, Players, and Parents. No one wants to be stagnant and everyone wants to have fun.

    Having a streamlined Soccer Training Platform that has real time collaboration and fast operational efficiency is available now with MOTI Sports! Welcome to a New Era in Coaching with Accelerated Soccer Education for both coaches and players.

    MOTI Welcomes You to Coaching the Game of Soccer

    Welcome to Coaching the Game of Soccer

    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.

    Encourage players to work on their own, doing practice routines at home in the back yard, garage or anywhere that can handle the wear and tear. This only accelerates the learning curve. There are really no shortcuts, nothing magical, just practice, practice, practice. However, having the MOTI 3D Technical’s in the player’s hands on a mobile device and being able to go frame by frame or watching it from any angle or perspective keeps them engaged for longer periods of perfect practice.

    Before starting any coaching session, always keep in mind your objectives by going over your Coaching Philosophy. Practice plans should be planned in detail prior to walking on the field. The MOTI plans give each coach wonderful content to be used in its entirety or as a template for adjusting content.

    All practice time should have as much activity and enjoyment as possible.

    Keep ALL players active and involved.

    Do not lecture.

    Put more time into viewing the activities so that clarity of the content is easier to demonstrate and more touches on the ball is achieved.

    Teach skills over all aspects of the game, find rewards for players who spend more time working on the Technical Skills at home. The MOTI Analytics’ allows you to monitor the viewing time of each player on your roster.

    Concentrate more time on individual skill development rather than tactics.

    Make coaching corrections calmly and precisely, having regard for the individual player.

    Treat all players as equal and coach the talented and less talented player with the same enthusiasm.

    Do not over-coach from the side-line during games.

    Make your players’ involvement a positive athletic experience.

    The aim of the player is always to have fun and as much enjoyment as humanly possible. The aim of the coach should be to work within their player’s capabilities and create an environment of positive practice time to develop more skillful soccer players.

    Set your practices for small areas and small sided games and activities.
    The full game of 11 v 11 is far too complex a format for the young players to learn in.

    Far too much information is available and the young player can be mesmerized by this overload of game impulses. In a small area with fewer numbers of players, coaches are able to manipulate the practice period to better absorb soccer information. This also helps ensure more success in bringing to the player’s attention relevant coaching points for team and individual improvement. The player’s involvement in this format is increased, giving the player many more touches of the ball and exposure to the appropriate game situation.

    Being able to look at the MOTI Practice plans and review it before and after the practice in slow motion or even frame by frame gives even more understanding of the workings of the session and the overall game. Remember that players have different speeds of learning and the MOTI App gives flexibility in the learning curve.

    Activity needs to be foremost in the practice session. It can be two fold in that because of high demand for fields space, associations and clubs generally have two practice sessions per week usually of one hour each. This practice time must be used to the optimum. This means the session must be well planned and as realistic as possible. Your players must be totally active throughout the session. Using the MOTI App and practice sessions on their mobile devices before practice prepares them and cuts down and in some instances removes the set up and explanation time.

    Practice sessions should have a flow pattern. Start off with a related warm up to your session, with progressions, that transition into a realistic small game and full game situation by the conclusion. Your players will develop faster when they have reference points at the beginning of the session, having the MOTI App to see, hear and do the session prior to practice helps them through the progressions of the session as smoothly as possible. As soon as you sit your players down and start “Talking” soccer to them, 50% or more will turn off or mentally wander away from the tasks on hand and the session.
    Starting a session and playing environment needs you to outline and define the space and boundary to be used this is another advantage of seeing the 3D animations on the MOTI App (i.e., cones and existing field markings can be incorporated) .

    Outline and define the objectives and goals of the session to the players, (i.e, defending, attacking, passing and shooting techniques) Select teams and alignments quickly (use vests and bibs to distinguish opponents or groups).
    If you have not used the MOTI App to give your players a visual insight into the session, you must do a quick demonstration, and give a few key points verbally. Send your players off to practice quickly. The practice will help them perfect their skills – listening does not!

    Aim to change the environment you have set so your practice can progress to a realistic game situation ( i.e., with goals for both teams’ offense and defense, perhaps shots on goal for forwards, counting the number of passes for defenders)

    MOTI cannot emphasize enough that practice has to be enjoyable, if the player comes away from practice with the thought of sit-ups, push-ups and running laps, or what might be regarded as punishment, he or she will be less likely to return next time.

    Don’t be the coach that turns kids away from the game – using tools like the MOTI App make the practice fun!