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The 50/50 Blog

Note:  Opinions expressed on the US Youth Soccer Blog (web log) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer). Links on this web log to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by US Youth Soccer with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of topics and issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.

 

The 50/50 Blog: 1.30.14

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Pacesetter Soccer Club Partners with Aston Villa

 

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A US Youth Soccer club, Pacesetter Soccer Club, has announced an official partnership with English Premier League team Aston Villa Football Club. The goal of the partnership is to develop top level soccer players in North America. Read more about the benefits of this partnership.

 


 

One on One with Sydney Leroux

 

With the U.S. Women's National Team in Frisco, Texas, right next to our office, we had the chance to sit down with a few of the players. Here is our one on one sit down with forward Sydney Leroux.

 


 

Friendly Fire

 

Jochem Jansen of Dutch club FC Oss had a bad day -- getting knocked down at midfield by his own teammate's free kick.

 


 

Fantastic Scissor Goal

 

Bayern Munich kept alive its quest to become the first Bundesliga team to go an entire season without a loss with a 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart that was decided on a brilliant goal by Spaniard Thiago.

 

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The 50/50 Blog: 1.29.14

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A little fun in the office

 

The U.S. Women's National Team is training across the street so we figure we'd vicariously help them practice with our foosball table.

 


 

"Goal of the Century"

 

You've no doubt seen Diego Maradona's amazing goal against England at the 1986 World Cup numerous times, but here's a new angle on his run from his own half through the English team for the game winner.

 


 

Stu Holden

 

Stu Holden

It's hard not to be a fan of this guy which is why, when we heard he was called in to train with the U.S. Men's National Team as a guest player, we were ecstatic. Read more here.

 


 

Coaches Blog

 

Sam Snow

 

The latest edition of the Coaches Blog by US Youth Soccer's Director of Coaching, Sam Snow, is out. It focuses on finding the right teaching moments in practice. Read it here.

 

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The Coachable Moment

Sam Snow

The questions that I receive from coaches across our nation provide good thoughts for us on the game.  Here are the comments and questions from a volunteer coach and my thoughts in reply.

I am a volunteer coach in a league coaching kids from U7 to U11. I have taken several coaching classes run by my state youth soccer coaching association. These classes have been very useful, but I continue to struggle with identifying the right coaching moments. I want the kids to be able to play as much as possible, but I also recognize that just choosing the right drills is not enough. I have a few questions.

How do I work on choosing the right coaching moments to interrupt? I don't want to interrupt the flow too often, but I often feel like I have spent too much time talking. How do I work on seeing the bigger picture? I often find myself focusing on the ball and fixing the issues around the ball while missing the problems further away that may have caused them.

My reply:

Finding the right coaching moment is an art. A coach will perfect that art when one reflects on each training session and thinks about those coachable moments and how did you interject with the players. With practice and personal evaluation, your skills at using the coachable moment will improve. I also suggest that you follow the steps outlined in the Coach’s Toolkit from U.S. Soccer.  The excerpt below comes from the US Youth Soccer Player Development Model.

When using a games-based approach during training much can be accomplished, through the use of guided discovery and the coach’s toolkit. The toolkit is a vehicle that allows coaches to teach, correct and influence the learning process of a player without taking away their creativity and killing the flow of the game or activity. The following are tools that can be used to progress from individual to group to team interaction:

  • Coaching in the flow – Coach from the sidelines as the training session goes on, without stopping the activity.
  • Individual coaching – One-on-one, pull a player to the side while the activity goes on.
  • Make corrections at a natural stoppage – Free kicks, ball going out of bounds, injury, etc.
  • Manipulation of the activity – For example, a four goal game to teach the players how to look both ways, switch the point of attack or shift defensively.
  • Freeze – The least desired way to teach; stopping the session to paint a picture kills the flow of the activity.
     

Determining which of these tools is best suited at a certain time of the training session is the key to making the session enjoyable while still being able to teach and learn.

Your issue on focusing most of your coaching to what is happening on or near the ball is not uncommon. You simply need to force yourself to watch the off-the-ball players during a training session. I often tell coaches that if you want to know what a player knows tactically about the game then watch them when they do not have the ball. Where are they positioned on the field? What’s their posture? Does their head move (indicates them scanning the field or ball watching)? You’ll need to also look away from the ball during matches in order to see if the team is staying compact and if the players are reading the game. You need to understand that you cannot watch the game or even a training session as a spectator would. You’ll simply miss too much of what is going on.  You will have a big impact on the players’ performance on and near the ball when you start to coach them off-the-ball.

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The 50/50 Blog: 1.28.14

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Barcelona Defenders

 

The Barcelona midfield and attack are the positions that usually get all the praise and media attention but even their defenders can show some great skill.

 


 

U.S. Women's National Team

 

Leroux

The U.S. Women's National Team is here in Frisco, Texas preparing for their match at Toyota Stadium against Canada on January 31. The weather has gotten a little chilly and so the girls are all bundled up for their training (Picture taken from Sydney Leroux's Twitter).

 


 

Coaches Connection

 

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The Coaches Connection provides members with a link to the US Youth Soccer Coaching Education Network: National Staff Coaches, plus 55 State Association Directors of Coaching Education and their staffs, as well as guest lectures from around the world! Learn more here.

 


 

Ballston Ball Striker on a Soccer Mission

 

Yanique

 

This winter, the Albany Alleycats player has earned spots on several United States Youth Soccer regional teams and has recently been named to the United States Interregional All-Star Team. She earned that honor in November during a US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Girls’ Thanksgiving Interregional at Spanish River Athletic Park in Boca Raton, Fla. Read more here.

 

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