You may ask yourself, are private soccer lessons worth it? It all depends on who the soccer coach/trainer is… Also what are you looking to get out of it? Most soccer parents are looking to help their kids become better with the ball and to build confidence. The two most important things is knowing what drills to practice and having someone who puts courage in your child, not taking courage out.
Is your soccer skills trainer teaching?
The best part of my job when teaching players at any age/level is the teaching part. Showing them things they have never been taught.
Most high school varsity and college players I work with for the first time have NEVER been taught some of the most important things. Like what parts of the feet to pass or shoot with. 99% don’t know – guarantee.
Players need to be taught more than ‘pass with the inside of foot’… It’s so important to know the exact part of the inside.
Make sure your child is getting good reps
A year ago there was a soccer trainer I observed [at the same place I train] who literally talked more than trained. It bothered me because one reason I started this company [GFT] was because I saw how at team practice kids weren’t getting better fast.
Even good club coaches have a hard time helping players with certain skills, mainly because of the large ratio of players to coach.
So if a trainer will work hard and teach the right skills a player will improve before your eyes.
In saying all of this, don’t be tricked into thinking that a thousand touches is what’s needed. Yes, you need touches, but more important is quality over quantity. I’d rather a player get 50 good passes or traps over 500 toe taps…
Skill drills that make soccer lessons worth it
When it comes to what to work on it all depends on the players age / skill level?
5 things no matter the age:
- First touch [trapping] balls on the ground. For advanced players in the air too.
- Short passing with both feet [5-10 yard distance]
- Ball striking – learn the 4 best ways to kick
- Dribbling with different parts of the feet, giving the player freedom and forcing them to become coordinated with the ball.
- Redirecting passes [1 and 2 touch]
There are so many other things to work on, but when you watch the pros, notice how good their 1st touch is and short accurate passing.
If youth players can get really good at the fundamentals they will stand out.
How fast should a player improve?
A younger player just starting out doing private lessons should see improvement each lesson. After 3 sessions there should be a noticeable difference.
Each skill element can show considerable gains after 3 months…
Example: If a player worked on dribbling for 3 months for 1 hour per week you will see a transformation. So whatever the element, passing, 1st touch, shooting, dribbling you should expect 3 months per attribute.
Game day and team practice explained
Game day is most fun, but there’s not much technical development going to happen there. You’ll definitely gain experience and learn where to be [tactics] but even if you play the whole match, some games you only get the ball 10 times.
In team practice there’s a lot to learn… Oftentimes coaches are having to explain tactical game plan, like where to be in each situation.
Sure, good coaches will spend part of the practice doing skill drills, but that’s not that same as private soccer lessons. The main reason is the difference in being able to see and correct mistakes and give personal encouragement.
Also the amount of shots you can work on in a private or semi private lesson is so much more, which equals faster improvement.
Then, what about the players who sit the bench half the game or more… If this is the case, finding a good private soccer coach might be something to think about.
What age is best to do private soccer lessons?
If I had to choose 4 ages to really spend time and money on private lessons it would be ages 9-12 or 10-13. The reason is because I have seen kids playing rec soccer at 10 years old and then move to select, all while spending time and money doing private lessons.
By age 13 the kids who worked hard, 9 months out of 12 months in 1:1 or small groups were playing in top tier leagues, starting in high school and going on to play college soccer.
Of course the athlete has to have natural gifts. Athletic ability, drive and sports maturity.
If money isn’t a problem
If money isn’t a problem and your child loves putting in the extra work, do more.
- Fast track your child’s skills with my complete ball control bundle.
- Ages 7-8 spend 3-5 months out of the year doing privates.
- Ages 9-11 do privates or groups of 2-3 year round – taking off holidays and bad weather days. Taking these weeks off are not a problem since you’re be consistent.
- Ages 12-17 mix privates and groups of 2-8 players working on speed of play type drills – unopposed more than opposed.
- College age put in some extra training with a skills trainer during the Summer and Winter breaks.
So in conclusion, are soccer lessons worth it? Yes, but only if the training is good. If the coach isn’t teaching proper form or focusing on the important skills for the right age it’s not helping.
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