Size & Strength or Talent

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by nca12, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. nca12

    nca12 New Member

    Trabzonspor
    Turkey
    Nov 1, 2019
    Hi,
    Soccer in USA, contrary to most other countries, depend on athleticism and unfortunately this stops the development of real soccer players. I am sure most of you experienced and witnessed smaller players being benched or not given the same opportunities as their bigger, stronger and faster counterparts. Most of the coaches in USA believe that they can get a fast and strong player and teach them soccer. Definitely speed and size are big parts of the game but not every position is the same. The argument is speed vs quickness (quickness is not only physical attribute , quick thinking and quick decision making will make the player quicker) reacting vs anticipating (if a player anticipates right they will be quicker than anyone who is reacting to a play in the game). Basically what we need from a soccer player is talent, vision, ability to read the game, anticipate, flair etc... and strength or speed cannot replace them, that is why we will never be on top in soccer if the minds do not change.

    If your kid has the talent but lacking the size, he/she will go through though times in this system but if they can stay in it and work hard, playing field will level when they are 17-18 years old.

    Any thoughts or ideas ?
     
  2. Backyard Bombardier

    Manchester United
    United States
    Jun 25, 2019
    I think the fundamental problem is that soccer simply isn’t very popular here. Its growing, but if you were to drive around the parks of any American city on a nice weekend afternoon looking for a pickup soccer game you’d be driving around for a long, long time. If you did find one, the odds are good that it’s a group of foreign exchange students.

    You could make the same argument in the inverse to international basketball, compared to the American version. Its going to be tough to compete with kids that grow up dribbling basketballs to school and play in the driveway until dinnertime when your only exposure is practice and training sessions. Its just not ingrained in the culture.
     
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  3. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    This is often framed as an "either/or" when it's really a "both". You're correct that speed, size and strength will only take you so far. But it's also true that all the ball skills in the world won't matter if you aren't athletic enough to get yourself in position to receive the ball and do something with it. Some kids are weeded out later on because they've relied on athletic abilities and that's not sufficient. Others get weeded out because they can't keep up with the speed of play at the high levels.
     
  4. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is true, but I think it's a matter of which "filter" should be applied by the system. IMHO, our system filters out kids way too early based on (usually pre-pubescent) size & speed, and then you just hope the kids in that cohort have the talent and/or natural inclination for the game.

    It would be better if we filtered less, period--but to the degree that we filter at all, look for kids with some aptitude for the technical aspects of the game, and then just let the most athletic and naturally competitive in the pool rise to the top.

    (Easier said than done, I'm sure).
     
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  5. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    I think the problem is we're weeding out kids who can't keep up with the speed of play at u7/8/9. When they could be building comfort on the ball/foot skills/1v1 tactical acumen.

    Would a 15 year old Ronaldo been given a chance here?



    Maybe because he's tall someone would have put him at striker to redirect corners/play the flick on.

    Everything I've seen indicates you can take a kid who learned foot skills/comfort on the ball young and around 15, start improving their physical characteristics.

    Especially here, where our high schools have facilities that rival professional team facilities elsewhere.

    I've seen no indication you can take a physical specimen and around 15 develop their foot skills sufficiently. Especially here, where our professional players have the skills that rival high school playground players elsewhere :)
     
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  6. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    I think size doesn't matter as you have very short professionals (Luciano Acosta 5'3") and very tall (Peter Crouch 6'7").
    Speed matters
    Quickness matters
    Everything else matters- flair, anticipation, vision, technique... it all matters. But one doesn't have to excel in all things, but excel in a few.
     
  7. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Well, in theory, every child who wants to play and advance should be given the opportunity. BUT, we're back to how do you cut and at what level?

    Let's start at U10. They play 7v7? So you're a club DoC. You have $$ for a single coach at that age. How many players do you have on the team? 10? 12? 15? 20? 30? IMO, 15 is about the practical limit. Much more and you're sacrificing playing time for everyone (there's only so many minutes to go around). Trying to herd 15-20 nine year olds by one adult isn't an easy task either.

    Sure, you could end up with enough kids for two teams, but who coaches them? Where does the money come from? We've had all of these discussions before. Yes, the kid who has ok ball skills but is slow and doesn't understand the game at nine, could be the next Messi if properly trained, but how do you see that? And the athletic, strong kid at nine could drop out at 13. But again, how do you know?

    So how do you decide which kid you keep and which kid you say "better luck next year"?
     
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  8. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's a fair question.

    I'm also thinking in terms of who gets playing time, who get picked for all-star games, extra tournaments, etc. I think all that could be distributed a bit more equitably at younger ages.
     
  9. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    Grassroots/community clubs with volunteer coaches. Or 1 day a week of paid training, volunteer coaches run a practice following the curriculum and the games on weekends. Or 1 day a week of paid training, 1 day with volunteers following a curriculum, paid coach at all the home games that weekend.

    Of course they probably need better instruction than the current USSF grassroots modules. Luckily anybody that is interested can find good resources online outside of the federation sponsored content.

    Delay the jump to select/recruited/expensive soccer for most of them until u14.

    It seems like part of the problem is parental FOMO - have to join the pre-pre-ECNL team at 8, everyone else is. So it's harder for the community club to fill rosters, maybe instead of having a u10 & u12 team they can only muster a u12 team that has 8-11 year olds. That's a huge spread at that age.

    As many as possible, as long as possible, in the right environment. We're skewed on that last one....
     
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  10. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    What does FOMO stand for?
     
  11. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Fear of missing out...
     
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  12. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    All star games I assume would be part of rec more than select. Doesn't "all star" reflect "the best of the best"? So shouldn't the kids who are better on the field get that designation? Not the kids who MIGHT develop later in life? I just don't see how you see that working.
     
  13. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    I'm glad your area not only has enough volunteer coaches, but that they're willing to put in the extra time to learn about soccer coaching. A number of years ago, DS helped at a coaches clinic our travel DoC put on for ANY interested rec coaches. Out of all the rec age groups, there's probably 20+ teams. I think four might have shown up for the clinic.

    Our local club has the reverse problem. We'll have a lot of interest in select in the younger ages (say sub U13), but around U11/U12, it starts to peter out.

    I think there's something to be said about giving an opportunity to the "better" kids. It's done in basketball, baseball, and softball that I know. Show some aptitude for the game? Come join our "travel" team. And the travel teams in those sports (at least around here) aren't "clubs". They're just individual teams. OK, they might have two, MAYBE three age groups. So why does the travel/select aspect work in those sports (no complaints about not developing, national teams do pretty well), but not in soccer?
     
  14. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If the goal is to help rec-league coaches win trophies at U-7, sure.

    One-off all-star games for kids who had a good season are fine. But in my own experience, in practice all too often they're an early recruiting tool for travel/select.
     
  15. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    So how do you want it to work?
     
  16. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    That's about what we have when we run coach training for our inhouse coaches.

    I think it cuts across all levels that things peter out around u13 - inhouse/travel/select travel.

    That's probably a book :)

    In my area, you can't pop up a team under USYS or US Club sanctioning. You need to have a club with bylaws and a board etc. The indoor facilities would let anyone in, but I think the state glommed onto the futsal places so it's only the wallball league or the city run league, which charges a slight premium for non cty based teams.

    I think select and travel are fine for the better kids joining. For example let's say there 600 8/9 year olds in my district of my state. 7 districts with +/- 200 of that number. So maybe 2 select clubs based in my district, 2 teams at u10 for each, so 12plaer roster limit * 4 = 48 select spots. *

    That sounds about right, a little under 10% "best of the best" or "90th percentile" or whatever term you want to use. The rest of those kids, keep plaing inhouse, get touches, try out again next year, or maybe tryout at u11, as some of those "best of the best" turned out to just have been "early developers"/"better at baseball"/"focusing on violin"/etc.

    Part of the problem seems to be, you get 500 kids going to "select" at 8/9, the select teams have A-F teams, and theres no price differential between the A ad F teams. It's Lake Wobegon FC - every kid is above average...but we know, that's not really the case.

    * in my state, teh select teams just enter a pool at u9/11, I don't know that there is a limit on kids. u12 and up the USYS state used to limit the select clubs to 2 teams per age but relaxed that when the brth year mandate kicked in.
     
  17. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    More like what Iceland is doing--make the pool MUCH bigger and put off the "weeding out" process as long as possible.
     
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  18. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    Going on a bit more: if the kid isn't playing on his own, that should be a big red flag that they probably aren't ready for "select" soccer. I know kids don't play outside anymore, etc, but my kids had recess at school, they played soccer everyday with other kids that wanted to play soccer, nearly all of those kids went on to select soccer, several of them are on their HS varsity teams nd getting all section honors. At a minimum you want the kids that have a ball at their feet outside of club based activities. Most of them probably take piano or violin or some instrument, they practice that every day. They practice math every day. Likewise they should touch a ball, if they want to be considered "select".

    My pet theory is that there's not a difference between most "select" and "travel" coaching - based on watching a lot of HS/USYS/USClub video on youtube.
    It's all win it/boot it/get there first or dribble until you hit the N where your 1vN skills fail, repeat.

    The kids who spend the most time with the ball become the best.

    The parents paying $3500/yr are darn sure to make their kid attend all 3 practices/week, and do the "optional" winter sessions, and futsal, etc. I've watched 2x a week travel teams with volunteer coaches who also get gym space over the winter hold their own with several "select" teams for about $3000 less per season :)

    It's why you get kids who actually play on B teams surpassing the kid who couldn't possibly join your B team, he's on the A team....getting 10 minutes every game from u11-14, then wondering how he got cut for all those B team kids at HS tryouts.

    I've seen kids develop love of the ball at 6, 8, 10, 12, 14. The current system tends to lose those 10-14 year olds.




    * in my state, teh select teams just enter a pool at u9/11, I don't know that there is a limit on kids. u12 and up the USYS state used to limit the select clubs to 2 teams per age but relaxed that when the brth year mandate kicked in.[/QUOTE]
     
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  19. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    This is the way to go. The problem with a selective process is that it provides more opportunities (more training and likelihood for advancement) for those selected and reducing opportunities for those that are not.
     
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  20. bmirak

    bmirak New Member

    Dec 20, 2019
    I think it’s all important.
     
  21. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    I would disagree in some cases. I know many of the center backs on top ECNL teams here in Region II that are just big - not even fast. They are often the most impossible players to get the ball past.

    I also know of many coaches who still put size at the front - not that I agree but I am not so certain that from a general sense that youth soccer has grown past that perception.
     
  22. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Sure, certain positions probably are better played with taller players, center back, goalie.
    Yes I agree - I see coaches still favor height. But the best player in the world is 5'7"... so I think if coaches have a holistic view they will not care about height. Even in football (gridiron) there seems to be a trend towards shorter WRs and running backs as they are more agile and can exploit open space in a way taller players can't.
     

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