So what makes soccer training the ‘right’ training? Well, a few years ago my wife brought me an article from one of the magazines she reads, North Texas Child. She said, “You’ve got to read and blog about this article; it states everything you’re always ranting about. Things like when a player tells you they’ve been injured. Recommendations on who to see professionally about concerns over their [sprains, strains, or rehabilitation].” To me the right training is teaching technique to the right age group. There’s too much time wasted at practice when there are kids standing in lines. Also kids are not being taught what parts of the foot and ball to connect.
Response to North Texas Child article
Being the good husband I am, I read the article [linked at the bottom of this page] and I have to confess, I disagreed that I should blog about the article. After all, at first glance it seems to be against GFT’s promotion of soccer focus and additional training through private lessons. However, the more I thought about it, the more I agree with the premise of the article – but maybe not all its emphases.
While I disagree about some things in the article, there are some things I do agree with. The pressures and expectations and competition put on our children is too much at such an early age. Yes, North Texas is one of the top competitive areas for sports in general and especially for soccer. This is great for my business, but as a parent myself my first concern is for the kids.
Working on the right training in positive setting
Much of what I am about to share our faithful blog and @GFTskills Facebook followers have already read many times, so I apologize in advance for the soapbox. But I’ve got to ask if you know what makes training the ‘right’ soccer training? Sad truth is most youth soccer players are not learning the right training. First touch and passing different ways is huge. Nothing fancy about it, but it is realistic. It’s what you need to be good at!
There are lots of good coaches, but there are probably more bad ones. A good coach is someone who makes the players feel excited to come back the next week. One who teaches character traits, how to be a good teammate and think positive during hard times. Yes, teaching the right training in terms of skills for the right age and level. Also helping the kids feel good about themselves.
Handling the ball under pressure
There are skilled players who can’t handle the pressure. Tricks and moves around cones might look good, but kids need to be used to pressure. 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, 3v2 situations are all good. Soccer players need to know how to think, react and adjust. Players need to be taught how to create space with the ball and without the ball.
1v1s are easier for some players because there isn’t much thinking going on. You just have to beat the player. 2v1, 2v2 type drills can be harder because the player has more to think about. There needs to be a mix of all of these. Some argue that this is all that should be done, but I believe in more unopposed training. I believe that if we can make the players really good at trapping and passing, they will learn to figure out the rest.
The myth of what soccer parents want
In the North Texas Child article, and from other people who have been around the game, it is implied that so many parents want or hope that their kids are going to get a scholarship or play pro soccer. I disagree with people who think most soccer parents are just in it for scholarship. Most of the parents who get extra training recognize that their kids love soccer and seek resources to help them improve. Really they just want to give their kids the best opportunity in something they love. Our players parents understand that anything could happen between now and college.
What is too much soccer?
As to the wear on our youth, all of the experts and professionals in soccer say the quantity of games being played is too much. This and bad technical training is decreasing the athlete’s level of play / competition, their desire to play, and their ability to play due to injury. Now 10 year old kids are running 3 miles in the hot climate. I personally did not run 3+ miles until high school and college and not even that often.
I think for young kids ages 9-12 they should not be doing as much running [fitness] as they do. It’s really sad that to be able to keep up with the next team that the kids have to do as much as they do. So then there are a lot of super fit kids, who lack so much technical skills.
Some of the kids nowadays play in every possible league, on all different surfaces, that they perceive or have been told might give them an extra advantage. Kids need rest. However, we are as a nation, highly competitive. We don’t want our kids to possibly “fall behind”… The physical, emotional, developmental maturation of an athlete varies with each child but no child needs such pressure so early.
Kids who’s only play soccer in high school
I am all for playing different sports as a young player IF, that is what the kid wants. But from 9th grade on I think it is too much to be playing club soccer and doing other school or club sports all at once. The kids I train every week all year long, who don’t play other sports are NOT getting injured whatsoever. I do train a HS girl who plays only club soccer and HS basketball. She decided not to play HS soccer because she knows playing club, hs soccer and basketball is too much.
There are boys and girls I have trained for 7 years straight every single week, who love soccer and don’t like other sports. They come do skills with me, so are training more than other players, Since the soccer training is the ‘right’ training, and they don’t play other sports they are staying healthy.
Maintaining your body and knowing how much to do
So yes, if you love 2 or 3 sports play them. But if your ultimate goal is to play college soccer you have to maintain your body. This means, watch the miles you put on your body. You can train more if it’s the right soccer training. This doesn’t mean doing all kinds of speed and strength training either.
To me it’s doing your club training and then 1-3 days extra with a good skills trainer or simply practicing at home solo. If financially it’s not easy to pay for a private trainer, then get my 1 time purchase online ball control courses. This means simple fundamental skills that you are going to perform in games every single week. It also means getting a really good warm-up and stretch before training. There needs to be the right mix of skills, that you don’t over work any certain muscles.
The right soccer training is good for you
Global Fútbol Training offers training that raises the performance standard of your child without diminishing your child in these other areas. The training we offer depends on the individual. The right amount of each element of training is good for joints, hips, conditioning, core, confidence and soccer. Kids need a low-stress fun atmosphere, where they get to know each other as competitors, teammates, colleagues and friends. When it’s time, most of our athletes get noticed at an appropriate age of 13-17 years old by college teams.
Video below shows how you can work solo on your passing and first touch using a wall. There are many things you can do, but this is one of the best. Notice the 3 steps between the trap and pass. This is important! First do this without an object (light pole, cone, bag). Once you can do this good without an object, add something in the way.
The right soccer training is a mix of many elements. From making sure your training is light when it needs to be light and heavy/intense/fitness like when it needs to be. Example: If it’s pre-season you should expect to train double hard with lots of fitness. If you are in season during the Summer and it’s hot, then your private or solo training should be light. This doesn’t mean not working hard, it means doing more stationary drills, compared to lots of running.
Training that can injure your muscles
You don’t want to do tons of long distance shooting when the body is already working hard in games and team practices. Long distance shooting requires power, which takes a lot out of you. It can be too much on your hip flexor, quad, knee and back. No need to work more than 15-20 mins of high reps long distance shooting. Mix in some up close finishing, from different angles with balls coming on the ground and in the air.
Some strength trainers will tell you that you need to do strength training every week. You don’t and shouldn’t do weight training every week if you are a soccer player! This would be from someone who never played pro soccer that’s for sure. The most important thing you need to spend time on is your passing skills, first touch and ball control.
Do your homework by using google
Don’t believe 95% of the coaches who say they played pro. When someone says they played at a high level [pro], and are therefore qualified to teach your child for money your making a business deal. Someone charging you x amount because they say they played pro better have really done it or it’s lying and stealing. If they did play pro, it will be on the internet, so google it. Reason I say this, is because everyone nowadays says they played pro when they never got paid to play soccer. That’s just their easy way in earning immediate clout, knowing that most parents won’t ever know.
After you check their credentials as players, coaches or trainers then what about the most important thing. (I am a dad of 2 girls and a supporter of the Children’s Advocacy Groups so I am a big believer in protecting our kids). Is this person safe to be around my kids?
Protecting your soccer child
I personally would never allow a coach to curse my children. To some parents, cursing may not be as big a deal. Most cities have youth boys and girls soccer forums that have tons of parents and coaches venting the soccer community news. But if you are looking for a coaches playing resume and you don’t find it on google then they didn’t play. Even if they did, this doesn’t mean they are best for coaching youth soccer.
Bottom line: I agree with some things in the article, while I disagree with other parts of it – we have new and advanced technologies to protect our children from injury, so we should use them. We have ‘former pros’ who teach our kids incorrectly where to head a ball. This is because they haven’t taught youth players. There should be no excuse for improper teaching. We have apps for tracking our play quantity and more. But the greatest asset we have is parental common sense and instinct: if you don’t think or feel that your child is safe or having fun, it IS time to say no.
Here is a link to the full article at North Texas Child