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Posts: 425
Reply with quote  #1 
Why can't we in the USA/Canada produce creative players who can fake the shorts off of a defender? You know; the Messi's, Neymar's, Iniesta's, who can trip not 1 ,2, 3, or 4 defenders up.

Why do most of us coaches tell our players to keep it simple - Quit the fancy stuff -  Play one or two touch soccer - or Pull it back/reset instead of taking a defender on and beat them 1v1?  

What use is a player who practices his moves, fakes & feints religiously (on his/her own time), when the coach then yells at them for trying to pull it off in a game?

Why does USA/Canada have a soccer culture from the top down?  Do we build houses from the roof down to the foundation?  

Why do our better coaches (the ones who can identify proper technique and correct bad technique) not work with two or three U8,9,10 player teams instead of coaching the U17-U19 players, who are practically set in their ways? 

Why do we leave the U8, U9, U10 players to the volunteer parents?

These are the things that make me go hmmm.

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Posts: 464
Reply with quote  #2 
Because coaches have very little incentive to develop players, all they focus on is winning so they can make that pay check.  

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Posts: 7,884
Reply with quote  #3 
The tings is, we do produce those players.  It's on the women's side, but they are there.
"When you start, you may have to move tons of dirt to find a gold nugget .... but when you start mining for gold, you overlook the dirt."
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Posts: 6,433
Reply with quote  #4 
We do produce them. For many reasons they do not thrive after U17, the preferences of college coaches being a principal reason (in part those preferences are caused by NCAA rules). That continues to change for the better, albeit slowly. Still we are doing better than a decade ago.
Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

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"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."

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Posts: 2,918
Reply with quote  #5 
I have to say, I differ in what I coach from many good, experienced coaches I know. I emphasize the dribble and almost never play 1- or 2-touch in training. You see and hear a lot of pass-and-move, fewer touches, get-it-off-your-foot coaching instruction. That's nice, but won't build the player who's creative on the ball.

That doesn't mean encouraging ball hogs or over-dribbling. There are times to play one touch or release the ball quickly. But until you have that foundation of ball control--first touch, the subtle fake, movement into space--the passing game is that much harder. Creative players use that control not only to beat opponents but to create or move into space where more passing or shooting options open up.

Someone on this board, I forget who, said they use "two touches or three with a fake". I like that sort of attitude to encourage players to be more creative. I will use a "2-second" restriction rather than an absolute number of touches.

And I agree that we need to identify good technical coaches who can work with the younger ones, U8-U12, to help make this happen, rather than put all the best coaches with the oldest teams.

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Posts: 14,649
Reply with quote  #6 

Just take a look at George Best as a teenager.
The streets provide the best technical training ground for a skinny kid.

The USA & Canada have a fixation on physique, so the bigger the player the more 'intimidating'
That is just an excuse for coaches who havent the time or incentive to improve technique
Its a kind of 'cheating' coaching wise, but noone will admit it because the $ rules - it doesnt put money on the table.

Up until they are around 11/12, the WHOLE emphasis should be on FIRST TOUCH CONTROL
Its been summed up under the 4 R's of Soccer :-
R1 - RECEIVING                      (controlling the ball with all surfaces - static or while moving towards or away)
R2 - RELEASING                      (playing the ball on - pass or strike)
R3 - RUNNING WITH THE BALL (controlling the ball while moving/dribbling)
R4 - RETAINING                      (keeping possession as an individual or within a group/team)

All technical drills / functions / SSGs should be coached in that order, focusing on R1 first then R2, R3 then R4


Posts: 3,251
Reply with quote  #7 
Like Benji, it's "take two (or more)" for me, with some specific exceptions (e.g. some shots, some clearances, at the "wall" in a give-and-go).

Will sometimes use a "5 touches or more" challenge as a means to force players to deal with individual defensive pressure.

A lot of coaches will use one touch play to get kids to play faster.  But players with a great first touch can play nearly as fast and will be much more effective.

"One-touch" training is useful in developing vision and the ability to "think ahead."  But only once the players have the requisite ball control skills.

Favorite story:  A U11g game involving the 5th level team in a large club.  The coach on the sideline repeatedly urging "one touch, one touch," the parents on the other sideline taking up the mantra.  It was a perfectly appropriate response to a group of players whose skill level gave them little chance of getting a second. 

"Winning is important. The lessons learned by winning and losing in sports last a lifetime. However, the goal of every youth coach should be to help young soccer players understand and enjoy the process of participation and to teach the skill necessary to succeed. When the pressure to win begins too early, the passion and the love for the game can be lost." - Jay Martin, editor, NSCAA Soccer Journal

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Posts: 14,649
Reply with quote  #8 

One of the BEST challenges that I've found during SSGs is:

* On possession, complete 3 One-Touch Passes before going for goal.

Now this totally eliminates the outdated and banal "One Touch only" and "Two Touch only" conditioned play where you have the stupidity of a player taking a touch and then using their ass to shield the ball for a teammate to get a touch.

The 3 one touch challenge means that if a team completes 2 one touch passes but then the second receiver takes an extra touch, the team still keeps the ball but they now have to complete 3 one touch passes again.

What you SEE in your team will be:
* Increased pace of play
* Increased movement of support players
* Continuity of play (no stopping around trying to shield the ball)
* Increased flow of play

I've also added certain other challenges when needed:
* Increased the length of the third 'one touch' to develop Counter Attack play
* The third one touch to be a shot/strike
* Three one touch passes in own half then dribble in Attacking Half

I dare you coaches to try it - it WILL astonish you!


Posts: 3,251
Reply with quote  #9 
Very interesting idea, Kev.

Your could also use it as bonus point challenge in any sort of possession activity.  So often teams play at pretty much a single pace.  Injecting a three one-touch burst mixes things up a bit.

"Winning is important. The lessons learned by winning and losing in sports last a lifetime. However, the goal of every youth coach should be to help young soccer players understand and enjoy the process of participation and to teach the skill necessary to succeed. When the pressure to win begins too early, the passion and the love for the game can be lost." - Jay Martin, editor, NSCAA Soccer Journal

Posts: 2,836
Reply with quote  #10 
Not sure about Canada, but here in the US I believe there remains a failure to recognize soccer as a player driven game.  Most sports in the US and certainly pointy ball, basketball and baseball are coach driven sports.  In pointy ball the coaches call formations / plays / timeouts.  In basketball the coaches call out sets and defenses, out of bounds, ATO's and timeouts.  In baseball (softball) I have seen every pitch called from the dugout and batters are told to bunt, take or swing.

The US sports culture being coach driven (coaches making as many decisions as possible) seeps into the player driven sport of soccer where we have no time outs and communicating directly to players on the pitch is complicated by a playing area of 120 x 70 yards. We have all heard the "joy stick" soccer coach screaming instructions from the technical area - to little or no avail. Often times even to the detriment of the team effort.  One of the most neglected aspects of training is teaching proper decision making AND providing opportunities to make decisions without repercussion from the coach. 

Whatever happened to.... Nah, don't want to go there.
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