1v1 unfairly maligned. We need superstars

Discussion in 'Coach' started by NewDadaCoach, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    #1 NewDadaCoach, Oct 16, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
    I heard a coach say "none of that 1v1 garbage"... I think this was a U11 game. Competitive.

    It was sad to hear.

    1v1 is an important part of the game. Garbage? That is bad teaching. Why do so many choose between dribbling and passing? Between 1v1 and teamwork? They are all fundamental.

    Also, we (USA) will never develop a superstar if we don't embrace 1v1 and dribbling and creativity. If we suppress it in the youth then they will not flourish. Sure, some... ok many... overdo it... but this is a period of learning. Let them try and fail.

    Superstars drive the sport. Messi, Ronaldo, Pele, Maradona. It sells tickets. It sells jerseys. It gets kids interested. It creates fans. It spurs debate. Every sport in the US has superstars. Household names - Jordan, Tom Brady, Gretzky. The people want them. Sure the US has great soccer players, but no household names like other countries. We have no Neymars.

    All of the greats are great at 1v1. Therefore, embrace 1v1!
     
  2. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    I agree with your point. To me the game starts with the 1v1 match ups across the field. As a competitive player, I was always looking for a way to dominate my opponent and then extend my influence to help the "partners" adjacent to me beat their opponents. This view was for both in possession and out. I believe that is how matches are won.

    As for 1v1 training, the great coaches still use 1v1 games at the national team level. It took me a while to figure out that the difference between U10 and professional is simply the ability of the players to perform. The ball is still round and the game is the same.
     
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  3. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Check out the documentary "in search of greatness". Wayne Gretzky talks at length about his individual development vs that of his peers who were playing better team hockey. Stuff about soccer player Garrincha there too—one of my faves.
     
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  4. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    The earlier in the development cycle the less overlap between good development and good team tactics. That is half the problem with pay to play soccer--the focus on winning matches to please parents, the paying customers. At the fundamental stage, you want all the players to be "ball hogs".
     
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  5. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I'm not taking the devil's advocate role here, but I no longer have the certainty that technical proficiency is the end all be all at the grassroots level. As I've written many times, I spent a good chunk of the past decade in the school where, under age 12, players get thousands of touches and learn lots of moves. All the lauded players that have come out of that school and other similar tracts are showing their stuff on their HS teams. A few have gone off to play college ball D1–D3.

    Is that because they are quality players? Which they are. But is this merely a reflection of the "sick" American youth soccer system? They are the best through attrition and inadequate development of other types of players. They are the best, because the overall level is extremely low?

    What I saw come out of the 10K touches school at ages 11-12, sometimes, were kids that were technical aces but tried to solve every problem with the dribble—their decision making abilities were dubious. Depending on who you ask, Messi was given free reign to dribble and lost the ball a lot and they were patient with him. The flip side of it is that their academy, also spent a ton of time doing rondos. He trained, undoubtedly, in a team-oriented context even at age 10.

    In that documentary, Gretzky said he worked a lot on his skills on his own. What he also did was study. He'd diagrammed the games he watched on tv. He tracked where players and the puck went. He may have been doing it on his own, but he was studying the team game.

    Ultimately, these are team sports. Learning to accomplish team, in-game, objectives is part of the learning process. As coaches, we should be able to expect players to learn some of the individual skills on their own time. It doesn't have to be complex team play, one or two patterns in each phase would suffice. Children are, generally, intelligent enough to improvise once the pattern breaks down—just like they could finish the song if I started "Mary had a little lamb . . ."

    99% will not play in college in the US. It's not the end of the world if they don't get to learn 150 moves and be proficient take-on artists. Those are important, but I'll wager those kids will find their own way anyway, regardless of what you teach them. Are the other 99% better served by a more balanced approach?
     
  6. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    @elessar78 Perhaps you noticed that I specified "team" tactics. I am old school so I view tactics as individual, small group, and team.

    I consider individual and small group tactics to be fundamentals. In my view principles of play are taught through small group tactical problems.

    In my view team tactics are icing on the cake. If players are good at 1v1 and small group tactics, then they will have no problem solving 11v11 tactical problems without a game plan and a coach telling them what to do.
     
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  7. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Thanks for the suggestion.
    I found this trailer - is this it?

    I also found this (is this one just a clip from the movie?):
    In Search of Greatness Episode 1: Wayne Gretzky | NowThis
     
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  8. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    #8 NewDadaCoach, Oct 18, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
    I don't think I disagree with any of this.
    Soccer is a team sport, I would say moreso than even other team sports. It is the "teaminess" sport of all team sports. Football lends itself to solo stars (running backs, QB, receivers). Baseball has by definition individuals hit the ball one at a time. Basketball has only 5 players on a team so it gives more room for one to shine and "carry the team". It is virtually impossible for one person to carry a team in soccer; you need at least a good core group. And without a super star you can certainly win in soccer with a fundamentally balanced roster.

    I don't view solo dribbling as a substitute for team-centric play. I guess I would view it as "weapon" that can be used, maybe in the case of Messi a nuclear weapon. Barcelona (during the Messi years) is the quintessential example where they are progenitors of tiki-taka style yet had this one guy who could dribble through 3 defenders and score. (And we all love to see it)

    Yes, 99.9% of players have no chance of reaching this level. So yes, it is the exception rather than the rule. The team comes first. BUT I do think if/when the next Messi is coming of age, I hope the coach encourages and empowers the dribbling rather than discourages it.
    If you ask any American kid today (ok, maybe last year) who their favorite team is... they aren't going to say an MLS team, they are most likely going to say either Barcelona or Real Madrid, because those teams have (had) the top two stars in the world.
     
  9. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    Two points. First, I see elessar78s post as a variation of his prior comments about avoiding development of Coerver monkeys, i.e., a player with great technical proficiency but no clue how to use that skill in the game. This results when coaches don't understand the Coerver method.

    Second, consider what happens as kids grow older. Huge amounts of kids drop out. I think it is difficult for a player to enjoy soccer if they lack technical profeciency. You get players that are scared to have the ball and spend the game dreading that someone will pass it to them. Technical profeciency is necessary for successful tactical execution. In my experience at the adult recreational level, say o-30 and 40, 1/3rd to 1/2 of the players are former college players. Obviously it varies in different areas. I say being technically proficient explains why they still enjoy the game and participate.

    I think being good at the game is a factor in why players stay with the game. So the question becomes are you trying to develop future pros or amateurs that will enjoy a lifetime of soccer?
     
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  10. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    @elessar78 Thank you for mentioning that documentary. It was available on my cable, watched it, and it was stellar.
     
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  11. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I'd say preparing them for a lifetime sport. Keeping them in the game as long as possible for a myriad of health benefits.

    My team this year, for example, is at a stage and level where we can do more team oriented concepts. They're not all good ball handlers, like some of my past teams. But more players, I feel, are involved. Even technically weak players can contribute, say, in the pressing phase.
     
  12. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Awesome. Curious about your takeaways. I've watched it twice this year. I find it very motivating.
     
  13. jmnva

    jmnva Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    I'm also going to have a little bit of a dissenting view.
    Having the skills to take win a 1v1 battle is great but at least as important is knowing what to do next.

    I could completely see a U11 coach telling players to knock of the 1v1. Those kids have that down, what you want them to really be learning is how to read the game and likely look for the best pass.

    In terms of lifelong skills-- I'd argue having vision and knowing what makes the most sense what to do. I've played with 60+ year old guys that had slowed down and couldn't beat anyone off the dribble but if you gave them an opening they could place a perfectly weighted ball in exactly the right place.
     
  14. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    @jmnva There are always 2 participants in a 1v1 battle. Your post apparently only considers 1v1 from the attacking point of view. No coach is going to tell his players not to defend or that the 1st defender role doesn't matter.

    You made some good points. Some of this will be sematics, but my view of what is important is tactical speed, a/k/a speed of play. It is a holistic concept, but vision and first touch are more important than physical abilities. Certainly soccer IQ is important too. Even when we are young and able, that ball travels faster when passed than when dribbled. So combination passing will always be important.

    Still in my view, the ideal forward is someone that can take on and beat 2 defenders on the dribble. Coaches are lucky to have even one of those on their teams.
     
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  15. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    I guess the big question for me is - at what age do we acknowledge that not every kid is going to be that kind of dribbler?

    Still work on individual ball possession skils but more with an eye to keep the ball so that you can play to an open player rather than run at someone and beat them - shielding, twist offs, etc.

    Would kids stay involved longer if even at a young age, they were maybe the kid who could take 3 defenders out with a well placed ball? Or they were the kid who always showed up where the ball was arriving - off the ball movement either attacking or defending or both.

    A more holistic approach instead of trying to make everyone a take on artist and letting the ones that don't excel at that become cross country and tennis kids :)
     
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  16. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    @CoachP365 All good points.

    For the forwards, I think it is more a matter of not stiffling opportunities to take opponents on rather than specific training.

    For the second point, 1v1 exercises to work on dribbling to maintain possession help in a lot of ways, building physical confidence, balance, agressiveness while working on charging and shielding.

    I like especially your last point. Coaches should allow the kids to play, be creative and find ways to express themselves within the game rather than be overly concerned with turning out cookie cutter players to fit stylized positions in a training plan. I guess another way to say it is coaches should take an individualized approach to development.
     
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  17. jmnva

    jmnva Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    I actually think it is easier to teach defending in the 1v1 battle and think of it as separate skill. My daughter could defend 1v1 amazingly but was never going to beat anyone.

    One of my favorite memories was watching blonde ponytails coming down the sideline and thinking they were going to toast my daughter on the dribble and her successfully taking the ball from them and sending a pass to midfield.
     
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  18. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    If you ask these U11 players who their favorite player is they will probably say Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Neymar. If you tell a kid not to do 1v1, they will think "but Neymar does it"... I think you should not crush the kid's dreams. Let them try to imitate their favorite player. Imitating is one way to learn.
    But to keep things proper, you can say "yes but Neymar also passes and supports his teammates"... and in reality... they all do that... they do both pass and dribble 1v1. Both are fundamentals. The thing to teach is decision making - when to do each thing. For me I say if there is space usually you dribble, and if you feel confident in your matchup with the opponent then it's ok to try 1v1. But if there is a good pass option or you are under pressure then pass. I don't think it should ever be taught that 1v1 is "garbage". It should be taught when to do it and when not to. Especially for forwards, sometimes 1v1 is the only option.

    To keep the kids' perspective realistic you could also say "and Neymar practices a ton on his own too!"... I think if any kid really puts in the time they can get pretty adept.
     
  19. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I'm not saying 1v1 is more important than anything else. But rather I'm saying it's not UNimportant, it's not bad per se, it's not garbage.

    The thing with kids these days is they see highlights on youtube of their favorite player in their best moments. I think this does skew their view. In reality most game play is fundamentals. I get it.

    If a kid sees youtube clips of Neymar doing the most showboaty things in his life, great. You can also go on youtube and see Neymar making great passes, like this:


    In reality all of these top stars, who are great at 1v1, they are smart. They have high soccer IQ. They know if there is a teammate making a good run and there is a chance to exploit the other team they will make the pass. All of these 1v1 stars are very good passers as well. My point is that it is not all or nothing. It's about what works at the moment.
     
  20. danielpeebles2

    Dec 3, 2013
    with youth, there's a balance. you want players to develop confidence, and that comes with encouraging them to develop ball control (and skills).

    you also want them to foster the idea of team work (at the very least, don't steal the ball away from your teammate, who is trying to score a goal at the moment; but get in a good position to win the ball back, or receive a pass.)

    I think it's selfish to steal the ball from your teammate, but I've never really done more than talk to a player about it. I don't know at what age you want to give them consequences for repeating the behavior, that I think, would depend on the player.
     
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  21. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Watched this yesterday on Prime Video (free there). Thanks for the suggestion @elessar78
    Interesting about German team - what separated the elites from the rung down was more small sided free play.
     
  22. jmnva

    jmnva Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Stealing something from Facebook:

    Even though I do teach skills and own a skills company, I see so many players and parents and even soccer clubs who think skills is doing tricks! Soccer has so many more aspects to be great. Striking a ball accurately, creating space with your run, a beautiful give and go, or winning a clean hard tackle takes skills. Its not always about tricks!

    This is tied to a Christano Ronaldo story:

    "When we were in training, I used to do a lot of tricks which hardly any players at the club could do. Once I was showing my skills to Scholes. After I finished, Scholes took the ball and pointed to a tree which was about 50m from where we were standing.""He said, I'm going to hit it in one shot. He kicked and hit the tree. He asked me to do the same; I kicked about 10 times, but still couldn't hit it, with that accuracy. He smiled and left. "

    Also in my last game of the day, I thought about this thread. The other team had a couple of players that could win the 1v1 but then they ran into the next defender (yippie for girls that get pressure/cover).

    I had girls that won the 1v1 and found the open space for the pass
     
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  23. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    #23 elessar78, Oct 24, 2020 at 9:52 PM
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020 at 10:24 PM
    I have the actual study. I think I posted it here as well. Those national team players weren't hyperfocused on soccer till later. I think they played other sports well into their teens. Other research at universities bears this out: most varsity athletes, irrespective of the sport, played multiple sports.

    BUT

    the documentary starts out by pointing out that Gretzky, Rice, Tom Brady, Garrincha, Rocky Marciano weren't physical outliers in their sports. So what's the takeaway? These guys weren't the prototypes.
     
  24. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    @elessar78 You have come full circle to the premise of the Talent Code. :)
     
  25. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Some takeaways I saw...
    First and foremost, it seems there is not a one size fits all path to the pros. It depends on the person, it depends on their environment, it depends on the sport.
    The other takeaways that I saw:
    * the player should sample a variety of sports before specializing (as you said)
    * there needs to be a lot of free play / unstructured play (in addition to structured learning)
    * the player needs to be curious and dedicated and I guess you could say obsessed
    * there is no way to exactly assess potential; the traditional metrics fall short / do not capture creativity which is an important component to greatness. Many athletes fall outside the mold and are somewhat rebels
    * if you are in fact a good dribbler, screw the coach - dribble!
     
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