The word “Skills” in the soccer world has become a catch phrase. Not all, but many clubs plaster the phrase “skills” everywhere. This way the parents think the club offers everything you need. Then they have coaches who do skills part time. Some are good, honestly most aren’t. Just being honest. You can be a great coach, but a terrible skills trainer. A good trainer is one who helps a player improve quickly at the right things. Also a trainer who helps motivate players and give them confidence. Most important is teaching the right methods and skills. Below you’ll learn how to find a good soccer trainer for your current situation.
Where are you currently in soccer?
The training and motivation for a 7-9 year old is different from a high school, college and pro player. Younger players need high reps, proper form and encouragement. I think those three are for all ages, but especially the younger ones ages 7-9 and up to 10-12 years old. These younger ages need to get the right skills taught to them. Basic coordination is also good for them. Once the players are older and technically sound, it all depends on their current situation. Are they in pre-season, mid-season, off-season? Most of the year they are already fit. So why do more fitness? College players need fitness for sure. Pros stay fit because they play 11 months out of the year.
I don’t do fitness with my players because I’m here to help them improve technique. There just are not many high school or even college players who are technically clean at all the skills. There are some skills that are tough. Precision passing, chipping, side volleys on goal, both feet. These are all things that can get better. Can your pass be spot on like the best pros? Hopefully you don’t think so. You need to be confident, but you also need to be real. I can’t tell you how many people email me saying that their skills are already very good. Very good to me means you are top 20 player in America and getting recruited to every college.
If a player is technically sound then they need to work on being technically sound while tired/fatigued. With this you can do drills that are not stationary, but more movement. Mix in the movment with stationary. Example: Get the player running and changing direction with or without the ball. Then give them a round of balls crossed in to deal with. If you’re a defender, you should be working on clearing balls out, precision passing, long balls. Forwards should be doing tons of finishing, mids should be doing more passing and turning while receiving. Things you do in the game most.
Experience training both youth and pro soccer players
Over the last 11+ years players all ages from some of the top soccer clubs in the country come to train with me. They say that what we work on at GFT is different from what they do with their team. I don’t coach any teams at all because it would get in the way of my training job and I just wouldn’t be able to develop the same way. Whether novice or experienced, I want to work with any player who wants to learn and improve. So with this I’ve learned what ages 7 need, compared to ages 10 or 15. It’s not that there are specific drills for these ages. The players skill level also matters.
Most soccer coaches only have experience working with one specific age group. Often times the “best” coaches work with ages 13-17. It should not be like this. Ages 7-11 should also have some of the best coaches. This way when the kids are in high school they are light years ahead.
I’ve been lucky to train players who have represented the U.S. U-14, U16, U-17 National Teams plus U- 23’s and Senior USWNT. They come to us to get the proper training that they can’t get from their club/travel team or school. So what makes a good soccer trainer is having experience not only playing, but training different ages and levels. Check out video below of Women’s Pro Player, Taylor Smith working with me during her offseason.
One thing for sure is you wouldn’t want a younger youth player to do the same type of training as a pro. Even though so many YouTube videos say “practice like a pro” you really shouldn’t. The funny thing is in those videos, pros don’t even train like that. In real life, pros don’t do all those silly cone drills. They work on precision passing, finishing, long balls. Pros pretty much play year round, so their training aren’t super intense. They need to have time to recover and feel good for the next game.
A trainer who makes soccer fun
This is a no brainer. Though there are those kids/people who if they are improving will continue to play. I can’t tell you how tough our youths are these days. Many of our youth deal with jerk coaches, but they love soccer so much they continue to play. I’m surprised kids play as long as they do.
Have you seen the documentary by The Aspen Institute; ‘don’t retire kid’? The pressure kids are getting from youth sports is too much. Some kids have great coaches their whole career, while others are unlucky year after year. This shouldn’t happen.
Coaches and trainers who understand that soccer needs to be fun will help players have the opportunity. Kids need to enjoy the sport if they are going to continue to play. The dangerous part is if the coach doesn’t know how to teach good skill, the kids will have a hard time competing in high school.
Avoid spending money on soccer coaches who aren’t experts
We continue to see that other individuals and organizations, ranging from rec centers, YMCA, indoor facilities, speed/strength training companies, to club coaches, are not only trying to conduct private soccer lessons. If you went to watch 10 coaches conduct private lessons, every session would be different. Are they all right? What is good or bad?
If you want quality soccer training it’s important that your child is taught from a soccer trainer who understands the athletes. A trainer who knows what to teach and when; it is this combination of knowledge as a player and trainer/coach.
Most soccer trainers do privates on the side as a part time gig. If you can, find someone who does it full time. The full time trainer is more experienced and in most cases put all their heart into it. Your success is their success and so they probably put more into it. Don’t think that just because someone played college or pro that they know how to teach skill to youth players.
Age and skill breakdown for soccer players age 4-8
The younger group of ages 4, 5 and 6 need to first practice and learn to love the ball at home. Don’t even sign them up for a league until they have learned to dribble and turn. It doesn’t have to be great, but at least they need to have 3-6 months playing at home. You don’t need to have long practices. You don’t even need to go outside. Just have a few balls in the house and tell them to dribble it around. Teach the players to want to control the ball, not just kick the ball.
The second group is ages 7 –8, which to me is still young, but I would enroll them in some good skills camps or hire a good trainer for 1 or 2 months to work on first touch on the ground, passing and shooting with both feet. Have your child work on basic ball control at home, so that the trainer can work on the opposite. This age should really keep focusing on the basics/fundamentals. Building love and passion for the game. Learning to love the ball.
Age and skill breakdown for soccer players ages 9-17
The golden ages 9–11 can do almost anything you show them, but it’s important to teach them proper skill, not silly tricks. Passing, first touch, proper ball striking with both feet are things ages 9-11 should be working on. If your child learns naturally or has done extra training, look into my online courses – The Advanced or The Magic.
Depending on the experience and skills, ages 12–14 up to college need to add in different ways to pass and shoot. Advanced skills like controlling the ball out of the air or bending the ball. There are some kids age 12 who haven’t been doing extra skills training, so are behind. These players can catch up with hard work of course. Then there are ages 12-13 who have better skill than college players. It shows how natural talent can get you a long way, but without proper technique you can never reach your potential. Average athletes will high desire and good technical training often times become better than the natural athlete who didn’t work on their craft.
Soccer coach compared to technical trainer
So what makes a good soccer trainer? Just because someone played collegiate soccer experience, or they are a successful coach does not make them a good technical trainer. Check out their referrals and credentials. Even most college coaches didn’t play at a high level/pro; they are primarily people who are passionate about soccer and took coaching courses to become a coach.
Most club and high school soccer coaches don’t make enough money to support a family and retire their spouse. Many of them are soccer parents who want to coach their kids, have office jobs or do privates for extra income. There are a handful that try to do skills training full time, but struggle with the different age groups and business understanding.
Coaching is different from ‘training’ and every good coach understands that. Hopefully your coach doesn’t conceal opportunity from you and make you think that everything should be done with them. Coaches have so much to teach and communicate that there is no way even the best coaches can teach you everything. It’s not the coaches responsibility to teach you all the skills, you have to do this on your own.
The top soccer cities in America compared to other cities
Depending on where you live could depend on the quality of soccer you play. I’ve done camps out-of-state and worked with athletes who come in town for training. I can tell you there is a big difference from state to state. North Texas, California, Northern Virginia, NY/NJ are on another level. Then you have states like Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma or the New England states who struggle. Some states don’t have the same amount of quality coaching, player/parent interest or culture.
Global Futbol Training does it year-round for the passion, love, knowledge & professionalism – and for the long-term relationship and success of our clients. Most of our in-person trainees are from North Texas; therefore, we have our finger on the pulse of competitive soccer in many places in the U.S. and beyond. Since 2013 FC Dallas is voted best MLS academy in America. Plus other clubs like Solar, Sting, Texans who are ranked top 100 soccer clubs in America. These clubs have several US national players coming out, both boys and girls.
I encourage you to do good research on the internet – you have a limitless resource to verify the credentials that others promote. Do your research and verify what you are being told as to backgrounds, resumes, and playing experience.
Who do you want to get trained by?
If you want your child to improve and have fun need that coach who can do both. Unfortunately is hard to find a trainer who is good at giving all around good teaching. What makes a good soccer trainer is someone who is both good at teaching the right skills, but also able to connect. Feel free to email me and I will help you with questions. If you want drills that work 100% then my online courses will help you improve fast.
What makes a good soccer trainer?
Experienced at working with the specific age &/or level. They also need to be patient, knowledgeable of the game and ability to teach the right skills and form. What makes a good soccer trainer also depends on if they are reliable. Does the trainer show up when they are supposed to or do they cancel a lot. Then another important piece for most players is does the trainer make it fun. If it’s not fun, they probably won’t want to continue, no matter how good the trainers skills are.
If you are having a hard time finding a trainer who is reliable or knowledgable or you just simply want to learn more, get my online ball control courses. There are 5 lessons (over 10 methods) for The Basics Course, but for higher level players we have advanced courses.
Having taught private lessons for a living for 11+ years, I can tell you what the players on the best teams learn and don’t learn. If it was the same as what I teach, I wouldn’t be in business. If you ask any of my trainee’s they will all say that my online ball control courses are so different from what they work on with their team.
The importance of training at home
Practice in the backyard on the right stuff. Don’t just work on “kicking” the ball with your dominant foot every time. Instead learn how to bend the ball in and out, chip with both feet, volley’s on goal. There are tons of things to work on. Work on different types of dribbling, both tight space dribbling and open space dribbling. Open space dribbling is the same as running with the ball. Don’t spend too much time on moves and tricks. These can be fun, but there are more important things to work on. Work on your passing and first touch using a wall.
The dangerous part is thinking that Youtube is going to give you the right training. Youtube has some good stuff, but mostly you’ll find people who never played high level or coached/trained youth. Don’t get tricked by the marketing guru, who doesn’t even have much experience training different ages and levels.