On The Pitch

Thoughts on Youth Soccer from a Soccer Dad, Fan, Coach and Administrator

Entries for the ‘Coaching’ Category

National ‘C’ License

Tweet Taking the USSF National ‘C’ License Class the next two weeks. The 234 page course manual starts off with: “Creativity and ball skills always come first” This is going to be a great class!

Why Do You Coach?

When you get asked why you coach youth soccer, especially if you don’t coach your own children, what’s your answer?

Insights from Claudio Reyna and Player ‘Paths’

Claudio Reyna recently spoke about the challenges we still face in developing youth players and what US Soccer is hoping to accomplish as they try to revamp how we develop youth players in America.

Letter From A Volunteer Coach

A little league coach wrote an open letter to his little league parents trying to give them perspective on what goes into coaching and the sacrifices made. This should be required reading for all sports parents.

USYS Releases New Practice Guides

US Youth Soccer has just released three new coaching guides for U6-U8, U10, and U12 youth soccer coaches. They are packed with useful coaching information as well as a lot of suggested practice activities.

Developing Young Players Without Positions (or Wins)

U8 and U10 players often develop bad habits that will hold them back as they get older. Allowing U8/U10 players more freedom can help foster a more creative style of play, but can also cost you some wins. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

When Players Finally ‘Get’ 1v1

Not only has the warm weather returned, it was exciting to se my U8s finally learn to strip the ball 1v1 or when they gained possession on the run, confidently turn upfield with it…

Ten Questions For Soccer Parents

When you coach for player development instead of wins, it can be difficult to keep parents on board. This recent list of questions can help your parents look for development, even if your teams aren’t winning all the time.

Ball Hogs Need Not Apply!

Is the USSF Academy program pushing out some of our best players who could be the next Lionel Messi?

Confidence Can’t Be Coached – It’s Learned (and Earned!)

One of the biggest challenges I had with my 96 girls team was getting them confident with the ball. They grew up playing soccer in a coed league and had very little confidence to possess the ball because they rarely had it in Rec. The boys usually controlled the ball and the game. It took a couple of years before they really believed they could possess the ball under pressure. You can teach them how to dribble, but you can’t teach them to possess it under pressure. They have to build confidence with the ball. So with my U8 players – I want them to own the ball.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm…

If the rules allow you to add players when you’re down a certain number of goals, why would you refuse to do so? Why would you endure a massive loss and give up a chance for your players to get MORE playing time?

U6-U8 Soccer Player Development – Round Two

Tweet After years of coaching multiple travel and Rec teams in various age groups, I unexpectedly have found myself coaching only two U8 Rec teams this season. I’ve coached many of these players since they were 4, so it’s been an interesting progression to observe. When our league split the younger ages by gender when […]

Losing By Less Is Still Losing

There’s a saying “Offense Sells Tickets – Defense Wins Championships”, and it is true, if you encourage both. But all too often coaches, especially grade school coaches, seem to think that sometimes you should play nothing but defense. All that does is stifle development.

Keeping That Warrior Spirit

In some areas, the difference between club and school soccer can be quite a shock for many players and coaches. After watching a number of skilled players struggle to adjust to easier/safer styles of play, I wrote this for many of my current and former players.

A Little Coaching Encouragement Goes A Long Way

We talk a lot about player development (often how broken it is), but we never seem to step beyond that to the obvious foundation to improve it: coaching development. There’s this almost universal assumption that elite coaches are always elite players who move into coaching and are ‘good’ because they know the game and have been coached for years. But they aren’t usually coaching U5-U8 soccer, when kids are learning the critical basic techniques and developing a love for the game. Why don’t we talk about the development of those coaches more beyond ‘Hey take this Youth I Coaching Class’?