Alex Moreau Mrs. Corbett Senior Project 4/2/12 Youth Soccer Coach For the past twelve years I have played and instructed in the sport of soccer. Froman early age it was always extremely frustrating when I desired to learn a new move or atechnique but none of my coaches or peers could help me do so. One specific time Irecall, I saw a professional player pull a move called a “rainbow”. Because I had no oneto teach this trick to me I spent literally years in pursuit of perfecting this skill. Over timeI would become frustrated with my failure but I always returned to try again. Eventually Idid succeed and was rewarded with my joy and new found capability. Because of thesemany memories of frustrating hours with little to no instruction I slowly integratedmyself into a coaching position. Originally I would visit my younger brother’s practicesand show them one or two tricks, but over time I developed into a full fledged coach.From this comes the topic of my project, what does it take to coach a youth soccer team. Ipursued this topic because of my own frustrating memories and my desire to helpyounger players have the guidance they need to reach their full potential. This is astepping stone to a future in coaching and instruction of younger players; it is my hopethat from this I will become some sort of soccer coach in the future. To adequatelyexplain the results of my project I will discuss in detail the work prior to the season, thetraining exercises and the success or failure of each, the under workings and politics with
the parents and players, and finally I have a video comparing the players skill andknowledge of the game at the beginning and end of the season. In order top succeed in my project proper guidance and instruction was needed.To know how to coach soccer I needed obviously someone whom had done it before, wassuccessful at it, and had a general good charisma for myself to mold onto. Mr. Sincoaccepted my offer that he be my facilitator. Mr. Sinco coached high school soccer brieflyat Sequoyah as well as several years here at Creekview; in fact he coached me for two ofmy years here. Now with my facilitator found I moved on to the actual project. As with allprojects a schedule and planning was made. Mr.Sinco and I would meet in his class roomduring firth period lunches whenever he was available and I had a question for him.Because he had fifth period lunch with me it became very easy to pop in for ten minutesor half an hour to ask questions and discuss. Now dealing with the coaching abilities, atthe time I was not 18 and was legally not allowed to be the head coach of a soccer team,but I worked underneath my father and was given many abilities as well asresponsibilities that the head coach undertakes. The most important day is ironically thefirst day. Meeting and greeting with the kids and attempting to learn their names canbecome difficult. This is easily avoided through a name based game. Pass the ball in acircle made of the kids, but have two in the middle trying to get the ball. If you make abad pass you are in the middle, and every pass the player must call the name of theperson he is passing to or he will be sent to the middle. Almost more importantly duringthe first day the coach must meet all of the parents. He must gather emails and phonenumbers, remember all of the parents names without a game to help him, and “appear”
like he is a good coach. After dealing with the parents I went back to the boys and hadthem compete in a series of dribbling frills to ascertain their control over the ball. Nextwe tested their agility and endurance. I put the players into two lines; then I would throwthe ball about twenty yards away and they would race for the ball. We finished the daywith some shots on goal. My brother Ben is normally a goalie so he was ready for someshots. After practice I rallied the players and discussed some of the things I saw that Iliked as well as a few things we should aim to improve on. A side note, it is important toremember to always stay positive with young players and to encourage them. Too muchcriticism can break their spirits and their drive for the game. With the first day down allof the boys have met one another and a general idea of their speed and abilities werewritten down for further observation. Another early concern is team mom. From the firstpractice we talked with the parents and several moms volunteered to help; we agreed theywould work together and help with emails and snack schedules. Having a team isextremely helpful when practices and games may be or may not be cancelled andensuring that snacks are there for the kids at the end of every game. More drills that werealready planned for the rest of the season include a square passing drill, sprint exercises,one touch finishing, and give and goes. The square passing drill puts three people ondifferent corners of a square with one man in the middle chasing the ball. The gamemakes the players pass quickly and move to the open corner or else they will becometrapped and forced to be the center chaser. Another sprint, I lined all of the players on aline and placed a cone ten yards away. On my whistle the players would sprint to thecone touch the ground and return. The first one back was done, but the rest were requiredto keep running until the next winner to complete the go and back race returned. This
built up many players over all speed and agility, and also many players endurance insprinting scenarios increased. To learn how to finish the ball we would line the players upinto three lines on top of the penalty box. From behind them we would toss a ball up intothe air and tell them to one touch finish it. No goalie was used during this for the player’ssafety. If the boys failed to show aggressiveness towards the all then they were sent on alap until they all learned how to attack the ball. Lastly, and possibly the most importantaspect of a good soccer team, are give and goes. The fast pace passing and accuratethrough balls are essential for fast play and quick runs. To force the players to make thesekinds of passes we played a defense verse offense game of two defenders with a keeperverse three offensive players. Any offensive player taking the ball himself is doable butpassing through the two defenders to have the third offensive player run for the ball willtypically earn a good shot. Over the season the boys learned more of the give and gostrategy and eventually used it quite well in games, this provided for many of our goals. Following the first practice I held a meeting with Mr. Sinco and discussed thepractice. He made suggestions on how to work with certain players and explained a fewdrills that would improve some of our problem areas. These problems included weak andinaccurate shots, sloppy touches on the ball, confusion in defensive situations, and how toplay as a team. All were typical problems, and all were very manageable. To improve ourshooting I would arrive at practice half an hour early every day and offer one on oneshooting instructions. This helped with our shooting form and accuracy. To help withstrength of our kicks we matched each kid with another and had them pass the ball.Slowly we had them back away from each other until they were hitting the ball as hard asthey could. Each practice we spent five to ten minutes doing this and over time their
strength did improve dramatically. To improve sloppy touches on the ball at the verybeginning of practice we warmed up with a dribbling drill. The players would jog and rolltheir foot over the ball, while using different parts of their foot each lap they jogged. Thisbuilds a larger touch area for the player and gives them more to work with. Anotherproblem with our touches included catching the ball and placing it where we desired it togo. I placed the boys into four lines making a square from the first people in each line.The players would each dribble towards the center of the square make a sharp turn andpass the ball to the next line. The next player in line would then catch the ball and have toplace it towards the direction he desired to go. After five minutes of this we rotated thedirection of the ball to ensure all players could work both ways. Another problemoccurred between two of our players. Nothing actually happened between the two playersduring soccer, but the parent of one of the boys talked with the coaches and told us thather son was being bullied at school by one of the other players. We had never seenanything to verify this, but we spoke with the boy and told him if anything happened thathe could tell us and it would be dealt with. Thankfully nothing ever happened and Ibelieve sometime through the season the mother told us that the bullying had stopped.General attendance at some recreational practices is weak, but for the most part on aregular practice day we always had at least 90% of the players at practice. Although,attendance was high there were a couple of injuries. One player broke his arm throughsome out of soccer incident and another had an eye injury and was unable to play for therest of the season. Regrettably the eye injury happened to our best keeper and this didseverely hurt the team for several games. Even though the keepers we had were not asquick or knowledgeable, through hard work at practice and constant work with them the
two volunteers quickly adapted to their new positions. A few key concepts includedwhere to be in the goal when certain things happen in the field, when to come out andattack the ball, and how to read where the shooter would place the ball. The first twosimply came from practice and some experience through games, but the later of the threeis a teachable skill. To know where the ball will be placed is a skill all keepers need toknow. Firstly, it is important to know which foot is their dominant foot, because that willbe the one they shoot with. Secondly the angle they come at the goal will determinewhere the aim. Lastly a general rule of thumb is that when a striker truly strikes the ballwith power, right footers kick towards the keeper’s right and left footers kick towards thekeeper’s left. When the kicker strikes the ball with power his leg follows its naturalrotation which is always inward. With some experience and knowledge our new keepersdid very well through the season and saved many vital shots. Because of this project I am certain of my future desires and the road that I wishto travel. I learned that with something that I truly enjoy doing my work habits are verygood. The time I put into each practice is always more than the minimum time. As far asorganization goes, yes it is appropriate to have ideas before practice and to know howlong to spend on each different drills, but it is difficult to know how long it will take foreveryone to succeed in the drill and finish. My communication skills were tested in thisproject mainly though emails and working with the players. Being able to explain to atwelve year old what to do and to keep his interest can be a challenging task, but throughenthusiasm and sometimes diverse examples I was successful. On the other hand iscommunication with parents. Typically a simple email is sent out, but sometimes a gameis changed at the last minute and all of the parents must be called. Some days this meant
calling every persons home phone, mom’s cell, and dad’s cell in order to ensure allplayers knew what was going on. This was only a tedious task and did stein my patience,but my composure was kept. I know now that I do not want to coach younger kidsbecause of their lack of an attention span, and that with older players they can grow moreand actually want to be there, by that point. After high school either professionally ofrecreationally I will be involved in a soccer organization to coach young players and helpthem inn whatever r they way they may need. Most likely I will not become aprofessional coach because of the strain and I truly enjoyed working with the kids. Agreat satisfaction was found at the end of each game seeing a young player perform andexcel because of something you taught him. It is a feeling like no other, and I willdefinitely continue coaching in the future.