Why Big Game Soccer Training Doesn’t Work

Why Big Game Soccer Training Doesn’t Work

So I was watching a Serie A match the other day on TV. For those of you that don’t know what the Serie A is, it is the top Professional League over in Italy.  It happened to be a Classico between Inter Milan and AC Milan.  Those two teams are the pinnacle of Italian Soccer.  A Classico is when two rivals play.  In college football it would be USC and UCLA, in baseball it would be the Yankees and Red Sox, in basketball it would be the Lakers and Celtics. Anyhow, AC Milan won the game 3 to 0 and the commentator made a comment about Clarence Seedorf and how he really took the game in his hands and made the difference. The commentator said he had an unbelievable 99 touches on the ball that game.  When I heard that I was floored! 99 touches, that’s it!  Not only is that it, but that was a remarkable feat in the modern game. How’s that for soccer training?
So let’s put that in perspective. Clarence Seedorf played a 90 minute game and touched the ball about once a minute for the duration of the game. What I am getting at for the parents and coaches is this?  Our youth average about 60 minutes a game.  If they have a magnificent game, we are looking at 60 touches or so.  The problem is, our practices mimic our games.  So we have two 1 ½ hour practices a week in which our kids are playing 8 v 8 or 9 v 9 scrimmages and getting very minimal touches.  Hence, our kids are getting less than 300 touches a week with games and practices included. I know these numbers might seem striking, but next time you are at your kids practice, count the number of touches they get in 1 ½ hours. You may be surprised at the results of their current soccer training.
But don’t get me wrong, it really isn’t about the touches…It is about the opportunities they have to make decisions which arise from the touches…They have to be forced to think, analyze and problem solve on the field…and they need to do it often…in large field environments that just isn’t happening…
So it is really not surprising why we are missing the boat as Americans in player development.  And to be honest with you, it really starts from the US Soccer Federation and trickles on down.  They have put some horrible policies and programs into place that have set our progression as a country back for years.

So how do we fix it?  We have to fix it at the individual level.  That means with you and I!  US Youth Soccer allocates the majority of their youth money to those that are 16 years old plus, and has forgotten that the key to progression in this country starts with the six year olds.  The years from 6 to 12 are where they should be focused–but they aren’t.  That is why our program has pinpointed those years and made them our sole priority.

However, we are running in a vicious cycle because our great youth coaches are only youth coaches as a stepping stone to their ultimate job:  Be it Collegiate or Professional coaching.  Since the youth level doesn’t pay, there is no incentive for great youth coaches to stay, which definitely affects the quality of soccer training available.  But that is an article for a later time.

As coaches of youth, it is imperative that your kids do the following three things:

1. Have Fun!

2. Get as many quality, decision making touches on the ball as they can

3. Play in small sided environments (1v1 to 5v5) where they can continue to get the touches but also explore the creative side of the game, improvise, and try new moves tricks to enhance efficiency during soccer training.

If you can get your kids to do those three things they will be light years ahead of all the other youth coaches out there.

Please leave your comments below so we can discuss.  Make sure that you are tactful and never personally attack a member.  This is an open forum and many different views will be expressed.  Some you will like, others you won’t…to include mine…let’s all be respectful…

Be Electric,

Coach Randle

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.