Training exclusively for control or possesion

Discussion in 'Coach' started by bscinc, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    I posted this in the US Youth forum, and then I realized this may be a better palce for this post. so my apologies for cross posting.

    Our youth soccer association has hired some new trainers, and their style of playing soccer and training has the parents in an uproar. I would like to get comments from anyone who has used or experienced this style of training to see if it does make kids better players.

    Basically they claim to be teaching the Argentine style of play. I am not sure if this is the correct name or not. What it entails is possession or control soccer. They believe and are teaching the boys and girls to make short passes only, 10 yards or less, and to keep possession of the ball while moving up the field. They do not like and will not train the kids in crosses, centers, break a way's, or any kicks longer than 10 yards. They do not like passes made in the air. They do not like to risk losing the ball. The only long kick or "ball in the air" kick they allow in training is for corner kicks, and we do very little of that. They also discourage punting by the goalie, and they prefer to have the goalie throw the ball to a back who then has to dribble and control the ball up the field.

    In fact the other day we almost lost a game because we missed two penalty kicks. The trainers do no penalty kick training.

    They also train exclusively on small fields, do constant and repetitive scrimmages in about the size of a penalty box, and do no drills or scrimmages that involve long runs or passes. Our kids do not seem as fast and as in shape as other teams who practice and play on bigger fields and do long kick and runs in practice.

    The new trainers claim that by teaching constant control, they are training the kids to be better ball handlers.

    I question whether we should only be training for control and none of the other plays ot tactics I mention above.

    I would love to hear from anyone that has done this style training and how well it has worked for their kids.

    I don't want to start a heated discussion on the benefits or detriments of crosses, etc. We all have opinions on that. I am just worried we are not teaching all of the skills and tactics our kids need to compete.

    One more example, my 10 year old's team was beat badly by a team that had centering down to an art. When I asked why we don't teaching centering, the trainers said they did not think 10 year old's could learn it. Obviously they are wrong since the other team we played used centering well.

    I am more seeking comments on whether or not our kids are being trained properly.

  2. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
    This is a very intersting post. I have trained in Argentina and also trained in Germany. There is a connection between the two countries on what you would like to see the German way, and what you are seeing with those trainers Argentine/Brazil way.

    Are they Argentines?
    I will post 2 recent posts. One made from a coach named Bob and my reply. You might find them interesting

    First is Bob's post and the subject.
    "Example "tactical" instruction for young players As an extension of the tactics/decision-making thread, try this out:"

    When attacking, you can be of great support to the ball carrier if you simply find a way to exploit the gaps between the defenders. This is very visual and basic and relatively easy for even really young players to grasp. It is easy to demonstrate the utility of such positioning, and it is pretty much universal regardless of where you are on the pitch. Just find a gap between the defenders and either occupy it, or make sure that you can get to a ball sent there before any defender can.

    Now, this concept is not meant to replace 1-2-3 attacker support, but rather augment the 2nd attacker support positioning role by simplifying it so that it is easier for young players to understand, conceptualize, visualize on the match pitch, and finally relatively easy to execute."
    That is what your Argentine guys seem to be doing.

    Now my post my answer is a bit more into this kind of play. A little more complicated then a 10 yr old can get into but, later they can.

    "This is an interesting subject Bob.

    Argentina plays like that in their short game especially in the 1980's.

    It does not have to be "you must have the 4 passing options either."

    Also if you play close those gaps are very small you must be very quick into that free space, and get that pass before that gap closes. So the dribbler will pass in between the gap at times before the receiver get's there. The receiver must get there as the ball goes through.

    Also the pass must be "perfect" so the defender can't get to it. If you saw Brazil against Jamaica game. Brazil could do it, and the jamaican players could not do it when they had the ball.

    So the receiver must see a non perfect past right away. If it isn't perfect he must immediately come to the ball, and try to get it before the defender can.

    Also the passer seeing it as not a perfect pass comes to the ball. Defender get's the ball he faces an almost immediate double team.
    Most players now put themselves in a position so they can see the ball without a defender between them. That's why now you don't see the passer having to put some bend on his 15 to 20 yards passes so it can go around the defender first before it reaches the receiver.

    I must tell you I miss that bit of skill on the pass so it can get to the receive"

    Now I will get into your post to us.

    "Basically they claim to be teaching the Argentine style of play. I am not sure if this is the correct name or not."

    Yes it was but that is not quite entirely accurate. Brazil does it as well. Need the skills and quickness to do it well.

    "What it entails is possession or control soccer. They believe and are teaching the boys and girls to make short passes only, 10 yards or less, and to keep possession of the ball while moving up the field."

    Yes, if they can do it they can beat pressure that normally they wouldn't be able to beat. There speed of play will be very fast. To play an even better game they should always look to make the break out pass the longer pass when they see it.

    Great training for your backs when they are pressured.

    "They do not like and will not train the kids in crosses, centers, break a way's, or any kicks longer than 10 yards."

    They are trying to teach a hard way to play. Once they have it down. They will have great confidence with the ball at their feet. it offers a lot of close support to team mates on attack. You never want a player to be isolated from a team mate. That is not going to happen if you train this way.

    Brake aways are part of the Argentine game now. What was part of the Argentine game in the 1980's were fast restarts. You can get break ways from a fast restart. Easy exercise to practice that as well.

    Also on long balls Argentines are mostly smaller players physically. Over all they are not going to beat people on headers. You can beat anybody a small against big if you do near post headers. Because your not beating the player on the jump, your beating the player into space on that near post. I guess they can't teach everything now. So they work on the short and inside game first.

    "They do not like passes made in the air."

    Honestly, neither do I. They are harder to control. Keep the ball down you can control it faster and you can put thought on your pass. You can put the ball where you thing your team mate would put it on their first touch. Then if in range he can immediate take a shot where normally he had to touch to a place where he can take a shot,

    "They do not like to risk losing the ball."

    I know what your thinking you can not be afraid of losing the ball. Sometimes you have to take risk of losing the ball to make a genius play.

    I think they mean being confident with the ball. So they think no one can take the ball off them.

    "They also discourage punting by the goalie, and they prefer to have the goalie throw the ball to a back who then has to dribble and control the ball up the field."

    Actually, I agree with that. A punt takes to long to get off. Count the seconds out loud from the time the keeper touches the ball see how long a punt takes comparing it to a throw. Punts takes more time. Then look at the accuracey. How many times does a team mate get the ball from a throw compared to a punt? Throws are higher percentage. But now a ten year old keeper does not get much distance on the throw. But he can take a lot of steps now before the throw he should do that at this age.

    "In fact the other day we almost lost a game because we missed two penalty kicks. The trainers do no penalty kick training."

    They should do a little. They are probably just concentrating on the bigger picture right now.

    Certain players can do pks and others can't do them. Just taking them might not be the way to find the guy. You guys play friendly games right as the opposing coach if the game ends in a draw lets go into pk instead of ending in the draw. Good way to find out you can do them and who can't.

    "They also train exclusively on small fields, do constant and repetitive scrimmages in about the size of a penalty box, and do no drills or scrimmages that involve long runs or passes."

    Most of my training is in small spaces. When they get good in those spaces I shrink the space even more. Do other exercises as well, but i train men.

    I also work my attack on a half field then work are way into play in the area. When we are numbers down. I work on holding the ball and working it around on crosses the German way. The way you want them right? It is rehearsed play with a lot of repetition. The more you do the same things the better you get doing that same thing.

    Also within that we attack in side the way the Argentines attack in side we do a lot of rehearsed play even with that. So we do both.

    "Our kids do not seem as fast and as in shape as other teams who practice and play on bigger fields and do long kick and runs in practice."

    Really? How are your guys quickness. This kind of play requires player quickness. Quickness and speed are not the same. 50/50 ball win them takes quickness and not speed. Dribbling and passing is much more tiring then running without the ball. It is very tiring and frustrating for the players on the opponents team trying to win the ball.

    "The new trainers claim that by teaching constant control, they are training the kids to be better ball handlers."

    I agree with that.

    "I question whether we should only be training for control and none of the other plays ot tactics I mention above."

    Once you can have that kind of confience with the ball. Later on they can learn anything because they know they hold the ball against pressure.

    "I would love to hear from anyone that has done this style training and how well it has worked for their kids."

    Now you have I am not there to actually watch them train, but what they are doing if they can do it will make them really good players. Not your average American born player.

    "I don't want to start a heated discussion on the benefits or detriments of crosses, etc. We all have opinions on that. I am just worried we are not teaching all of the skills and tactics our kids need to compete."

    You will get there. I like the start these guys are giving them now. In every game there is small sided play near the ball. They have to be able to hold the ball in that play. Until they can make the break out pass.

    I think they are being trained properly if your from south america. It is a good way to start makeing exceptional players.

    Do they do an 1 v 1 training to beat the defender? They should do that as well.


  3. ToLo

    ToLo New Member

    May 23, 2001
    a little of both

    The beautiful thing about soccer is that there are several different styles of play.
    What your association is obviously undergoing is the introduction of a new style of play. In the end there is no one style better than the other. Teams can win with either style.
    ask yourself this, what do I want? or more importantly what does my child want from soccer?
    If he/she wants to become a better player it is imperative that they learn all aspects of the game.
    You seem to think that the new coaches lack long ball tactics but certainly if the short possession game is new than obviously you guys were missing an important element of a well-rounded game. Being one-dimensional, whether its short passing or long ball will eventually catch up to a team and leave them behind. Also, and I know this is hard, but try not to place too high a premiem on wins and losses at that age. What is most important for a young developing player is whether or not they are developing the fundamental skills.
    For example a team with the fastest player in the league could win a slew of games by simply bunkering in with 10 and playing the long ball to the one speedy front runner, but who benefits from those wins? The other 10 obviosly aren't getting any better technically or tactically.
    Don't let the angry mob tar and feather the new coaches, embrace what they are teaching and work, even if its on your own with your child on any other elements you feel he is lacking from his/her practice.
  4. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Thanks to both posters.

    I appreciate your comments. Most of our parents are not cut throats; we are interested in good play and improvement. We do like to win, but we realize it is not everything.

    My concern about our new style of practice is the repetitiveness and monotony on it for one thing. Many of the players ahve complained about doing the same thing every practice. Did I mention in my earlier posts that we have 2 practices a week for 1.5 hours each and that 1 hour of each practice is spend on the small field scrimmage and controlling technique.

    As an example of what is driving us parents crazy, is that my daughter's team can not execute a break a way. That is in last Saturday's game they had 11 times a forward or mid got the ball ahead of the defenders and drove to goal. With no one in front of them the five girls that made these runs lost the ball by dribbling out of bounds, tripping on the ball, or making a goal kick too far from the goal to be any good. Every game goes like this. We must lost 2 or 3 points \per game because no one on the team can make a long, fast run with the ball. they are U12 by the way.

    So we have asked the trainers to practice this a little. It seems to us an obvious problem that needs correcting.

    They said no. They do not want to encourage break a ways so they won't train the girls in doing them. I think break aways like funbles in American football happen, and you had better practice some for them in order to take advantage of a situation. After all in American football, no one fumbles as a tactic. But you still practice for them. The same it seems to me should apply to break aways.

    Back to my main point, I am concerned we are spending too much time on control and not enough on other skills. We never practice throw ins. We rarely practice penalty kicks. We hardly ever practice headers.
  5. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Short Passes

    A very interesting post.

    Well, at least to me, because I have a 10 year old boy who plays on a team with a short-passing, control-oriented style. An unusual style for U.S. youth soccer.

    First, I think you coaches are spot on in their emphasis. Spain & Brazil vs. U.S. 17s highlighted the effectiveness of the short passing, control style and U.S. deficiencies in playing this type of game. It is not hard to add long passes and crossing after learning a short game, but it is damn hard to learn short passing after being raised on long passes and crossing. And as shown by Brazil at all ages of play, it is damn hard to beat a great short passing team with a different style if athleticism is equal between the two squads.

    Second, your parents should be reassured that it is possible to win -- and win big -- at the current age of 10 with this style. My son's U11 team is the #1 ranked boys team in the country according to by playing this style, Now, you can argue about the accuracy of such rankings, but there is no question that his team is a very strong U.S. boys U11 team. And they don't do it on athleticism, typically being smaller and somewhat slower than the other top teams. (Our team has never practiced PKs, either, or throw ins, although they have recently spent a little time on corner kicks.

    Third, while I don't know much about Argentinian traning methods (OK, I know nothing) this approach is very much along the lines of a "Spanish Youth Coaching" book that I picked up. That author very much advocated a staged approach to training, with initial emphasis being short play, then crosses, and finally -- at age 14! -- heading.

    I will say that your guys seem extreme. While our kids do in practice keep most of their passes to 10 yards or less, they certainly can pass effectively at longer distances and will do so when the situation warrants. Also, they cross effectively. We have several players than can play 20 to 30 yard balls with the appropriate weight from the side of the field to a player in the box, so it is nonsense to say that 10 year olds can't cross effectively.

    Those last caveats aside, I would much prefer my son to be training with your team than the vast majoirty of (even good) youth soccer teams that are out there. I think that from what you write that your team is in excellent hands, both for winning now and for their long-term development.
  6. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
  7. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I rarely ever worked on throw-ins. With U-littles, it's something they need about one practice on, so that new players have an idea what to do when the ball goes out. With older kids, we may do some throw-ins as part of the warm up. I didn't start heading instruction until U12. Some kids tried - some very successfully, and some were afraid of the ball. I liked to have contests at the end of practice, and occasionally use PKs as the contest. It gave everyone a chance to take them, while everyone was well warmed up and tired - like in a game situation.

    I suspect that part of the problem may be the 90 minutes practice for 10 years old. That's a long time for a short attention span - particularly if they are doing the same thing over and over. At U10, I like to do games and contests that develop soccer skills. I do like the small sided games and emphasis on control. PKs and wins are not that important. One of the things a coach should do after each game is determine what the team needs to work on next. I would be working on break aways if the team continues to miss them.

    If there are things you thing you or your kids should be working on, use your own time to work on them. If your daughter would get three of her teammates and work on 1vkeeper a couple of afternoons, I'm sure they could see some improvement. Or just two of you in the back yard or a park. Have them play MLS Shootout!
  8. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Thanks again to all of the posters. You have valid points.

    But again I am concerned that the only thing we practice is control and dribbling on small fields. LEt me say again, the only thing we practice id control.

    The first effect I see is that the kids are bored with this. The second effect is that the kids are losing enthusiasm for soccer because they are losing. I am not concerned about the score, but more about how they play. The kids though would like to win once in a while.

    I have found out from a parent at a club in another county that all of our competitive teams have been labelled as the "no shoot" teams. All of the other clubs in this county simply put 4 players on defense to stop or slow down our players, then flood the area around the ball handler to prevent any forward play. Since we won't take long shots or try sjooting in the air to get over the heads of the defenders, these clubs stop forward paly. And these clubs do this for our U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U15, and U16 boys and girls teams. We basically have no aggressive offense play at all age groups.

    A typical game is one in which we control the ball well and get it slowly but methodically forward. If we get lucky and manage to a ball to a forward, the player heads to a corner and makes a ground shot on the goal. Of course there is no score. The kids have not been taught to center to the top of the 18 or to put one in the air for a header. At U10 maybe they can't, although I see other teams do it. But by U16 they ought to be able to do this. I have seen boys at U16 chewed out in practice for doing just this. I thought it was fgood soccer. Teh trainers don't.

    Or in a game we might get a break a way and the player loses the ball because they never have had to run fast and long in practice with it.

    I worry that the trainers are trying to turn the kids to control experts, and the kids need to learn more than just control. This is true for the 10 year olds up to the 16 year olds.

    A typical practice is to have warm ups, to discuss the previous weeks game and what we did wrong, and then to go practice more control for an hour or more. There is no attempt to work on the previous game's weaknesses. There is no attempt to correct problems with throw ins, etc. etc.

    We have competitive teams playing in tough leagues. I see other teams correctly executing skills and plays even at the U10 level. I don't see us doing this. I do not object to the emphasis on control. I know the kids need it. I object to the total emphasis at practice being on control. Again we are only practicing control.
  9. JohnW

    JohnW Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    St. Paul
    Soccer is control. That's the game.

    Even if you play a very direct style (over the top or through balls), it still requires players to be able to control the ball--both the weight of the pass and receiving.

    So if a kid dribbles the ball over the endline on a break-away, then he or she doesn't really have control of the ball. The remedy for this, of course, is lots of ball work--which it seems like your new trainers are doing.

    Now, that said, I have both trained and played with players and coaches from other countries (some Latin America, mostly Africa). I have observed and experienced one aspect of what you seem to be describing: an unwillingness to adjust methods to adapt to an American audience. The mindset seems to be, "We know the game better than you do, so listen and learn."

    An example: I've worked out with a group of North Africans. The typical workout is about 30 minutes of jogging and stretching. Then a good 45 minutes to hour of juggling, one-touch and keep away. That's followed by short-sided scrimmages with emphasis on controlled passing, field switching and defensive support. All concluded with a spirited scrimmage. Rinse, repeat.

    For me, it's a challenge to play to their level.

    At the same time, I can see how youth players growing up in this culture would find that type of practice quite boring--which it sounds like some of your players are experiencing. Further, I also believe that there is always a subtle pressure to win (sometimes very overt), even at the youth level.

    So it's surprising to me that they haven't made adjustments yet. Although, again, to go back to my African friends, they are often quite frustrated by the lack of control that American-born players often exhibit.

    So what to do?

    I suggest talking to the club director or director of player development (assuming he's not one of the new trainers). If your players stick with the program of controlled passing, ultimately they'll become better all-around soccer players. But that won't help if they quit because of their frustration level.

    It's also a good teaching lesson for your son or daughter. You can model good behavior by talking to the coach/trainer but supporting him to the kids. Then, at the end of the season (and you should do this regardless of where your trainer hails from), you should sit down with your kids and ask them what they learned during the season and whether they want to keep playing.

    If they aren't enjoying themselves or they don't feel like they understand the game better and can't execute skills like passing, trapping, moving into space, etc. better than they did at the outset of the season, then it's time to look for another club.

  10. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

    Sep 29, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    JohnW makes the key point. The technical emphasis your trainers have is excellent, but they do not know how to run a practice to keep the kids focused and interested - at least American kids.

    Here's a non-soccer analogy. My daughter is on a 5th-grade school volleyball team. At the beginning of the year, the coach told the kids and parents she was not interested in winning at this level. The goal was to teach them skills and how to play properly so that the girls would win at the varsity (7th/8th grade) level. This went so far as to criticizing the team after a win because the team had not passed the ball around enough. Even though the team has a losing record, the coach has kept their morale high by constanly complimenting the players and being a very enthusiastic person - and by constantly reminding them that the goal was to win at the older level

    If the coach had said the same things, but was aloof and had a superior attitude ("My way is the best way"), the kids would be demoralized and would probably quit.

    The issue for your club/association is that kids have a choice. There are not 10,000 kids aching to play with these trainers. The ones who do learn the control game first will probably leave to go to another club where they can learn new concepts and skills and you will be stuck with the less talented ones.

    By the way, you should tell the trainers you thought the only way Argentines could score was by using their hands (sorry - couldn't resist!).
  11. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL

    Bsinc -

    Youth soccer coaches have many virtues but "listening and responding to customer feedback" is generally not among them. I doubt that you'll have any luck getting them to change their ways.

    Here's what I think is going on. Your coaches -- like almost all foreign coaches -- are running practices on the assumption that your kids are soccer aside from practice. Because that's how things work outside the U.S. The kids hone their basic dribbling & ball skills in their spare time, then the coaches teach them how to use these skills in game situations, by playing faster.

    Now, if your kids aren't in fact playing much soccer outside of practice, there are two problems. One, they don't have the basic skills that your coaches assume that they have. (Such as dribbling at high speed with the ball on a breakaway.) Two, because your coaches' practices are strictly controlled, the kids never have a chance to just play and have fun.

    Believe me, our team is trained in a very similar fashion to yours and things work out just fine. But our kids also have the raw skills going into the practices (with any number of kids being able to dribble at high speed past defenders, or able to strike 20-yard line drives toward the far post), and the kids mess around and play in other formats. To them, the official practices are like vitamins -- necessary for them to improve their game, and something that they're willing to take, but not in and of themselves a great deal of fun. But that's OK with them.
  12. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Re: Training

    I think you have hit the nail on the head. The trainers have occasionally expressed frustration with some of the kids' lack of dedication to soccer.

    I think you are absolutely right about our kids not playing soccer outside of practice. We are in a very affluent neighborhood with few playgrounds and few open spaces. My kids and the other players are as interested in video games, girls, boys, cars, rock music, or whatever depending on their age and gender as they are in soccer. I get my kids out for an hour a week and work with them, trying to make this a fun session. (Not hard if the game is "let's beat dad.") But other than this, they don't play any informal "kick around".

    The sad thing is I have tried to get other parents to bring their kids out for a parent/kid game or just for pick up games among the kids, and only two families want to do it. I have even offered to drive the kids and supervise them. No luck. The sad thing is not that the kids miss a chance at more practice that would help them, which this would, but that most kids seem to enjoy pick up games that have little adult intervention. The parents don't realize that these pick up types of games are the most fun kids can have in soccer. No pressure from coaches or parents. No substitutions because everyone plays. No worry about scoring. I refuse to keep score during these games. By the way the only input I have is to make sure the teams are balanced and that everyone reasonably plays most positions. Otherwise I let the kids ref the game, and I only intervene if there is something the kids can not resolve.

    Last year I coached a U12 girls rec team. We were terrible. There were a lot of new girls who had never kicked a ball before. Some could not run. Others were very timid. After two formal practices with all of the right drills or exercises, I realized they were not having fun, and I was not making much progress. So once a week we played 7 v 7 on a full field with little input from me. I just let the girls play. I stopped them every 10 minutes for water and to catch their breath, and only then did I do coaching. But only on a few things and only for about a minute.

    The girls loved it. Within a couple of games, the girls running abilities grew, and soon they could go 20 minutes without stopping. For about 6 weeks we did this. The other practice was your typical small field dribbling, shooting, etc.

    After 6 weeks their enduranced had improved, their kicking skills and aggression picked up, and over all their interest level and enthusiasm was better than when I was just doing a typical practice. Interestingly they asked to stop the scrimmage because they began to realize how badly they played, and they wanted more drills to improve.

    I figure the season was a success because they had fun. I am not sure how much real socccer skills they learned from me, but at least they could dribble around other players. They tried to pass, sometimes successfully. The won a couple of games. They could play an entire half and not get winded after 5 minutes. But the biggest indication of success was all seemed to love the game, and all are registered to play again this year.

    I mention this about the rec team not to say this is the way to coach competitive soccer but to say I think you are right that our kids don't play enough outside of practice and to say I think they would love it if they did.
  13. uniteo

    uniteo Member+

    Sep 2, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well if you are this upset with how the teams train and play perhaps you should look into another club.

    Personally I agree with this training method, especially at this age. Your trainers are attempting to instill a system that takes a lot longer to learn than what is typically coached in youth soccer...but your players will individually be far more skilled and once the team learns the system they will be able to compete even against teams that have a physical advantage.

    At this age I spend almost no time on throw-ins, don't do anything more than show them proper heading (so they don't hurt themselves) until they're 12 or so, and don't practice penalties at all. Dribbling, turning, shielding, passing, these are skills the players will use at every position, at every level of play.

    Frustration with losing is not good, but I wonder how much it is affected by parents who (from your description) clearly do not care for the new coaching style and let their kids know as much.
  14. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    But you do teach some throw-in skills. My point, which seems to be missed by many, is that our trainers refuse to teach anything else but control. You have to teach kids something about the rules and techniques of the game other than control. Even if you spend only 5 minutes a season on throw in techniques, you do teach this.

    You also wrote:
    Do you mean by this you do not teach any shooting skills? Again I am not for constant shooting practices, but I do think by 10 and certainly by 12 the players should have some instruction on how to kick properly, what part of the net to aim for, which are good positions on the field to shoot from and which are not. This does not have to take much time at all.

    But the kids, not the parents, are very frustrated by the following: pass the ball to one player, who is the best dribbler on the team, who tries to take the ball to the goal, but can't penetrate, and then gets turned outside, only to shoot from around the corner flag, where an old lady by herself in a wheel cahir can defend the goal.

    What is the "official" message to my kids: Don't pass the ball to this player. He will only lose it. By official message my son thinks this is what the coach is allowing? So he thinks what good is dribbling if you make a bad shoot.

    I tell him to separate the dribbling from the shooting. Look how well the player moved the ball. Wouldn't you like to be able to move the ball like him or her? My ten year old says, "Why? I'd only waste the shot." My kid, like many kids, see the ends not the means.

    My point is American kids, rightly or wrongly, do not see the value of dribbling unless it leads to a score. Let me emphasize I do not teach them this. Most of the parents that I know do not emphasize this. I have rarely hear one of our parents complain about scores whether we win or lose.

    But the kids for whatever reason are only motivated by scoring or shooting. You can argue this all day whether you think this is right or wrong. I guarantee this is how the kids think.

    My point? If you want to teach the kids to be better dribblers and controllers, you had better tie this skill to scoring or at least shooting. If kids think dribbling and control will lead to shooting and scoring, they will practice this.

    (As an aside maybe it is the difference in Latin cultures or at least how kids are brought up in regards to soccer. I have watched many Latin kids playing around us, and they delight in getting past a defender. The North American kids delight in scoring. It seems the Latin kids see the means, i.e. better dribbling as a success to be achieved. It seems the North American kids see a ball in the back of a net as the success. Watch a bunch of kids prior to a game and before a coach or trainer shows up. Typically, but not always, Latin kids juggle; North American kids shoot at the net. Without any adult intervention, this just happens. Before a game if the coach is not there yet, I try to get my kids to warm up by doing things that emphasize ball handling. they jsut want to go out and shoot on the goal with their friends.)

    Please do not misunderstand what I am saying though. I do not mean you have to practice scoring and shooting as much as dribbling and controlling and related skills. However if you only practicing dribbling and controlling and the players are not shooting and scoring occasionally in a game, you will not motivate them.

    In other words if the players see themselves as practicing a skill that may benefit them 5 or 10 years from now, but they do not see the benefit to next week's game, they will be lackadaisical in practice.

    All I am asking is for the trainers to spend a little time at a practice helping the kids feel they are progressing. An hour's practice at dribbling will not show an immediate benefit in next week's game. 5 minutes spend on the last games mistakes, like making a proper throw in, would help my daughter's team keep the ball a lot more and show immediate improvement and motivate the kids. On my 10 year old's team if they could teach our 2 forwards not to shoot from the corner and lose the ball, it would go far to improve the moral of the team.

    These are only two little examples. The trainers should try to give the kids some concrete skills that the kids can see an immediate benefit from. Show them they can improve with little things and still spend most of your time on the big things, ie control. I fear we are losing too many kids who drop out by 12 or 13 because they see no benefit to the practices that only stress dribbling, and they find practices boring.

    Please note to all of those who say the fault is the parents' wanting to win. My biggest problem, and most of the parents echo the same sentiment, is that it gets harder and harder as the season goes along to get the kids to practice. By the end of the season, all I hear is "I don't want to go. We keep doing the same thing." Yet all three of my kids love to play. Something is wrong here.

    The parents frustration is not with the win/ lose record or even the coaching style. We are frustrated that we see kids who obviously love soccer slowly losing interest. We are frustrated with the lack of any attempt to motivate the kids. My 15 year old, when he was younger, use to love to go out and just kick around with me. Now he doesn't want to go. He says why bother; coach yells at him for not dribbling more. We can argue all day long about control, dribbling, etc, about how to practice and how to best play soccer, but when it comes right down to it, I am worried he, like many former team mates, have lost the love of the game because he is being force to practice and play in a style he does not understand, and no one is trying to explain that style nor motivate him to learn it.
  15. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
    I have reading your posts on both the coaches and the youth soccer parts of this board.

    Let's go back to the beginning you have two trainers and you have a coach. What is the coach of your kids doing? Nothing?

    I will tell you what he should do. You take the weaknesses you saw in the players individually and you take the weakness you saw as a team and you work on them in practice. That is what he should be doing. Your trainers are doing somethiong else. Make another practice day and the coach works on their weaknesses that he saw.

    Work on your finishing. Work on that players patience after she gets pushed away on her goal on attack. Where is her back support? She needs those players so she does not have to lose the ball.

    Let him work on those things. On crossing the ball do they know what a cut back pass is? Let them do that until they learn how to cross and head the ball in the air.

    All the opponents backs are back what to do? Work the attack underneath those backs to your trailing players.

    Work on their shooting. More important that that now is get your attackers to do something that will get the opponents keeper to move. Then just pass the ball into goal where the keeper was before you got him to move.

    A lot of things you want the trainers to teach them the coaches can teach them.

    Plus you pay the trainers right? You ask them to teach the players something and they refuse. Tell them do it or don't come back anymore. That's it end of story what's the problem?

    You can always get a good division one college player to show them exactly what you think is important. There a dime a dozen.
    Since you are hot on throw ins. Here is a good how to do on the flip throwin from a guy named Daniel. You can be in charge of that. Study it first then practice it until you can do it yourself, then teach it.

    "I received a post from a guy named Daniel. He did them, and has a very good step by step on this move. It sounds very difficult, and is very difficult to do without a gymnastic background. Well good luck and stay healthy."Most of the power from the flip throw-in comes from the extension in the
    back and the rotation generated from the body's motion.

    Some players
    can throw to the far post when in the offensive third of the field.Although ideally you want to start by teaching the player how to do this
    technique with good form, which is the way to get the maximum distance,
    the first thing you have to deal with is the player's fear in doing this
    the first time. I must have made 20 or 30 runs up to the side line
    before I got the courage to go over all the way.A couple of things make this procedure difficult. First, you don't get
    to place your hands in the spacing you normally would when doing a front
    hand spring, straight up above the shoulders. Obviously, the spacing of
    the hands will be a little shorter than the width of the ball.

    second difficulty is placing the hands on the ball where you'll actually
    be able to "launch" the ball after the flip is made and also not slide
    off the ball when inverted. Sliding off the ball when inverted is the
    scariest thing, as it would probably be pretty easy to break a wrist.
    However, there is very little risk when the hand placement is correct.For me, I hold the ball in such a way that my thumbs are an inch apart
    over the top of the ball when the ball hits the ground. The rest of my
    fingers are spread as much as possible around the outside of the ball
    and pointed fairly forward but still a little to the sides. You may
    have to modify the distance between the thumbs for the size of the ball
    and the size of the player's hands.For the first few times, it would be best to "spot" the player. To do
    this, stand to the side of where the player will do the throw-in. You
    want the player to point exactly where s/he will place the ball down on
    the ground. Push down the grass there or make some other recognizable
    spot. You want to be squatting with the leg closest to the spot and
    have the other leg kneeling. Position yourself directly to the side of
    the spot and a half foot forward. As the player goes over, you simply
    want to put your palm and inside forearm under their back and help them
    land on their feet. Note: you may actually be catching the player if
    they don't go after this technique full force. Spot the player for a
    few times and then assist less and less until s/he gets the confidence
    to do this by her/himself.

    Some of you are probably thinking this is far too risky to perform. If
    you've already got a gymnast on your team, they've done things much more
    riskier in that sport. When the first "D" moves came out in gymnastics,
    we used to call those moves the ones you could "D"ie on if done
    incorrectly (note: that's not why the federation called them "D" moves,
    we called them that, because they were extremely difficult). I wouldn't
    let anyone less then 12 or 13 try this throw-in.

    Anyway, the flip-throw can actually be easier to execute than a regular
    front hand-spring. What you are doing is using the ball as a platform
    which gives you more time to land on your feet. You want to land with
    your legs as straight as possible but with a slight bend. The more bent
    your legs are when landing, the better the chances are that the ball
    will be directed either straight up (totally under-rotated flip) or
    totally flat or straight in the ground (over-rotated with legs bent a
    lot).Allow the arms to follow in an arc as the feet are landing and have the
    player release the ball over her/his head. It may take a few times for
    the player to get used to releasing the ball with as much force as is
    built up.Being able to use the muscles in the lats on the push off and having
    good back extension helps execute this throw-in.Daniel"
  16. JohnW

    JohnW Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    St. Paul
    Here it is. End of story.

    I can't believe in a metro area the size of Tampa that there isn't another club you can take your kids to where they will get the things you are looking for.

    Spend some time interviewing coaches and clubs yourself. Go watch another U-10, U-12 team (find an area tournament) and look for a group of kids who are doing the things you think your kids should be doing.

    Ask the coach/es if you can come watch a practice. Then if you see the things that you envision for your kids, get your kids involved in that club.

    I agree partially with your premise that kids who don't enjoy playing won't play. Actually, at the younger levels, I agree almost totally. If they don't enjoy it, eventually they'll quit.

    At the older levels, there's a lot more going on than just not liking the coach. Most participation sports lose players at that 14-15-16 age group. It's partly a function of other interests, partly a function of natural selection and partly a function of our culture which values watching sports (or simulating involvement via video games) more than participating.

    As far as getting kids just to play soccer, now that's a can of worms.

    I know a few clubs that have combined age group open play on some nights to encourage "just playing." A coach or two monitors for obvious fouls and/or any poor sportsmanship, but otherwise the kids play without any instruction.

    There's also nothing wrong with just having the few parents and kids who like playing getting together. (Although it sounds like you might have a tough mix of age groups and genders.) But I've spent many a night playing 4 v 4 with a pair of shoes serving as a goal.

    But to go back to uniteo's original point: if you're not happy, and you've spoken with coach or club director, then it's time to find a different environment for your kids.

  17. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    The coach was transfered from our area to southern Georgia. He is still the coach because he is a good friend with the VP of competitive soccer for our club. The coach shows up for games. Not for practices. The assistant coach has a coaching license and many years of competitive coaching experience. The trainers refuse to work with the assistant coach or allow him any input for practices. In fact he has been notified he will not be assistant coach next year which is a shame because he is great on discipline, ie not letting the boys run over him, and he knows soccer. We finished last year rather poorly based on playing abilitiy, not scores, and he trained the boys for the first half of the season. The boys responded well to him and played very well. From June to August, you would not have recognized the team, they played that well. Once our trainers took over, the boys play has gone down.

    I suspect after reading all of these posts, that the trainers methods of practicing dribbling control, etc, are correct, but the real cause of the boys frustration is the trainers themselves. It is not what is practiced as much as how the rpactice is conducted.

    Several of the dads with coach licenses have tried this. We have even done voluntary individual training to work on specific problems. The trainers found out about this and have told us to stop or risk getting kicked out of the club. They refuse to let anyone train the kids without their permission. We will be removed from te club if we hire an approved personal trainer. We can not even use the practice fields during non practice times.

    I have gone to the trainers after games that they did not attend to offer a critique or observations of a game, and they refuse to talk with me. Other dads have tried the same, including a dad with extensive competitive coaching experience, and all have been rebuffed.

    You would think that is how things work, but not with this club, or more specifically with the current VP of competitive teams. Any coach who has challenged the trainers, any coach who has asked for more say in the training, any coach who has spoken up at all about anything has been removed. Any parent who has complained has been asked to leave. We have 20 teams in our club. 6 coaches have been asked to leave. You would think this would tell someone something.

    We as parents are no longer allowed on the practice fields, which is not so bad in some ways, but we are allowed only to watch from about 100 yards away. It used to be a practice that when traffic was really bad, parents would stay and watch practices and socialize. Now no one does because it is to hard to see anything.

    Our obvious choice is to move to another club. Here in Tampa that is easier said than done. The next closest club is about 45 minutes driving time. With 3 kids that would add 9 hours of driving each week. Plus each kid would lose 1.5 hours twice a week. With school work that is tough. And all of their school buddies and neighborhood friends are on the teams.

    I apologize to everyone following this thread this far. I started out to find out if the trainers are teaching correct methods of soccer. I have found out they are. So I am sorry this thread has really digressed in to a complaint about the trainers.

    Thanks o everyone who has contributed becuase you ahve answered my original question.

    On a different note, you said, "Since you are hot on throw ins." I used the example of the poor throw ins, (or more accurately the throw in was placed properly right down the line but the girl receving the ball made a poor first touch), to illustrate that our players feel frustrated by a glaring deficiency during game play, and our trainers will not address this. I have talked to the coaches about my observations. It would take only 5 or ten minutes of training once to fix this problem. It is really a simple problem with a simple fix. The coaches agree, but they are afraid to bring up to the trainers. I have been discretely working with individual girls before and after games on their throw in first touches. Once shown a proper way to receive a side line throw in, a girl rarely makes the mistake again. I brought it up not to suggest the need for throw in training as much to illustrate the mind set of the trainers.

    Thanks for the advice on the flip throw. I am convinced I would need an ambulance present before I would try it. Maybe younger or agile players would want to try.
  18. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
    A good coach would never work for a club under those conditions. The trainers help with the team they do not coach the team. A coach can also be a trainer.

    If I was that coach or even that assitant coach I would bail out of doing that team because they are not really coaching that team. Let the trainers go to the game and deal with this.

    Who ever gave that much power to the trainers should be removed from the club.

    Trainers get that much power and are paid there players must produce in games or who needs them.

    Find another club for your daughter next season. What are the records of all the teams in your club if not this year last year. What level of play are your teams at the highest league level or some where else.

    It is a little to crazy for my taste at your club.
  19. bscinc

    bscinc New Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    The new head trainer's title is Director of Coaching or DOC.

    I will quote below from the email sent to the parents:

    "The DOC owns the teams, not the coaches. The DOC will make all decisions regardin play, with input from the assistant DOC's. Coaches will organize and run the adminsitration of the teans and be responsible for excuting the DOC's directions. When the DOC is unavailable for games, which will happen often given teh nubmer of teams we have, the coaches will follow the DOC's directions for conduct of the game, allowing for injuries and conditioning of the kids."

    When I read this at the beginning of the season, I was struck by the tone. I have never heard of this before. Since August, when this came out, the parents have started saying DOC means Dictator of Coaching, not Directo of Coaching.

    It is particulalry upsetting because before this happened, a coach was responsible for the team, and a parent could talk to the coach about any problems. Now the almighty DOC calls the shots, and the coaches have little say in anything. If a parent does not like something, he or she has to talk to the DOC. The DOC of course has his hands full with 20 teams, so his pat answer to everything is, "Do you have the soccer experience I do? We are professionals. Leave it to us."

    I know parents can be a pain about things. But we have lost all accountability in this club. Another example: after registration, some teams were assigned a 4:30 pm practice time. In the past all practices started at 5:30 pm. The new practice times are impossible for single parents and some couples to make. The traffic is bad here, and many families can not get to practice that early due to work hours. Several single moms have asked for help, only to be told, "Like it or leave it." Well they have no choice. They are removing their kids from soccer. They also asked for their money back, which is sizeable, only to be told they are too late and have past the deadline for refunds. Currently they are organizing a law suit for recovery of their funds. Many of our friends have moved their kids to other clubs, and we probably will too. It is too late to do it for this season.

    The sad think about all of this is that I can not get enough reasonable people to go to board meetings to try to change this. I have gone, but I am only one voice of dissent to many of these things. Without others to restore some sense of reason and fun to the program, the club will only continue down hill.
  20. Bleacherbutt

    Bleacherbutt New Member

    May 1, 2001
    Rochester, NY
    What part of "Change clubs" don't you understand? It sounds like your club's management is arrogant and not accountable to anyone but themselves. Do you think you are doing your kids any favors by harboring festering resentment toward the club as you drive them back and forth to practices and games. It's time to kick'em to the curb in my book.
  21. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001

    I always have a problem with the creditability of posters who add problems as the posts build up. It just seems to me to be a very sophisticated troll.

    None the less, I'll bite. If you are talking about training methods, I like teaching very young players a ball control game. Learning ball control is something like learning a foriegn language - it's easier when you are younger. Your coaches sound technically sound, but tactically and personally tone deaf. You can play control against kick and run teams, you just have to adjust your defenses to it. Plus, of course you may counter attack. These guys just need a good ass kicking to develop some personality. So, I have no problem with the concept, but the ham handed execution leaves me cold.

    As for your DOC, sounds like it's my way or the highway. You need to quit crying and do something.
  22. dc1955

    dc1955 New Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    Re: Troll?

    Finally the thread is heading in the right direction. Bscinc's posts have been too bizare for words.

    We don't practice throw-ins....
    We don't practice break aways....
    The trainers are making us too slow....

    These are affluent people in Florida who don't have any open space for their kids to play. These affluent people are also very willing to pay money for thier kids to be trained by people they find arrogant, don't like, and don't produce results.

    Anybody else find this strange?
  23. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Re: Re: Troll?

    Not me -- well, except for the "don't product results" part. For the most part, U.S. youth soccer offers - a) A nice incompetent dad as trainer, or b) A professional trainer who does a much better job but has a huge attitude. Professional soccer trainers do not, shall we say, have a customer-oriented attitude.
  24. dc1955

    dc1955 New Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    Re: Re: Re: Troll?

    Exactly my point. The first two attributes (arrogance and likability) are not nescessary for a trainer. When combined with lack of results, it almost universally means "adios" to the trainers.
  25. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    My thoughts exactly.

    As I once told a referee, " I can accept competent and nasty, or I can accept incompetent and nice, but I'll be damned if I'll accept incompetent and nasty! ".

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