Articles Links Research & Papers on player development


Articles Links Research & Papers on player development

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Arthur
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An interesting article in The Guardian and surprising that school and sports had not been intergrated.

I know that in Melbourne two Secondary Colleges are designated "Sports Colleges" Maribynong and Rowville Secondary Schools run Sports Programs and strong football ones.

Stuart Munro of Rangers, Northern Spirit fame and coached Carlton, South Melbourne and VPL Clubs as well as being a Coerver Coach, leads the coaching at Rowville.

http://web.rowvillesc.vic.edu.au/index.asp?s=3&t=4


http://www.maribsc.vic.edu.au/MC/MSS/Home.html

Makes for an interesting conversation especially as A-League Teams may be expected to run their own junior development programs. Is it the right way to go?

As a comparison AFL has a strong presence in private schools, the PS offer scholarships to the best young talents as well as offering strong AFL coaching programs within their schools with significant resources available in coaching and infrastructure. Something our game is unable to offer at the moment.


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How can England win the World Cup? They could start by asking WatfordBy merging education with training sessions Watford's youth academy has become the envy of clubs across Europe

Paul Doyle The Guardian, Saturday 17 July 2010

The visitors from Ajax's celebrated youth development programme were adamant. "If you tried to copy us, you've got it wrong," they told Nick Cox, the co-ordinator of Watford's academy. Then came the pay-off. "You've managed to get even more coaching time with the kids than we have. Well done!"

In the debate as to how England can produce more, and better, footballers – an issue raised yet again after the feats of Germany and Spain at the World Cup – Watford are providing a persuasive answer. Their academy for 11- to 16-year-olds at Harefield, just off the M25, has attracted admirers from as far afield as Valencia as well as a slew of Premier League clubs.

Since the Premier League began introducing academies 12 years ago, the problem clubs have most consistently complained about is how little time they can spend with young players. Watford used to have similar gripes. Cox says: "The kids would be tired after a day in school, then dash home, maybe grab some fast food on the way, then travel to the academy to do an hour of training, then travel back again and then maybe stay up late to do their homework. They may not have been eating right, probably weren't getting as much rest as they should have and, on top of that, weren't playing as much football as children in European countries with different education systems."

Proponents of youth development invoke the so-called 10,000-hour rule, according to which people who achieve excellence in any sphere only do so after about 10,000 hours of practice. Ged Roddy, the Premier League's director of youth, says: "Academy players will need up to 20 hours a week of contact time with their coaches across the secondary school years if they are to have any chance of meeting this level of contact."

No Premier League club is near that target even though most go to considerable efforts to strike deals with schools over the release of players. Sunderland, for example, employ Brian Buddle, a former head teacher, to oversee maths and English tuition for teenagers when they are given a day off school to train and have been awarded Grade 1 approval by Ofsted.

Watford have gone even further. Cox says: "Like all clubs we wanted to increase the contact time with the kids but we decided to go about it in the opposite way to most: not to get them out of school, but to put them into one."

Three years ago, they offered 34 young players places in the local secondary school in Harefield, which, driven by the former Olympic figure skater Haig Oundjian, a governor at the school and at the time a director of Watford, was being reinvented as a comprehensive academy with a focus on sport. So unlike Dutch clubs or residential programmes for young footballers such as France's acclaimed Clairefontaine model, Watford have integrated their academy players into a mainstream school, securing more time with their charges while saving on cost and preserving a healthy sense of normality among aspiring footballers.

Cox says: "We pick the children up at around 7am and they then do all the normal subjects but also have scheduled coaching throughout the day – at times when they are fresh – then we drop them home at 7pm. We get to do about 15 hours of football with them a week, up to three times more than most other clubs in this country.

"And not only do kids not have to sacrifice their education, we find that they actually perform better in the classroom as well as on the pitch because the environment is more stimulating and they are more driven in everything – they know if they are not doing their best in the classroom we can take away the privilege of training. We have 50 kids here now – before, they might have been in 50 different schools and we would have had no idea what they were doing for 95% of their time. Here we can take more responsibility for their development, both as players and as people."

The Premier League approves. Roddy says: "The development of academies and the deregulation of schools may provide some interesting opportunities for football to link with the education system. This could provide a more flexible environment in which to negotiate the much-needed access to coaching for the potential elites that frequent our academies."

Cross-training is another development buzzword. Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City have started to put this into practice in a limited sense – by training their 10- to 14-year-olds together, exposing the children to a wider range of playing and coaching talent.

Again Watford go further. The scholars at Harefield also include gifted young gymnasts, dancers, cricketers and even a jockey and an ice hockey player, and Watford take advantage. Limbering up every day with the ballet teacher has proved an enlightening experience. "We were a bit sceptical at first but it has really helped our strength and flexibility," says the 15-year-old Richard Mensah. "You notice it most when you stretch for the ball – you can stretch farther without feeling any strain."

Already Watford are reaping the fruit. They reached the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup – the national tournament for Under-18s – in each of the past two seasons. "Last season we beat Liverpool at Anfield before losing to Chelsea," Cox says. "That was a massive marker for us because our players all grew up on average 12 miles from Vicarage Road whereas many of the Premier League clubs start bringing in players from all over Europe once you reach over-16 level, so it's been a great indicator of the progress we've been making." On the final day of last season, the 17-year-old Gavin Massey laid down another marker when he became the first Harefield graduate to make his debut for the senior side, appearing as a substitute against Coventry City. He has

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I like this article as it reminds me of the talent our game in Australia misses out on.

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The Myth of Prodigy and Why it MattersBy Eric Wargo, Observer Staff Writer

Judging from his boyish appearance and his voracious curiosity, it’s easy to imagine Malcolm Gladwell as some sort of child prodigy. And he was. But not the way you imagined.

As a teenager growing up in rural Ontario, the bestselling author of Blink and The Tipping Point was a champion runner, the number-one Canadian runner of his age. He was encouraged to dream of Olympic gold, and indeed was flown to special training camps with the other elite runners of his generation — on the assumption that creating future world-class athletes meant recognizing and nurturing youthful talent.

Precocity was the subject of Gladwell’s “Bring the Family Address” at this year’s APS Convention, and the account of his own early athletic success served as a springboard. “I was a running prodigy,” he said bluntly. But — and this “but” sounded the theme of his talk to the rapt audience filling the Marquis Marriott’s Broadway Ballroom — being a prodigy didn’t forecast future success in running. After losing a major race at age 15, then enduring other setbacks and loss of interest, Gladwell said, he gave up running for a few years. Taking it up again in college — with the same dedication as before — he faced a disappointing truth: “I realized I wasn’t one of the best in the country … I was simply okay.”

The fall from childhood greatness to a middling state of “simply okay” is, Gladwell suggested, a recurring theme when the cherished notion of precocity is subjected to real scrutiny.

“I think we take it as an article of faith in our society that great ability in any given field is invariably manifested early on, that to be precocious at something is important because it’s a predictor of future success,” Gladwell said. “But is that really true? And what is the evidence for it? And what exactly is the meaning and value of mastering a particular skill very early on in your life?”

There are two ways of answering these questions. One is simply to track the achievements of precocious kids. Gladwell cited a mid-1980s study (Genius Revisited) of adults who had attended New York City’s prestigious Hunter College Elementary School, which only admits children with an IQ of 155 or above. Hunter College was founded in the 1920s to be a training ground for the country’s future intellectual elite. Yet the fate of its child-geniuses was, well, “simply okay.” Thirty years down the road, the Hunter alums in the study were all doing pretty well, were reasonably well adjusted and happy, and most had good jobs and many had graduate degrees. But Gladwell was struck by what he called the “disappointed tone of the book”: None of the Hunter alums were superstars or Nobel- or Pulitzer-prize winners; there were no people who were nationally known in their fields. “These were genius kids but they were not genius adults.”

A similar pattern emerged when Gladwell examined his own cohort of elite teen runners in Ontario. Of the 15 nationally ranked runners in his age class at age 13 or 14, only one of that group had been a top runner in his running prime, at age 24. Indeed, the number-one miler at age 24 was someone Gladwell had known as one of the poorer runners when they were young — Doug Consiglio, a “gawky kid” of whom all the other kids asked “Why does he even bother?”

Precociousness is a slipperier subject than we ordinarily think, Gladwell said. And the benefits of earlier mastery are overstated. “There are surprising numbers of people who either start good and go bad or start bad and end up good.”

Gifted Learning vs. Gifted Doing

The other way to look at precocity is of course to work backward — to look at adult geniuses and see what they were like as kids. A number of studies have taken this approach, Gladwell said, and they find a similar pattern. A study of 200 highly accomplished adults found that just 34 percent had been considered in any way precocious as children. He also read a long list of historical geniuses who had been notably undistinguished as children — a list including Copernicus, Rembrandt, Bach, Newton, Beethoven, Kant, and Leonardo Da Vinci (“that famous code-maker”). “None of [them] would have made it into Hunter College,” Gladwell observed.

We think of precociousness as an early form of adult achievement, and, according to Gladwell, that concept is much of the problem. “What a gifted child is, in many ways, is a gifted learner. And what a gifted adult is, is a gifted doer. And those are quite separate domains of achievement.”

To be a prodigy in music, for example, is to be a mimic, to reproduce what you hear from grown-up musicians. Yet only rarely, according to Gladwell, do child musical prodigies manage to make the necessary transition from mimicry to creating a style of their own. The “prodigy midlife crisis,” as it has been called, proves fatal to all but a handful would-be Mozarts. “Precociousness, in other words, is not necessarily or always a prelude to adult achievement. Sometimes it’s just its own little discrete state.”

Early acquisition of skills — which is often what we mean by precocity — may thus be a misleading indicator of later success, said Gladwell. “Sometimes we call a child precocious because they acquire a certain skill quickly, but that skill turns out to be something where speed of acquisition is not at all important. … We don’t say that someone who learned to walk at four months is a better walker than the rest of us. It’s not really a meaningful category.”

Reading may be like walking in this respect. Gladwell cited one study comparing French-speaking Swiss children, who are taught to read early, with German-speaking Swiss children, who are taught to read later but show far fewer learning problems than their French-speaking counterparts; he also mentioned other research finding little if any correlation between early reading and ease or love of reading at later ages.

When we call a child “precocious,” Gladwell said, “we have a very sloppy definition of what we mean. Generally what we mean is that a person has an unusual level of intellectual ability for their age.” But adult success has to do with a lot more than that. “In our obsession with precociousness we are overstating the importance of being smart.” In this regard, Gladwell noted research by Carol Dweck and Martin Seligman indicating that different dimensions such as explanatory styles and attitudes and approaches to learning may have as much to do with learning ability as does innate intelligence. And when it comes to musicians, the strongest predictor of ability is the same mundane thing that gets you to Carnegie Hall: “Really what we mean … when we say that someone is ‘naturally gifted’ is that they practice a lot, that they want to practice a lot, that they like to practice a lot.”

So what about the ur-child-prodigy, Mozart? Famously, Mozart started to compose music at age four; by six, he is supposed to have traveled around Europe giving special performances with his father, Leopold. “He is of course the great poster child for precociousness,” Gladwell said. “More Upper West Side adults have pointed to Mozart, I’m quite sure, as a justification for sending their kids to excruciating early music programs, than almost any other historical figure.”

Yet Gladwell deftly debunked the Mozart myth. “First of all, the music he composes at four isn’t any good,” he stated bluntly. “They’re basically arrangements of works by other composers. And also, rather suspiciously, they’re written down by his father. … And Leopold, it must be clear, is the 18th-century equivalent of a little league father.” Indeed Wolfgang’s storied performing precocity was exaggerated somewhat by his father’s probable lying about his age. (“Mozart was the Danny Almonte of his time,” Gladwell quipped, referring to the Bronx little league pitcher whose perfect game in 2001 was thrown out of the record books when it was revealed that he was 14, not 12, and thus too old for little league.)

But most importantly, the young Mozart’s prowess can be chalked up to practice, practice, practice. Compelled to practice three hours a day from age three on, by age six the young Wolfgang had logged an astonishing 3,500 hours — “three times more than anybody else in his peer group. No wonder they thought he was a genius.” So Mozart’s famous precociousness as a musician was not innate musical ability but rather his ability to work hard, and circumstances (i.e., his father) that pushed him to do so.

“That is a very different definition of precociousness than I think the one that we generally deal with.”

A better poster child for what precociousness really entails, Gladwell hinted, may thus be the famous intellectual late-bloomer, Einstein. Gladwell cited a biographer’s description of the future physicist, who displayed no remarkable native intelligence as a child but whose success seems to have derived from certain habits and personality traits — curiosity, doggedness, determinedness — that are the less glamorous but perhaps more essential components of genius.

Precocious is Pernicious

Our romanticized view of precociousness matters. When certain kids are singled out as gifted or talented, Gladwell suggested, it creates an environment that may be subtly discouraging to those who are just average. “In singling out people like me at age 13 for special treatment, we discouraged other kids from ever taking up running at all. And we will never know how many kids who might have been great milers had they been encouraged and not discouraged from joining running, might have ended up as being very successful 10 years down the road.”

Although Gladwell acknowledged the wisdom of wanting to provide learning environments suited to different paces of achievement, he suggested that “that very worthy goal is overwhelmed by … our irresistible desire to look at precociousness as a prediction.”

“We thought that Doug Consiglio was a runner without talent,” he said, returning to his earlier example. “But what if he just didn’t take running seriously until he was 16 or 17? What if he suddenly found a coach who inspired him?” Predictions from childhood about adult performance can only be made based on relatively fixed traits, he said. “Unfortunately … many of the things that really matter in predicting adult success are not fixed at all. And once you begin to concede the importance of these kinds of non-intellectual, highly variable traits, you have to give up your love of precociousness.”

Gladwell concluded his talk with a story he said his brother, an elementary school principal, likes to tell — “the story of two buildings. One is built ahead of schedule, and one is being built in New York City and comes in two years late and several million dollars over budget. Does anyone really care, 10 years down the road, which building was built early and which building was built late? … But somehow I think when it comes to children we feel the other way, that we get obsessed with schedules, and not with buildings. I think that’s a shame. … If you want to know whether a 13-year-old runner will be a good runner when they’re 23, you should wait until they’re 23.”

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Another favourite of mine.

To many of our players, young and old, play safe, economical football when we need match winners.


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April 20, 2007
Do we want Robinhos or Robots?
How over-coaching and the emphasis on winning stifle young American talent.

By Mike Woitalla, Soccer America Magazine

The little boy dribbled and kept dribbling. He had taken the ball away from the midfield pack and zoomed toward his own goal. This surprised the other children and allowed him to keep the ball to himself for much longer than any player had managed during this U-8 game.

Having put some 15 yards between himself and the other players, he slowed down and seemed to marvel at all the territory he now had to himself. He started making a wide U-turn and flashed a big smile.

He moved down the sideline and back into the other team's half, then put his foot on the ball and stopped. When a couple of his little opponents approached, he accelerated toward their goal and took a shot that nearly scored.

What creativity, improvisation and savvy! And in his smile was the joy of soccer.

So how did his coach react?

First with red-faced screams of ''You're going the wrong way! You're going the wrong way!'' Then furious shouts of ''Pass it! Pass it!'' -- a chant that several parents took up -- followed by head-shaking in frustration.

Of course, the coach was shouting instructions to all his players throughout the game. That's the norm in youth soccer, in which misguided coaches -- and the other adults on the sideline -- believe they're helping children become better soccer players by telling them where to run and when to pass.

But what really irked the coach about the clever boy's maneuver was it was risky. A misstep and he could have provided a scoring chance for the other team.

And, absurd as it is, there are adults -- lots and lots of them -- who place great importance on whether their 7-year-olds beat another team of youngsters.

Youth coaches who want to rack up wins discourage their players from taking risks, such as dribbling the ball out of the back, by ordering them to boot it up-field or out of bounds. ''Clear it!'' they shout.

''The emphasis on winning is a detriment to young players because it prevents us from developing technically proficient players,'' says U.S. U-17 national team coach John Hackworth. ''And we're not giving them the ability to make decisions. You can't find a youth soccer game where the coaches aren't screaming the whole time, telling kids what they should do and how they should do it.''

If players aren't allowed to make mistakes and take chances when they're exploring the sport -- if they're constantly being told what to do -- how can we expect them to develop the soccer instincts they'll need to make the split-second decisions that are so much a part of the game?

''They hear 'Clear it ... Get rid of it ... Pass it ... Kick it up line' so often that by the time they're 13 or 14, when they get the ball and they don't hear the instructions, they don't know what to do,'' says Tab Ramos, the great U.S. midfielder who is now a New Jersey youth coach.

Telling young players what to do with the ball, bossing them around to stay in certain positions on the field and taking strategic advantage of the bigger, stronger kids are ways of increasing a team's chances of winning.
But at what cost?

''If you want your 8-year-olds to win tomorrow, you're going to address that group differently than if you say, 'I want my 8-year-old to win when he's 18 years old,''' says Bob Jenkins, U.S. Soccer's Director of Coaching Education.

It's not just that the coaches are obsessed with winning -- there are the parents. A coach of a U-9 team told me that if his team compiled a 12-1 win-loss record, his parents would want to move their children to the team that went 13-0.

Ramos encourages his younger players, the 9- and 10-year-olds, not to kick the ball out of bounds when they're under pressure in their own half.

''We want him to find a way out of it,'' Ramos says. ''Half the time, he's not going to come out of it and very often he's going make a mistake that's going to cost a goal. But this is when players should be allowed to take the risk so they develop their skills.''

Too few coaches are willing to provide such learning experiences because they can lead to losses.
''A lot of parents are living through their children,'' Ramos says, ''and for them it becomes a matter of them beating the other coach because that's the guy who beat them three years ago when their older child played.''
Hackworth, who doesn't believe in assigning positions to players under age 10, proposes eliminating the ''ultra-competitive premier flight'' until at least U-12. And even then coaches should still resist becoming results oriented.

''We want competition,'' he says. ''They'll always be competition and it's not bad. The bad part is the emphasis on winning.''

That emphasis often results in coaches putting the physically advanced kids in particular spots. For example, a big guy in back who's instructed to boot the ball to the speedy guy up front. This denies smaller players opportunities to play significant roles while bigger players can rely on their athleticism instead of developing their skills.

Aime Jacquet, who coached France to the 1998 World Cup title and has also been in charge of France's renowned youth development program, said he investigates youth teams with winning records and if he discovers they won by relying on big players, he fires them.

If a coach isn't obsessed with results, he's more likely, when they're at the age level in which assigning positions is appropriate, to expose players to different roles. Keeping a player in the same position all the time won't help him adjust to new challenges when he moves to higher levels.

''Worrying too much about winning and losing gets in the way of development,'' says Manfred Schellscheidt, head of U.S. Soccer's U-14 program. ''There are always shortcuts that you can find to win the next game. That doesn't necessarily mean you'll be winning five, six years from now.

''The kids all try to win anyhow, so I don't think we need to add to this.

No kid ever steps on the field and says, 'Today I'm going to lose.' They're naturally competitive. We should be concerned about the players' performance, not the final score.''

Coaching soccer really isn't that complicated. When children first become involved in organized soccer, the coach's job is simply to create an environment that gives the children a chance to enjoy the sport. It's such a wonderful sport that setting up goals and letting them play usually does the trick.

It should also be an environment that allows them to be creative, to express themselves and to bring their own personalities to the sport.

No doubt, the USA has produced legions of good players. But how many great players have come out of our youth ranks?

How many excellent American dribblers are there? How many American players can dazzle fans? How many defenders do we have who can play their way out of trouble, who can consistently contribute to the attack? How many American players can dictate the rhythm of a game?

Far, far too few.

And one wonders how many players with the capacity to bring individual brilliance to the field have had that hammered out of them by their screaming coaches.

(This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Soccer America.)

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All quality, Arthur.

On the education issue (and I don't say this to score points over the 'old enemy') - during the mid 90s there were a few players who opted to join Sunderland rather than Newcastle because they were told to leave school at 16 by Newcastle, whilst Sunderland encouraged them to complete their schooling whilst training at the club. It's maybe worth noting that none of them made the grade - the closest being Sam Aiston, and even he only made a handfull of appearences.
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The Game is the Best Teacher
Tennessee youth team proves the old soccer adage

By Hemant Sharma
During the first week of November at the Tennessee Tide American Cup State Championships, a number of onlookers gravitated to the area where the U-8 boys were competing. On those fields in Columbia, Tenn., an entry from the Knoxville Football Club was cruising to a state championship by winning five straight games, outscoring the opposition by a 29-4 aggregate. Some of the players were actually as young as six years old, yet all eight members of the squad tallied at least one goal.

This performance, on its own, was enough to cause many spectators to wonder what exactly the coaches from this club were doing in east Tennessee. To further pique the curiosity of onlookers, though, a second entry from the Knoxville Football Club, which evenly split the 16 members of its U-8 division into two teams, came within a goal of potentially meeting its counterpart in the championship game.

The prospect of an all-Knoxville Football Club final was especially interesting in light of the fact that U-8 is a form of soccer free from the influences of recruiting to “stack” a team for a state championship run. Beyond that, coaches are truly starting with a clean slate, as most players have had minimal exposure to the sport of soccer or only a modicum of organized training. Clearly, at this age, a club’s “plan” can make all the difference in terms of a player’s soccer development.

Simply by watching the two teams play, even a casual observer could see that the Knoxville Football Club (aka KFC) seemed to have an excellent framework in place. Not just because they won this particular tournament, as scores and results should not be emphasized with children this young, but because the quality of play from the KFC players in terms of dribbling, passing, off-the-ball movement, defending, etc., was superior to that of other teams in its age group.

In fact, a number of opposing coaches asked the KFC U-8 head coach, David Hutchins, for his “formula.” In light of these queries, I ventured to east Tennessee for an interview with the club’s Director of Coaching, Gary Hindley, in hopes of getting a glimpse at the KFC’s “secret recipe” for developing youth players.

Hindley is no stranger to success; he has coached professional soccer in the United States and Canada for more than 20 years, winning more than 300 games. He guided teams to championships in the National Professional Soccer League (Cleveland Crunch) and the American Professional Soccer League (Maryland Bays). However, taking over the day-to-day operations of a youth soccer club provided its own set of challenges. For instance, what do you do with six- and seven-year-olds, 15 of them, who, for all intents and purposes, have never played the sport?

In the case of the Knoxville Football Club’s U-8 Celtic, a well-organized training program was devised by Hindley and implemented by Hutchins, the father of one of the players, and his assistant, Jen Longnecker, a former U.S. Women’s National Team player and the mother of another Celtic player.

The cornerstone of this program, to which Hindley attributes the team’s success, was deceptively simple. Every Saturday morning, rain or shine, the club held a 3 v. 3 “competition” among members of the team. Players wore their game jerseys to the field, half of them clad in “home” white, half decked out in “away” orange. Fields were lined to form 30 x 20 grids, and portable Pugg goals were placed at each end.

Hutchins believed that weeks of shooting at these small goals made his kids focus on accuracy so much that putting a ball into the “big goals” during the state tournament was, well, child’s play.

The U-8 Celtic, in fact, never actually held a practice in front of a full-size goal the entire fall. No goalkeepers were allowed in this 3 v. 3 format, and a two-yard “crease” was placed in front of each goal. Players from both teams were prohibited from entering this area, and goals could only be scored in the attacking half of the field.

The youngsters were divided into three-player teams (groups were rearranged every week to allow for different combinations) and essentially were turned loose, allowed to cultivate their own instincts for the sport and to utilize their skill training from the two practice sessions earlier in the week in a free play environment.

Coaching was minimized during 3 v. 3, and parents were required to stay far enough away so as not to distract their kids, either visually or audibly. Games consisted of two eight-minute halves with a two-minute halftime, and there was usually one team resting while four played. No standings were kept and results were not emphasized. Players were instructed not to ask what the score was or to complain in any fashion about teammates, fouls, weather or whatever else might bother them. Referees for these games were members of the Knoxville Football Club’s U-15 and U-13 teams. This afforded an opportunity for the club’s older players to act as mentors.

At the end of about 70 minutes of action in this 3 v. 3 setting, the players were gathered together for a “coaching point.” This did not necessarily involve a soccer technique, such as how to complete an inside of the foot pass. Rather, it was meant to introduce them to other aspects of the game that are not covered during a traditional practice, such as throw-in technique, the offside law or even a referee’s hand signals (for example, that for an indirect kick). Rather than lecturing to the children, a point was made by the coaches and then demonstrated by the older players.

The Celtic team then was broken into groups to perform an activity that helped them grasp the day’s principle. Hindley is a believer in a well-established notion that children learn by doing. As a result, he believed his club’s youngsters would make significant “mental” strides from activities such as imitating the signal for an indirect kick as if they were the referee or taking turns standing in offside and onside positions against a mock defensive line. These actions, as opposed to the mere dictation of theories, were deemed more likely to actually ingrain certain aspects of the game in the mind of a seven-year-old.

Clearly, the 3 v. 3 format was comprehensive and well-administered, but it was not the only ingredient in the development of KFC’s Celtic. Many coaches simplify the training of youth players with the old saying, “The game is the best teacher.” Judging by the success that his club derived from this 3 v. 3 environment, Hindley certainly backs this assertion, but adds that there must be some degree of technical development to prepare youngsters for free play.

If it were really as simple as “letting them play,” we would have no need for youth soccer coaches. Obviously, we are not dealing with seasoned professionals who can execute basic skills flawlessly. Beyond that, we do not live in a country where children turn on the television and watch soccer almost 24 hours a day; nor, in many cases, can they head to a local park and try to emulate the skills and creativity of older players (although the KFC mentoring concept hopes to change this). Therefore, there needs to be some degree of instruction to familiarize them with basic technique and give them the tools to develop into true artists on the field. Failing to do so would have been akin to not giving Michelangelo a brush to paint with – all of the creative artistic vision in his mind would have gone to waste.

The young Celtic members were first presented with their “brushes” during the final week of August, when the boys took part in a week-long camp directed by the founder and president of the Knoxville Football Club, Kyle McCoy. McCoy guided his own son’s team, the U-12 Arsenal, to a state championship the previous year, but no mention of that fact was made to the young Celtic members when they first convened.

The first hour of the camp day was devoted to instruction in basic skills and fun soccer-related games. The camp day ended with 45 minutes of equally fun, non-soccer related activities like Capture the Flag. A Friday field trip to an amusement park capped off the week, allowing the children to become more familiar with one another and build some team chemistry. At that age, being comfortable in your environment and with your peers can play an important role in performance.

Following this week-long introductory camp, training sessions were held every Wednesday and Friday in preparation for Saturday’s free play. Hindley himself took a hands-on approach and directed one of the weekly practices. The team’s two regular coaches assisted on that day and assumed control on the other. All sessions involved roughly an hour and 15 minutes of activity; any more than that is beyond the scope of the average seven-year-old’s attention span.

The sessions were geared toward basic skill development. They began with a warmup activity that afforded each player a high number of touches on the ball. This helped foster comfort with that round object at their feet—an awkward experience for a youngster whose athletic background up to that point may have consisted of playing catch with a baseball, shooting a basketball or perhaps playing computer video games. In addition, players were introduced to one specific dribbling move, such as the Cruyff or the step-over. They were never given more than a few new moves during a particular session, so their ability to learn the techniques properly never was compromised.

After the warmup, a specific skill, such as passing or shooting or shielding, was covered. The chosen topic was broken down into its most basic fundamental movements. A slow progression, with attention to detail, was employed. For example, in teaching the inside of the foot pass, Hindley actually went from player to player and physically put their foot in the appropriate position behind a ball and then helped to swing the leg through the motion. Shooting technique was honed by having youngsters stand facing a fence and striking the ball without taking more than one step. For them, heading began simply holding the ball in their hands and placing it on the proper spot on their foreheads. Dribbling moves were taught step by step, and clever rhymes were assigned to each part of a movement to help players absorb the techniques; for example, the mantra “step, lean, touch” helped the children learn the step-over, while “touch-touch-cut” helped with quick direction changes.

These technical activities never exceeded 20 minutes, as young bodies tend to get restless and Hindley had no interest in producing “soccer robots.” He just wanted to give the youngsters a technical background to work with, then send them off into some type of fun game to apply what they had learned. For example, a game of freeze tag (in which one team tried to pass the ball off members of another team) emphasized passing technique; 1 v. 1 to a ball with no boundaries reinforced attacking and defending principles; and “head-catch” helped to review heading technique. “Free dribbling,” with one child trying to chase and tag the dribblers, was employed to allow players to perfect their own moves or combinations with the ball. The key to creative coaching, according to Hindley, is to devise a game that is fun and emphasizes a principle of soccer without overtly mentioning it. In effect, a transition from drills to a game continued the young players’ learning curve without them actually being aware of it

Practice concluded with about 25 minutes of free play in a 4 v. 4 setting where the players were encouraged to be creative both with and without the ball. No positions were assigned and two games were going at once, with Hutchins observing one and Longnecker watching over another. This ensured that all players were on the field — no one was standing around watching and no teams were eliminated. The youngsters were urged to try different things, whether it was a dribbling move or a difficult pass, but tactical points were kept to a minimum.

Players were given no instruction whatsoever when they had the ball, and were expected to stay relaxed and make decisions on their own. In fact, no teammates were allowed to scream for the ball when someone had it and coaches were not allowed to tell children where the ball should be going. The only instruction that did take place was to players who did not have the ball. This instruction usually was done without stopping the game and took the form of a general question, such as “Are you helping your teammates there?” Lifeless, stagnant bodies on the field were discouraged, but bodies that ran uncontrollably with no purpose were equally frowned upon.

On Saturdays, the club also offered additional training sessions. These sessions were optional because the coaches did not want the youngsters to get overloaded or burned out. Goalkeeper training started at the conclusion of the 3 v. 3 free play. At this age, all players were encouraged to attend at least one goalkeeping session. They were never kept for more than 30 minutes, and were introduced to basics of catching, footwork, collapsing on their side to stop low balls, punting and, briefly, to diving.

The training paid off for the team, as its starting goalkeeper, who attended every session, was voted Most Valuable Player of the state tournament and provided his team with a substantial advantage over squads who may have had novices manning the nets. Another of the club’s extras was a weekly speed/agility/quickness session, in which techniques for running, shuffling and changing direction in an efficient manner were coached by Liz Walker, a former Duke University standout and U-20 U.S. National Team member. The youngsters were asked to attend only one of these sessions. All who participated found them to be entertaining and helpful.

In addition, once or twice a month the Celtic played 8 v. 8 full-field matches against local competition, usually against older teams. Playing older squads was not necessarily a coaching strategy, but a result of the fact that true U-8 opposition is difficult to find within the Knoxville metropolitan area.

The kids took their lumps against U-9 and U-10 teams, but results were never emphasized. “Doing things the right way,” as Hindley likes to say, was emphasized. On most occasions, in fact, the kids never realized the score. Competing against older, faster, stronger players forced them to find ways to think and play quicker, and it ultimately paid dividends.

Parents are the key to holding the infrastructure of any youth soccer team together (or ripping it apart in some cases). Hindley probably would ask that I rephrase the previous sentence to read: parents who are educated in soccer etiquette are the key to holding a squad together. After all, for many parents of U-8 soccer players, the experience represents their first encounter with competitive soccer, and they need some guidelines to help them help their child.

Hindley and the two coaches required all parents to attend a meeting prior to the start of the season. They were instructed to get their children to all activities on time, refrain from touchline coaching or yelling at referees and were asked to sign a code of conduct contract outlining appropriate club behavior. They were given the information they needed to assist their youngsters through the process of developing into competitive players and were commended for making a commitment to three weekly activities.

Following the end of the three-month season, all parents were advised to give their kids some time off from soccer until the start of the spring season in March just to keep them fresh. Their only activity during the interim would be an optional once-a-week indoor game.

Hindley said it is important for all the coaches to “be on the same page,” and that weekly instructions and updates were e-mailed to each coach. He also conducted monthly coaching seminars for the coaches.

Together, all of the parties involved played an important part in putting together a comprehensive blueprint for starting a youth soccer program from scratch and one that has achieved real success.

Editor’s note: Hemant Sharma is the Assistant to the Director of Coaching for the Knoxville Football Club. A former goalkeeper coach at Cornell University, he played at Cornell from 1993-97, leading the team to its first Ivy League Championship in 20 years and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances..

Arthur
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http://www.sportscoachingbrain.com/category/performance-psychology/

Probably an area not many have the expertise to comment on, but a great source of information by Wayne Goldsmith about sport psychology.

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Thanks for the posts found this one on the same sight seems like common sense but is lost on many of the coaches i know.

Patience and time

http://www.sportscoachingbrain.com/teaching-skills-a-performance-focused-approach-to-teaching-skills/
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Taken from Footballtricks.com
Some great ideas and articles;


Quote:
Finally a top quality study has been done at John Moores University in Liverpool, England about whether the skills learnt by juggling a football can be transferred to better ball control during a game.

I have lost count of the amount of times people have said to me “what is the point of juggling when you don’t juggle during a game” well this study proves that even small amounts of juggling will improve ball control. What follows is a simplified version of the study for the full paper which is quite heavy reading email info@footballtricks.com with “Juggling Study” in the title

Aim

To discover if juggling a ball with your feet only will have any effect on the ability to juggle a ball with your knees or the ability to control a ball in a game like situation.

Method

Twenty male players (age 19-40 years) were chosen. All players were from the same club and of similar ability.

To test their juggling ability players were asked to juggle as many times as possible within a 3m x 3m grid in 30 seconds. Each player was given 3 attempts with both their feet only and then knees only. The best score for the knee juggling was taken.

To test their ball control the players were asked to control a ball with one touch propelled at them by a machine. The 2m x 2m target area were the player stood was divided into 3 with a bullseye area 1m x 0.5 then a secondary area 1.5m x 1m then the entire area of 2m x 2m. The player scored 10 points for controlling the ball inside the centre bullseye, 5 points for the secondary area and 2 points for controlling the ball inside the 2m x 2m target zone. No points were awarded if the ball left the target zone. The tests were done on both their stronger foot and weaker foot. One complete test for one leg involved 12 balls being propelled at the player so the maximum score was 120.

Practice

After initial testing the players were divided into two equal groups. Group 1 was told the testing was over and they were free to go and continue playing and training at their club. However Group 2 was told to juggle with their feet only for 10 minutes each day for 4 weeks as well as playing and training with their club.

4 weeks later both groups were brought back to be retested.

Results

For Group 1 there was no significant difference between the 2 sets of testing over the 4 weeks.

For Group 2 the players showed an improvement in their knee juggling score from an average of 40 juggles in 30 secs to 47.8, in their stronger foot control test the score improved from an average of 18.5 to 28.6 and in their weaker foot from an average score of 14.2 to 21.4.

Summary

In 4 weeks with only 10 minutes juggling per day an 8.4% improvement in their stronger foot and 6.8% in their weaker foot was shown in the ability to control a ball propelled at the players. This suggests that the skills learnt in ball juggling can be transferred to ball control in a game situation.

Sean’s View

Hopefully this paper gives more coaches the confidence to use juggling as an individual or group exercise at training now that it has been proven to be beneficial.

I would be interested to see a study on whether the skills learnt practicing 1 v 1 moves transferred to the ability to control a ball better that is passed along the ground. I would suggest that it would but it would be great to have scientific proof to back up the theory.

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You are the man when it comes to research into youth development Arthur ( Thanasi ).
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spathi wrote:
You are the man when it comes to research into youth development Arthur ( Thanasi ).


Trust me Spathi I'm only drip feeding. Yiasou.
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It's really very interesting post ...Thanks to all of you. You have done great job..
I really appreciated that is laid down here. Thanks for sharing.
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Article about Dr Raymond Verheijen (Hiddinks fitness trainer) has interesting argument about how player fitness should be developed. I am hoping to buy his latest book once it comes out in English.

Those who heard his lecture in Brisbane at the FFA coaching could not fail to have been impressed.


Quote:
What if there was another way? Well there is...


Ryan McKnight , FC Business editor

You can imagine, first day of pre-season. Arrive with fresh hope for the up coming year - new boots, new kit, new jokes etc. However, behind those pleasant thoughts lie the dread of the inevitable pre-season regime. You look around, not a football in a 30 mile radius. Oh dear... it’s running time!

Yes, the pre-season fitness regime is as much a British tradition as tea and biscuits. Sky Sports News currently has its cameras littered across the globe following the often military pre-season build ups of all and sundry. We take this ethos as a fairly standard way of doing things, but what if we’ve been doing it all wrong? Or at least not knowing of other methods?

Enter Raymond Verheijen. Raymond wowed me at a Professional Football Coaches Association seminar at West Bromwich Albion six months ago.

An expert in football periodization and fitness, Raymond has worked for the Dutch FA, South Korea, Russia, FC Barcelona and Zenit St Petersburg to name a few of the stellar names on his CV. I caught up with him in a late night phone interview to discuss how he believes you should prepare a team for the new season.

“The first thing to say is that it is just not sensible for a player to be on a beach drinking cocktails one minute then the next he is into high intensity fitness programmes. We see a lot of injuries in the pre-season and a large proportion is down to the intensity of the training.”

Raymond works to a self-developed philosophy where fitness is gradually built up over a period time thus giving a number of benefits to both player and manager.

“You have to ask, why are so many managers at all levels so obsessed about getting their squad really fit, really quickly? What is more important than fitness is having time to develop your players into a team, with the ball!

“The reason managers and coaches follow that route is because there is a fear their team wont be fit enough to compete and if you’re not working on your fitness then the press and others at the club think you’re either mad or lazy. In fact you’re being wise.”

The reasons, as Raymond explained are not down to his opinion but to the simple realities of science, physiology and how the body develops - and loses - fitness. We also had Raymond speaking at a recent FC Business Live event and the simplicity of what he talks about in this area is what makes his techniques so special, in my view.

“The reality is that if you develop fitness quickly then you develop short-term fitness, if you develop fitness slowly then you build long-term fitness, fact!”

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, seems obvious doesn’t it? So why don’t we do it? Turns out we’re not the only ones who think like this.

“This is not a problem that is isolated to Britain. I have worked with clubs from all over the world, it’s the same everywhere.”

So anyway, back to the training ground. You’ve shared holiday stories, introduced yourself to the new players, probably a new manager and back room staff while we’re at it, but what condition are you likely to be in?

“Most players lose around 30% of their general fitness over the off-season. That makes them very fit human beings but not Premier League footballers.

“If you look at logically, then in comparison to their normal levels they are not fit so you should start slow, but that doesn’t happen.”

One thing Raymond is very keen to express is the importance pre-season plays for preparing and building your team in a football capacity and the how the development of fitness should complicate that, not the other way around.

“The ideal situation for any coach is to have his best players available for all the games. Of course due to the physical nature of the game that won’t happen, but you can give yourself a better chance of that happening more often. Surely everyone would want that?

“Key to the philosophy is injury prevention. If you build up fitness quick then you are more likely to get injured. It then becomes a vicious circle because if a player does get injured in pre-season, the rest of the team develops quickly so there is a bigger gap to make up when you return and we often see a player getting injured again trying to over-train to catch up.

“With the gradual build up you have less chance of becoming injured but even if you do the gap between you and the rest of the team is not as big and you can recover.”

The questions you need to be asking yourself at this point are whether, as a coach or manager, you are spending enough time developing your team in a football sense and whether your fitness program is actually having a detrimental effect.

“It all becomes counter productive. Because you develop the fitness in the short term you also lose it when the volume of sessions goes down when the season starts. Fitness levels by December actually drop and what actually happens is that players end up recovering from pre-season.”

Finally, Raymond discussed the relationship between short-term fitness and its impact on fatigue. An issue that really sums up not only Raymond’s philosophy, but also the potential impacts of short-term fitness build up.


“One of the major downfalls of short-term fitness gain is that it increases the fatigue levels of players. You can end up playing a game against a team that it technically less fit than you but your team cannot maximize their advantage because of fatigue levels. There is a big difference between fitness and freshness.”

Raymond’s four main reasons for a more gradual-build up fitness program:

1.More time to play/train with your best team (less injuries +more ball time)
2.Develop less fatigue (fit to play and fresh)
3.Stay fit till the end of the season (no burn out periods in December & May)
4.Rehabilitation (recover quicker from injuries and lose less fitness in off-season)

Of course, the implementation of this is the real trick of the trade but the principles are there for all to think about.

Ryan McKnight is the editor of FC Business, the trade of magazine of the football industry.


Edited by Arthur: 14/8/2010 12:58:50 AM
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Any idea on when Dr Verhiejen's new book will come out Arthur? I have looked for it online but with no luck.
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It was supposed to come out in june this year, my major worry is, it will be in Dutch.

I just keep on checking his website now and again, until it is available.
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Arthur wrote:
spathi wrote:
You are the man when it comes to research into youth development Arthur ( Thanasi ).


Trust me Spathi I'm only drip feeding. Yiasou.



Im hungry Arthur, need some feed.;) ;)
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Sorry Spathi have been really busy with end of the junior season here in Melbourne.

Will get to it shortly.

Cheers
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Emphasis On Winning Is Destructive"
By James Bruggers


High school athletics should be banned unless coaches, administrators and school boards drop the all-too-common professional sports "win at all costs model," a sports psychologist and author said Friday.
Athletics can provide an essential lesson in preparing children for real-world competition outside sports, but American youth are being put under too much pressure to win too early an age. San Jose State University professor Tom Tutko said at a sports psychology conference.

"You can come away with a whole season in which you played very well feeling like a loser." That's because typical league competition featuring playoff elimination is set up so there can be only one champion.

"The earlier we implant this idea, the more destruction it causes." He said. "Unless things change, we are doing more destruction than construction."

Tutko said his views on youth athletics stem from his own positive experiences as a high school basketball player and his children's negative experiences with competitive sports in San Jose.

His high school coach knew how to make every player on the team feel special, by finding a role for each one, he said. The coach allowed each player to start at least one game and asked only that players work as hard as they could. The coach never talked about winning, Tutko said.

The psychologist, author of "Winning is Everything and Other American Myths," criticized sports that use judges to determine winner. "A one-tenth difference (in scores) can make you laugh or cry," he said. "And much of the judging is political."

He said his daughter quit gymnastics in high school after telling him she no longer wanted to "stand there and wait for somebody to tell her how good she was."

Problems caused by sports start at an early age, he said.

It's not natural for children to follow strict rules and get involved in heavy competition. Children prefer to use athletics as a form of play and would be just as happy with a game ending in a tie as in a win, he said.

Drug use, cheating and fighting at all levels of sport "is a symptom of a win-at-all-cost philosophy," which is stealing the fun from youth, Tutko said.

"Parents too often pressure their children to win in sports because the parents want to feel like winners," he said. "Most of us are involved in living through our kids because there are no awards for being the best parent on the block."

Sports should be good for children, he said. "Quite frankly, there's no better experience than a sports experience. It puts everything on the line."

But he added that competition "needs to be done at their (children's) pace, not our pace."
Sports Psychologist Tom Tutko offers the following advice for parents, coaches and school administrators:

--Select coaches who are dedicated to a philosophy of helping young people to grow emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually.

--Make sure coaches teach leadership; rotate team captains for each game; give captains authority to call timeouts; ask each player to lead in practice; ask athletes to design plays.

--Give every player a chance to start a game and allow everyone a chance to play in each game.

--Use physical training to educate athletes about their health.

--Use sports to teach children how to set goals, manage their time and handle pressure.

--Stress working hard and reaching personal potential above winning.




Edited by Arthur: 1/9/2010 10:32:31 PM
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roos48 wrote:
Any idea on when Dr Verhiejen's new book will come out Arthur? I have looked for it online but with no luck.


Notes from his FFA coaches convention lecture;

FOOTBALL CONDITIONING
Posted Tuesday, August 24th, 2010.
It alway’s alarm’s me when I venture out to watch junior club’s train and I see player’s as young as 8 doing a set of “doggies” or running laps. The number of times you see coaches conditioning their team without the use of a ball in a game related exercise is staggering. In Australia we are saturated or infatuated with Strength and Conditioning. As a result of this obsession, Football coaches have been dictated to by various Strength and Conditioning trainers to condition their players in certain way’s. The problem is, these so called fitness guru’s have generally been educated with an AFL, NRL or ARU contract/career in mind. Each of those sports vary considerably to Football. Football results are influenced by the most technically gifted players not the biggest, strongest or fastest. Lionel Messi stands under 170cm!!! The AFL continually takes “ATHLETES” from other sports and convert them into AFL topliners by virtue of their size or speed. This does not and never will happen in our game. Our game is a specialist game requiring extreme levels of Technique, Skill and Decision Making. This can not be taught overnight. The model below is Football specific and is currently utilised throughout Europe. It works on the principle that Football is Conditioning.

The next time your coach or club embarks on Conditioning training you may want to ensure it includes a ball and resembles a football game. If it doesn’t you are WASTING precious FOOTBALL TIME.

PERIODISATION IN FOOTBALL

Football training is conditioning training

The most skillfull players determine the result of a football match, not the biggest, fastest or strongest.

Traditionally: FITNESS = FOOTBALL

Periodisation: FOOTBALL = FITNESS

Fitness is only a component of football. FOOTBALL is your starting point



ANALYSIS OF THE GAME

X—X—X—-X—–X——-X———X

X = Action. The larger the X the higher the quality

— = Time delay between actions

The drawing above illustrates fatigue. For example the longer the game goes on the lower the quality of actions and the more recovery time required between actions



The drawing below shows the ideal situation.

X—X—X—X—X—X

­Higher maximum explosiveness more consistently

Quicker recovery

Maintain quick recovery

Maintain explosiveness over 90 minutes



3 conditioning scenararios:

a) 1 player sprints in isolation

b) 2 players sprint in competition

c) 2 players sprint for ball. First to ball shoots on goal.

Scenario C) yielded the quickest time. The more you can train achieving 100% output, the more likely you are to get to 101%!!

When utilising a ball in conditioning training always ensure the ball is not an obstacle. The critical sprint is always the first 5 – 8 metres



IMPROVE RECOVERY

Games 4v4/3v3

Less rest between games (ie 3min to 30 secs)

For example 4v4 game – 3 min between matches

4v4 game – 2 min between matches

4v4 game – 1 min between matches





MAINTAIN RECOVERY

Games 11v11/8v8 and 7v7/5v5

Play football for longer.

For example (3 x 10min) and (3 x 15min).

As the body develops you increase the playing time. The increase needs to be gradual

X—X—X—X—X—X

­ ­ ­ ­

Football sprints with a lot of recovery (ie 60 secs)

Games 4v4/3v3

Games 11v11/8v8 and 7v7/5v5

Games 11v11/8v8 and 7v7/5v5

The model above allows you to COACH at all times ie during conditioning training.

It is good to have a tactical session in between a day off and a conditioning session as it allows players to get their rhythm back after a 3 day break. It also allows injured players from the previous game an extra 24 hours recovery. Ie more players at conditioning session.

Periodisation is only a tool. Understand your players. Shift the model to meet your players needs.

After Euro 2004, FC Barcelona international players didn’t have to do any pre season conditioning training. Clubs objective was to get rid of their fatigue. Keep players fresh as possible as long as possible.

CASE STUDY 1

KOREA

1st Half: Very high intensity of play

X–X–X–X–X–X



2nd Half: Dramatic drop in work rate

X—X—-X—–X——X——–X

Solution:

To maintain quick recovery

Games 11v11/8v8

In preseason build up sessions slowly. Have fewer sessions early and build up as season is about to commence.

Quick Build Up (traditional) = short term fitness

= more injuries

= less time with strongest team

= lose fitness quicker whilst injured

= develops fatigue



Periodisation (Gradual) = 4-6 weeks football (conditioning) training

= Long term fitness

= fitness increases during season

= Fewer injuries

= During injuries gradual loss of fitness

= More training/games with strongest team

= No fatigue. Fresh at end of season



In Europe there is very little or NO isolated strength and conditioning work done at 14, 15 or 16 years of age.

We don’t want to create physically better players we want to create better technical and tactical FOOTBALLERS. Ie make better decisions on field

You may consider isolated strength and conditioning training at 17, 18 or 19 in the hope you improve a further 1 – 3 %.

No static stretching. It actually reduces explosiveness. It does not reduce injuries. This is a myth.

All exercises to be competitive to ensure maximum effort.

Never 2 conditioning sessions in a row. Always have tactical session in between.

Our kids train half as much as those in Europe. We can not afford to waste a training sessions on isolated, non football conditioning exercises. In Holland players between 10 – 15 only use a ball at training.



I hope you’ve enjoyed this Blog and before the ground swell of opposition mounts, I ask those who disagree to count the number of times your team loses possession of the ball because of poor passing and recieving………………….After analysing this you will see that your child will be better off passing and recieving the ball at training than running circuits against a clock!!!!

General Ashnak
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Thank you Arthur!
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Please feel free to add, anybody.:d
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Great articles Arthur. I've been coaching my young blokes the last couple of seasons in the under 5's and 6's and find the kiddies quite easy to coach. In the spirit of ssg I treat the games as supervised play and try and leave the kids to their own devices. I encourage them to dribble and control the ball no matter where they are on the pitch and discourage big kicks. At training it is all ballwork with the main aim being getting the kids as many touches as possible in the 45 mins and making it fun.

The parents on the other hand just don't get it. At the start of the year I give them a coaches letter with all the usual stuff but try to emphasise that they are just there to encourage their children and not to give instruction as it may contradict something I have taught them. Anyway my lowlight was last weekend which was the last game of the year. I had one dad constantly shouting at the kids to kick it out when they were under pressure - 5 year olds FFS.

Anyway there is a good video floating around the web of a North American football coach explaining the difference between US coaching methods and South American coaching methods which has a very similiar theme to one of the articles above. I'll try and find it and post the link.
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Proprioception - What's that???
Sourced from The Sports Injury Doctor Isuue 5/06/September, authoured by Chris Mallac who has been head of sports med at Bath Rugby and head physio at Queensland Reds Super 14.



There is a bit of talk about "Proprioception Training" among coaches / trainers / conditioners, but mostly physiotherapists because they seem to know more about it and make more sense on this one. If your coach is a physio or has coached at the elite level you have a much better chance of being introduced to this training at club level. Everyone is looking for an edge in Football and this form of training is no doubt resident in the top echelons of football around the globe. Its not news to the AIS and probably not to ACTAS. There are a couple of clubs in the ACT that have introduced this form of training to assist the development of the players. So if you hear about it, this short article will assist you in knowing what it generally means.


Dear Sports Enthusiast,

Try this little experiment. Place a coin on the floor. Stand about 30cm away from the coin. With your eyes open, attempt to touch the coin with your big toe (it doesn't matter which foot). Now close your eyes and try it again.

If your ‘proprioception’ is in tune, then you should be able to touch the coin or at least get very close to it. However, if your proprioception is not functioning, then you will miss it by miles.


So what is ‘proprioception’? Why is it important, and how do we train it?

Proprioception can be defined as “… an unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.”

The word proprius is Latin and means ‘one’s own’. Perception pertains to the human senses – in the case of proprioception, the sense of movement. (Out of interest, balance is not an example of proprioception. Balance control comes from the inner ear and not the body senses. However, the balance systems are intertwined heavily with the proprioceptive systems.)

Common examples from everyday life:

Walking in a dark room in the middle of the night
Catching a ball
Eating whilst reading the paper


Where does proprioception come from?
Our muscles, ligaments and tendons are stacked with free nerve endings and receptors that allow us to perceive where our limbs are in space. These receptors then feed into the central nervous system (CNS) and the CNS in turn relays information to the brain – both the cerebrum (big brain) and cerebellum (little walnut shaped thing at the bottom of the cerebrum). To make it really complex, the information from these body receptors is then compared to information received from the eyes and ears that allows us to co-ordinate hand/foot-eye coordination and also balance.
"Proprioception can always be improved through training. The learning of any new skill involves training our proprioceptive sense and re-organising the nervous system to suit the new activity."

Why do people have poor proprioception?

The two cohorts of the population that suffer from altered proprioception are the injured/ill and the elderly. As we injure ourselves and damage tissues, the pain mechanisms that feed into our brains tend to ‘fog’ up the nerve cells in the brain so that we don’t have such a defined appreciation of position sense anymore. Furthermore, some anatomical structures play keys roles in proprioception. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in the knee has numerous nerve endings that contribute to proprioception, as does the major ankle ligament – the ATFL. That is why injury to these structures tends to make us feel unstable. The elderly have ageing nerve endings and their nerves do not conduct information as effectively as younger people. They have more trouble with activities requiring body awareness and as a result often bump themselves easily and fall easily.

Can we improve our proprioception?

Absolutely! Proprioception can always be improved through training. The learning of any new skill involves training our proprioceptive sense and re-organising the nervous system to suit the new activity. The nerve endings and sensory fibres in our muscles, ligaments and tendons become more effective at picking up changes in body position. In turn, the nerves become more efficient at transmitting the information to the brain, and the brain becomes better at responding to this information.

Practical examples of proprioceptive re-training in the world of sports medicine include balance board and BOSU ball exercises for post ankle/knee injuries; medicine ball catching drills for post-operative shoulder reconstructions, and laser pointer guidance exercises that post-whiplash patients perform to retrain head rotation and neck rotation position sense.

An example of the laser drill for whiplash is to strap a laser pointer to a patients head and have them focus on a point on a wall or screen. They then turn their head (rotation) and then attempt to rotate back to where the laser was pointing. Research shows that this position sense of being able to bring the laser back to that point is severely compromised in patients who have whiplash injuries. This is because the nerve endings that allow this position sense have been affected so the ability to 'sense' where the head should be directed becomes compromised. They can then perform this drill repeatedly to retrain this sense.


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The Top Dangers of Sideline Coaching
Sourced from http://www.kidssportspsychology.com/

Too often well-meaning parents live through their children and expect their kids to take on their own dreams and goals. As a youth soccer coach in Portland, Ore., Sue Mak confesses that she found herself too emotionally involved at times in her son's athletic experience. She often yelled if her son was in danger or if referees failed to watch for fouls, she says.

"If someone would jump on my son, I would say, 'Open your eyes. You almost killed my kid.' If I saw a kid fouling another player, I would yell, 'Ref, watch what's going on!' "

When Mak's son, Justin, was about 12, he told her that she embarrassed him when she challenged referees' calls.

"I realized I was overzealous, so I tried to tone it down. I tried to back off," she says. "I tried to find a way to still be involved in the game but to be a real positive part of the excitement," Mak says.

Parents, like Mak, must learn to strike a delicate balance between being overly involved in their kids's sports activities and not showing enough interest in their athletics.

Coaching From the Sidelines: A Common Parental Error

Too often, well-meaning parents live through their children and expect their kids to take on their own dreams and goals. They evaluate their child's success or failure based on his or her performance--not his or her happiness. They are overly critical. And, like Mak, coach too much from the sidelines.

Says Lauren, a 12-year-old who plays soccer, Lacrosse, basketball and tennis in Portland, "The major problem affecting my confidence is my parents. Dad's cheering embarrasses me. Just before I shoot in soccer, he yells, 'Pull the trigger!" It's so awful."

Rather than expressing enthusiasm by coaching from the sidelines and criticizing, parents need to take a step back. Try to understand why your child takes part in sports. Does he or she play to be with friends? Does your child play because she loves to be part of a team? Or does she enjoy competition?

Once you understand your child's motivations, try to support his or her interests. Ensure he or she has the opportunity to spend time with teammates, to feel like part of a team, and to have fun.

Being supportive also means letting children lead.

Kids who excel in sports are those who are passionate about it. And their drive comes from within--not from their parents. They'll beg you to bat balls in your front yard with them, to rebound while they shoot baskets and to kick a ball in the neighborhood park. You don't ever have to nudge these kids into practicing.

You'll also help your children enjoy sports by telling them they're doing a great job--whether they win or lose. Keep the focus off performance. Concentrate on fun, enjoyment, laughs!

It's also important to attend kids' games, whenever possible. Cheer them on without pressuring them. Try to be supportive of coaches, referees and umpires. It's important to set a good example--even if you don't always agree with the coach, referee or umpire.

As Mak says, "Good sports parents realize this sport is a tool to teach your child about life."

Coaching From The Sidelines: Striking A Balance

As a rookie soccer coach 20 years ago, Mak struggled to find a balance in how she gave feedback to her team. After experimenting with a number of styles, she discovered that children benefit most if they receive mainly positive feedback. Her job, she decided, was to be a master cheerleader.

If you, too, learn how to be a master cheerleader, your children will experience many benefits. They'll have more fun, learn important life lessons, and likely stay involved in sports for a long time. Remember, 75 percent of kids drop out of sports by the time they are 13. That's because they're no longer having fun!





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Arthur, would you be able to briefly outline the coaching pathways available for interested people such as myself in Australia?

I am very interested in coach and I am willing to do courses and such i just don't know where to start. As someone with some obvious knowledge what would you recommend?
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Follow the link Blackmac79

http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/2009GameDev/default.aspx?s=community_coaching_news_news_item_new&id=26882

Thats where everyone starts, do a community Coaching Licence and go from there.

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Arthur wrote:
Follow the link Blackmac79

http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/2009GameDev/default.aspx?s=community_coaching_news_news_item_new&id=26882

Thats where everyone starts, do a community Coaching Licence and go from there.


Thanks mate. would really like to work my way up to a C licence, or even maybe one day B.
Arthur
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Blackmac79 wrote:
Arthur wrote:
Follow the link Blackmac79

http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/2009GameDev/default.aspx?s=community_coaching_news_news_item_new&id=26882

Thats where everyone starts, do a community Coaching Licence and go from there.


Thanks mate. would really like to work my way up to a C licence, or even maybe one day B.


Go for it mate, it will be one of the most rewarding things you can do.
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Arthur wrote:
Please feel free to add, anybody.:d



There have been some modifications to FFA Licences from a few years ago.

Then it was :

Community Coaching

Grass Roots Licence
Junior Licence
Youth Licence
Senior Licence
State Licence

Advanced Coaching

C Licence
B Licence
A Licence
Professional Licence

Professional is the top level and Grass Roots is the lowest.

There was no level 1 and 2 within the same level.



Edited by Decentric: 29/9/2010 11:15:24 PM
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Some excellent articles have been posted here by Arthur and others.

This is what I was hoping I would find from joining forums four years ago!

It has taken four years. Better late than never.
Decentric
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Unfortunately, FFA charge an extraordinary amount of money for licences.

This is problematic given there are few avenues to earn money from having an advanced licence.
GO


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