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Coaching youth soccer PDF

The status of the US national soccer teams suggests that we still have improvements to make in our approach to developing players.

The fundamental problems begin at the youth level, where our time with ball is so limited and our ideas on what to do in training are so ordinary.

Coaching youth soccer

The rest of the world escapes us because what is apparent once we get to a senior level is our lack of comfort with the ball at our feet.

Some of the solutions to the challenges that players of both sexes face are provided in this excellent book by Sam Snow.

I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of spending a week observing Barcelona close up, watching them compete against Arsenal, then seeing the first team train, and then spending the rest of the time studying their academy program.

Every player in the academy, at every age and skill level, demonstrated a tremendous commitment to his or her own development.

Equally impressive and telling was what Barca coaches designated their groups to do that day to get better.

They emphasized individual skill work and small-sided games, and they encouraged players’ love of the ball and the game.

Barca coaches also promoted a positive culture of character building, so the conduct of coaches and players and the collective attitudes of everyone were superb.

The display of ball mastery and passion for the game were evident, making the entire setting for learning soccer impressive.

So it’s no mystery why Spain, with the core of their national team right out of the Barca lineup, is the reigning world champion.

This extraordinary game that they play was not built in a day; it was not built with an 11v11 tournament culture like we have here in the United States.

And we would do well to learn from that. Coaching Youth Soccer reflects an understanding of what soccer development in this country should be.

It presents advice to help you keep the training fun yet also properly challenging and balanced to help players become comfortable with the ball and make decisions on their own in a climate of player development and mutual respect, like what I observed at Barca.

I like Coach Snow’s guided discovery approach and small-sided games approach to player improvement.

He teaches all the correct principles and presents excellent training games, and his thoughts about the game are up to date.

I have a great fear that the US women are losing ground to Japan, the Koreas (North and South), Brazil, and Germany, countries that have embraced skill development as the foundation for their youth and emphasized a passion for the ball.

We need to change our approach to youth soccer development now to catch up and raise our soccer-playing performance to its potential.

That effort entails many things on both sides of the gender divide.

Coaching Youth Soccer, if applied correctly, can play a wonderful part in helping us get there.

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