Growing up in Elgin Illinois, I lived at the Elgin Sports Complex. I would hop on my bike and ride as fast as I could so I could to play a pickup game, watch a game, or do some training soccer myself. Soccer was and is my addiction! Fast forward to today and I wonder to myself what made me love the game as much as I do now? Where did it come from? Simple answer, my parents for signing me up in the first place. But no, it was way deeper than that. It was the energy that surrounded me which started from my coach. Coach Kari had this unique way of getting us fired up whether it was for games or practices. She created the atmosphere to fall in love with this beautiful game.
During soccer season coaches and players are going non-stop to practices, clinics, training, and games. Hours of traveling, sitting at practices or games, added laundry, meals on the go, and missed weekly chores are all part of the normal chaos that is part of the soccer season. All too often we take for granted the support we receive at home. Whether it is a parent driving us to practice/game, shopping for shoes, or a spouse that is taking on extra duties around the house so you can focus on coaching or playing, now we need to recognize our base of support and thank them!
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!