Learn more about Distance Learning with MOTI Virtual and the MOTI Soccer app for Teachers.
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)
I was so fortunate to be coached by some pretty established and notable coaches during my 26 years of affiliation as a Player and Head Coach in the Professional Game these coaches rose to the top ranks of coaching and became National Team Managers and Coaches. Here are some of the names, their backgrounds and their status within the Soccer World as I learned from their tutorage. I played in three countries England, Canada and the United States of America.
I represented England in the 1968 Junior World Cup in Lyon France. The coach was Wilf McGuiness, a Manchester United staff coach who worked extensively with the English Football Association. He was possibly the youngest coach I ever had, and his playing career was cut short by an injury. The next National Team Coach I rubbed shoulders with was Don Howe when he was named coach/manager of West Bromwich Albion in 1971 thru 1975. Don coached the England National Team under three different managers in 1981 with Ron Greenwood then Bobby Robson and was an assistant under Terry Venables from January 1994 thru 1996.
The MOTI Mobile App was designed to present a session/practice/lesson plan to the user visually and be easy to use and understand.
When you log into the MOTI Mobile App you are presented with the
- Announcement Board
This contains simple general information the Coach wants the team (players, parents and other coaches) to read immediately. It may contain simple information, such as reminders about clothing, equipment or location of practice, feedback about the previous contest, birthday wishes for a player, and alike.
- Practice Plan (Currently Scheduled)
The heart of the system, this one item enables coaches to share with everyone what is expected to be accomplished at the next practice (session/lesson).
- 3D Skills is the technique/foot skill to be studied and practiced. The beauty of this is allowing players and parents to practice these at home. With a single touch, the animation with a professionally narrated audio appears. A simple touch of the “>” Play button and the animation comes to life. Players, parents, and coaches use fingertip controls of the screen to view the animation from any perspective. Here is a brief video showing the controls. Touch here to view a brief video on controls of the Skills Player.
Some reflection on ‘learning to play the game’ and ‘becoming a player’.
Learning the Game
If we could provide only high level coaches to the younger age groups the development game would be literally turned on its head. So many more players would develop their appropriate skills sets providing them the foundation to go forward and play at the highest of levels. I have seen and been involved in camps where players are coached like an assembly line plant, good staff coaches give expert instruction for a week. The players respond well in the conveyer belt stations where skills are demonstrated, broken down and coaching points are attached for clarity and comprehension. Players do get a respectable skill set installed in that environment, but it is quickly dissolved once the camp is complete and that classroom is removed, only a few, a very few retain the required knowledge as their connection to the coach resource is gone.
One of my favorite mantras is ‘Practice makes Permanent’ NOT ‘Perfect’. These initial practices that young players are involved with can often burden them to do remedial sessions to correct or erase their exposure and absorption of counterproductive incorrect soccer instruction.
Young players need much time to grasp the complexities of ball control and mastery mainly because they tend to take five steps forward and three backward or vice versa which completely throws development for a loop! In the early stages of development players find themselves with invariably inexperienced volunteer parent coaches. While these coaches are the lifeblood of soccer growth in the USA these recreational coaches are cajoled into coaching with the threat that if a coach does not come forward in the next few days the Club will have to disband this team. These coaches get one hour of instruction at the start of the season and thrown into the volunteer soccer cauldron. While they do a great job of giving players a positive experience with high fives and postgame treats they invariably know little or nothing about the technical needs and tactical spectrum of the full game.
Learning to play requires correct learning environments that nurture a players love, respect and comprehension of the makeup of the game. The informative years of ‘learning to play the game’ need the crucial four pillars of the game. 1) All ball control and ball mastery. 2) All ball striking techniques. 3) All physical attributes. 4) All aspects of mental fortitude, these make up my pillars of the complete player. Mental preparedness for every element of a practice session and ultimately a season should be one of the keys for individuals, the squad and the coaching staff.
Learning to play the game entails producing good habits and layers of self-discipline so players can survive at the next level, age or standard of play.
In the early stages of the game young players are just looking for fun, comradery, group acceptance. As the skill sets get developed other focus centers arise. Players look for satisfaction from performance and results. The player starts to take the game seriously and the layers of game understanding start to support the next level of play. When players start to take practice and the game to heart and devote themselves to it, the foundation becomes sturdier and stable.
Becoming a Player
In small sided games players can get a concentrated dose of experiences that prepares them for success and failure, it allows young players to educate themselves on how to win and also losses. There are often fine lines of difference between the two, so getting an education on wins and loses prepares and rounds out players for the trials and tribulations of later years of soccer experiences.
At this stage they add more disciplines like self-reflection on performance, they start to understand the difference of always giving perfect performance and not athletic effort during a game. The game revolves around what a group of players can do at the level they encounter and play at it at any given time in the season. Soccer players need to live with the adage ‘Results reflection what you can do with what you know – it has no interest in how you learned it or experience it!’ You have to play in the present and produce your best play, think that you are only as good as your last game, your last pass, your last run and your last decision.
Learning to win is a player characteristic, almost a skill, which comes from competitive practice. Players who can be placed on a small sided team game and learn how to compete and find a way to win are the game changers that rise to the top. Player character is developed in these small sided games where the score does matter. Players need to be accountable and have the ‘metal’, ‘the backbone’, ‘the desire’ to get the job done, always maintaining that winning mentality. The better players are mentally prepared for every event that transpires in any game or in any session. The most successful players I encounter have always been the hardest workers the ones who run the extra yard, the hustling player. ‘Work Rate’ is an element that any player can develop it is not in ‘Genes’ it is not a God given talent it is a mindset. A developed talent from sheer self-will and effort. Simply put if you want to be lucky, work hard with your skill set from an early age, continue to refine your ball control and ball mastery it is the ultimate foundation for any ‘Player’ always maintain your focus.
For the recreational coach and parent Learn the Game Together
I was recently in my friend’s backyard and the conversation turned to her 8-year old daughter’s blossoming love of soccer. Before I knew it, I was up and teaching her “The Maradona,” just for fun. My friend and her older daughter soon joined us. Later, I received a text informing me that the three of them had spent a significant portion of their evening continuing to try the move together and that her youngest couldn’t wait to show dad “The =&0=&” (her version of this famous turn).
Of course, the MOTI 3D skills are great for the players, but this got me thinking about how great of a tool it is to connect parents and their kids with each other and to the game. The players get extra practice, the parents gain an appreciation for how difficult some of the skills can be to perform and additionally, the child feels the benefit of one-on-one attention and investment in the relationship.
So, why not use the technology to learn the game together? Take turns giving each other scores for executing the skill or video record one another and compare your moves to the MOTI animation. Regardless of how you decide to “strike a pose” and make it your own, remember to: =&1=&
Decisions, decisions, decisions !!! That is the name of the game in soccer
administration. US Soccer is making decisions on who the next President is
going to be to catapult and develop the game forward at all levels. That
person will make a decision on who the next Men’s National Team coach will
MLS just made the decision to finally allow David Beckham’s franchise to
happen in Miami. In the Youth Club level new boards of directors are
settling into new positions and roles making decisions, while Coaching
Directors are busy making decisions on team selection, league placement,
and team coaching assignments.
Decisions made now need to be calculated and well informed as they affect
the future of the game. The next generation of soccer players are the ‘Gen
Z’ these are kids growing up learning Math and Science, Reading and Writing
in the ‘Virtual World’ on Smart Pads and Mobile devices that have more
power, memory and applications than the first Moon Shot computers all those years ago.
Perhaps the decisions made at the Club level need to reflect how the
development of players can be influenced by technology. Today, learning Soccer Skills and Tactics can be placed in every soccer players hands, visually
engaging them with the correct moves and instruction. If schools can do this, why wouldn’t Clubs use this format to engage players in Soccer, the Sport they are excited about.
Players in this generation have the technical tools and ability to be
wizards of game situations, understanding progressions, and how play is
developed. Today’s players, because of their acute capacity for visual
perceptions of ‘Soccer’ get 3D Animation into their hands and help create
the next Generation of Messi’s, Renaldo’s, Pele’s and Best’s.
That “Decision” is in your hands.