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Coaches Blog

Sam's Blog is a bi-weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer.


New Skills School DVD to be released at workshop

Sam Snow

US Youth Soccer will release a new DVD from the Skills School in February at the 2008 US Youth Soccer adidas Workshop in Pittsburgh. 
The DVD will show coaches the techniques of several ball skills with regular speed, slow motion and game video clips.  There is also a clip for each skill of an activity that coaches could run in a training session to work on the particular technique.  The clips show players in the Under-6 to the Under-14 age groups executing the techniques.  The game clips are of players in the Under-14 to the Under-19 age groups participating in the US Youth Soccer National Championships Series.
Along with the DVD, a Skills School technical manual has been written and will be available on the US Youth Soccer website.  Below are some excerpts from the manual to give you an idea of the contents of the manual and the DVD. 
To be first in line to purchase a copy of the DVD, attend the Workshop on February 7-9, 2008.  For more details and to register for the Workshop please click here. The DVD will also be available at the US Youth Soccer Online Store.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt and I know you will enjoy the Workshop and the DVD.
The execution of a technique is broken down into three phases:
PREPARATION – the movements leading up to contact with the ball.
          Focus on the feet first as they will impact what happens with the rest of the body and they must get the body to the ball
          Look at the distribution of body weight (body posture), the angle of the approach to the ball, the position of the body and limbs in relation to the ball, the position and steadiness of the head, the position and shape of controlling surfaces and the rotation of the body into contact with the ball
          Eyes on the ball
CONTACT – the placement of the feet and the posture of the body upon contact with the ball.
          Look for the distribution of body weight and how it impacts balance
          Observe the hip and shoulder positions, the position of the supporting leg(s), the contact point with the ball and the movement of the limbs
          Eyes on the ball
FOLLOW THROUGH – the movement occurring after contact with the ball.
          Again focus on the distribution of body weight and posture
          Is the follow through complete or halted too soon
          Eyes on the ball
Change of direction and change of speed are crucial to successful dribbling.  Change of direction is the ability while dribbling to alter course to the left or the right or a 180° turn.  Change of speed while dribbling could be from slow to fast or fast to slow, to come to a complete stop or to move from a standing start.
Key Coaching Points
  1. Preparation: stay on the balls of the feet; knees slightly bent; lean a little forward at the waist; arms out somewhat for balance; head steady; eyes glance up to see the dribbling path
  2. Contact: eyes glance down to ensure proper contact with the ball; touch the ball at the horizontal midline (line A) with the instep or the inside or outside of the instep (front of the foot near the toes); the ball can be touched at the vertical midline (line B) or slightly left or right of that line to change direction with the ball
  3. Follow Through: the sole of the foot can be used to stop the ball or to change direction