Commentary

Soccer for kids: getting them to 10,000-hour mark

We sometimes walk in the neighborhood. We see fathers playing football or baseball with their kids in the street. We see parents shooting at the hoop in front of the garage with their kids. We never see fathers or mothers playing soccer with their kids in the neighborhood.  We never see kids playing soccer in the backyard with their siblings or friends. We live in a middle-class suburban neighborhood. What is interesting is that most of these kids do play soccer in recreational or competitive youth leagues. They only play soccer in the “organized and coached” practice sessions and in youth/high school games. The parents spend up to $10,000 a year for their kids to play “organized” soccer.

My wife who grew up playing soccer with the kids in the neighborhood in Turkey cannot understand how the kids never play soccer in the backyards or in the mostly wide streets with little or no traffic. The answer is simple: There is no soccer culture in this country. That is a well-known fact.

For the parents of those kids, football, baseball and basketball are the sports they grew with. Maybe some of them played soccer, maybe some of them even watch MLS, EPL, USMNT and USWNT games, but still their sweetheart is not soccer. Since the WC 1994 in the USA, things have changed a lot in this country, but still there is not a soccer culture in the mainstream American way of life. It will change for the better, but it might take decades for soccer to be interwoven into the American sports culture fabric for good.

It is also a well-known fact posited by Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson that you need to practice at least 10,000 hours to be a top-class piano, chess or soccer player.  It is also thought that kids in South America reach the 10,000-hour mark by the age of 13, whereas the European kids reach at the age of 20 or more.

It is clear that you cannot reach the 10,000-hour mark by practicing and playing ”organized” soccer for couple of hours a week. Underprivileged kids of Latin American and African countries play soccer all day long with their friends on the beaches, streets and dirt fields. This is how they reach the 10,000-hour mark early in life. It is a way of life for them and their families. When the European teams bring them into their academies, they already have very high technical skills developed through many hours they spent playing “unorganized” soccer.

In today’s information age, kids of affluent societies spend less and less time outdoors. So building up 10,000 hours through formal coaching and organized soccer is nearly impossible for our kids. There are two options: Involve the parents and the home and/or backyard soccer into the process and start the training process at an earlier age.

Tom Byer is an American soccer coach born and raised in the Bronx is living in Japan for the past 20 years. I met him during the NSCAA (now United Soccer Coaches) convention in LA this year. I had heard about him, but I was honored to meet him in the convention. Tom has changed the Japanese youth development landscape. China has asked him recently to be an adviser for their School Football Program.

If you like, you can read his book “Soccer Stars at Home (*)” for more details, but in summary he says that motor learning in kids start as early as 2 years old and they can develop these motor skills aimed at developing control of the ball in their own home. He actually tested this approach with his two sons with astonishing results. Both kids when they joined U-8 organized soccer were ages ahead of their peers in ball control skills. There are now serious research results sending tremors across the “golden age of learning” paradigm fault line. Golden age of learning paradigm says that kids learn basic soccer skills between the ages of 10-12.

Maybe the only way to reach the 10,000 hours of practice threshold in this country is to start training the kids at the ages of two or three. Naturally, one can question Tom’s approach and take it with a grain of salt. On the other hand, we see everywhere soccer schools for kids as early as three or four years of age. These schools are extensions of the pay-to-play system. You pay a company and trust them with your kids with the hope that their coaches will use correct techniques to develop your kids’ soccer skills. These soccer schools will never help your kid to reach the 10,000 hours of training threshold, but they will definitely reach your wallet.

At this point, the solution lies with parents. If you look closely at the upcoming U.S. soccer stars, you will either see parents who played the game at a high level or parents that dedicated their lives to the development of their sons and daughters. Christian Pulisic’s parents are a very good example of this approach. You do not have to a soccer star to be a good soccer parent, but you should support and encourage your kids to play as much soccer as possible, whether it is at home, in the backyard or at a close-by soccer field at the earliest age possible. Until the age of 6 or 7, your kid does not need organized soccer or formal coaching. What they need is their parent’s approval, encouragement, appreciation and support. You don’t have to be a soccer wizard to provide that. The kids will then start enjoying the company of the ball and build up their ball handling techniques.

One of the best moves of U.S. Soccer was the Player Development Initiative or the Mandate. Through this Mandate -- the implementation of which started this month -- the structure of the U6-U12 age group will be completely overhauled. Although I had some doubts in the past about the implementation of the mandate, my first impression is that it will implemented fully may be with a few exceptions. I doubt that the rule that states “results and standings should not be recorded” along with limitations on travel might still not be applicable in practice.

The fact that now U-8 and below play 4v4 without goalkeepers is a revolutionary step forward. This way the kids will have more chance to kick the ball and more chance to score goals and more chance to enjoy the 40 minutes of play. What the coaches and the referees – though I do not think we need referees for these games and the Mandate agrees with me – should do is minimal for these age-group games. My colleague Mike Woitalla brilliantly outlined what coaches should do for these age groups. It is that simple.

The coaches, parents or referees should just be big brothers/big sisters for the U-8 age groups making sure that the kids enjoy themselves and do not hurt each other. That is what all we need for those games.

Once we can mobilize the parents to direct and encourage their two 3-year-old kids to play with a small ball in the house, in the backyard by themselves or with another kid at the same age, then we will be able to simulate “street soccer” at a very early age. The threshold of 10,000 hours of practice will be peanuts then.

Ahmet Guvener (ahmet@ahmetguvener.com) is the former Secretary General and the Technical Director of the Turkish FA. He was also the Head of Refereeing for the Turkish FA. He served as Panel member for the FIFA Panel of Referee Instructors and UEFA Referee Convention. He now lives and works as a soccer consultant in Austin, Texas.

(*) Tom Byer’s Soccer Starts at Home, 2016, T3 K.K. Publisher, Tokyo, Japan
69 comments about "Soccer for kids: getting them to 10,000-hour mark".
  1. David Trapp, August 24, 2017 at 9:57 p.m.

    I see kids playing soccer all the time, and all the kids I coach (boys and girls) are much more in tune with the soccer world than when my kids were young. It takes time to change a culture.

  2. Wooden Ships, August 24, 2017 at 10:02 p.m.

    Good article, thank you. The cited research shouldn't surprise anyone as to touches on the ball. Some areas of our country have had a soccer culture (St. Louis ) for decades. No, not to the extent of the Latin and African examples, but not too far behind. There were countless hours of pick up/street play. Yes, we have other sports to choose from, which can divide our time on the ball. This brings me to the point of my post with the younger soccer crowd. I've seen numerous posts regarding the modern US player's superiority over the the players back in the day. Probably true overall, because as we've grown the game its spread to all parts of the country. But, there is a discrepancy with most US players and that's their feel for the ball. And, as pointed out, structured practices alone will continue to negate the touch. I've played and coached since 1961 and I can tell you unequivocally that my peers had better technical skill than what I've witnessed with the modern player. There are expanding pockets of soccer culture, but is it the right culture?

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, August 24, 2017 at 11:36 p.m.

    WS I have seen the same thing, except I want to clarify that the skill and tactical level of college players has increased steadily over the last 40 years. At the youth level, I think we are falling behind where we were 25 years ago. This is not a universal statement. There are a lot of very good coaches, just "a lot" is not enough to go around. Especially at the younger ages when fundamentals are taught.

  4. uffe gustafsson, August 24, 2017 at 10:21 p.m.

    Ok a cpl of things first when my daughter was in first grade and played rec soccer for her school we practice 1 day a week, so she wanted more and I started to give anyone that wanted more practice but we got thrown out of the parks around us because we didn't have a permit.
    The sneaking in to the parks and like mills college was a real issue.
    The street soccer u all talking about is really hard to do. Yes we got many hours practice until they realized we had no permit and then we had to move on.
    The countries u refer to I'm certain they won't come and tell u that sorry ur kids can't play here.
    It's a whole different senario is good all US they all afraid to have a kid hurt and then sued because it's not a permitted or club practice.
    I guess I took my chances playing with the girls in the park. That's the reality!

  5. Bob Ashpole, August 24, 2017 at 11:30 p.m.

    Good article. I would clarify a couple things. Ages 10 to 12 (or 8 to 12) are usually the developmental peak for learning motor skills--not when learning starts. Our problem in the US is keeping players engaged long before they hit 10,000 hours. Finally it doesn't take 10,000 hours to create a skilled amateur players who will enjoy a lifetime of the sport. The 10,000 hours distinguishes the concert soloist from the rest of the professional musicians. As for the 2-year old kids, I think the debate should center around the balance between developing sport specific skills and general movement skills. Dribbling is not a problem. I always say that dribbling is 50% athleticism and 50% ball skills. General athletic skills include kicking and throwing balls, so contrary to what some think working on general skills does not mean having to work without a ball. The startling part of what Byer talks about is the progress he made starting at age 2 rather than age 5 or 6. I grew up in hockey country (Michigan near the border). In the 50s and 60s, parents started their kids skating (as a family activity) as soon as they could walk and playing hockey by age 2. So this doesn't sound all that strange to me.

  6. Jay Wall, August 25, 2017 at 7:38 a.m.

    Dr. Andres Ericsson's 10,000 hours research on developing expertise has been disproven by numerous studies since it was published in 1990, not that making the time to master a subject is not important, but the investment of time alone is no guarantee of expertise and success. >> And in the United States with so many activities competing for a child's time Franz Beckenbauer's quote "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect" says it much better. We need to achieve the best results in less time which is the time available. >> 10,000 hours of unfocused time, doing something wrong over and over again or of working on the wrong things doesn't guarantee success. >> In 1990, Chritina improved defensive skills in football from 25% to 95% with only 640 repetitions by substituting quality for quantity. ADI decreased service rep training time by 34% by giving students 800 problems to solve versus the 50 previously used. >> We need to substitute "perfect practice" for unlimited boring repetition for skills and faster learning using online and video training for everything from vision skills to viewing 3,000 soccer images to teach players at young ages to read patterns in play and body language in games with over a 95% accuracy, as they did in a study in Germany. State of the art teaching is what's in the lab. Image keepers in Switzerland wearing virtual reality goggles to stop shots from the world's best scorers. It's for real and it's sold to clubs in Europe. > In 2016 Ericsson clarified you need 10,000 hours of perfect practice under an expert to achieve. See http://www.businessinsider.com/anders-ericsson-how-to-become-an-expert-at-anything-2016-6

  7. Fan Enlightened replied, August 25, 2017 at 8:39 a.m.

    Jay- completely right. Pulisic's parents are famous for saying they didn't "push" Christian to learn skills, but they did correct and more importantly encourage to use a skill in a game. Important learning is they didn't tell him when to do it, but encouraged with "try a step over if you have a defender at your back" or "push the ball around and run the other side." Super important.
    One other major thing missing from this article is implementing KINS (Kicking is not soccer) like Georgia soccer did about a decade ago. You can see the results with how strong their players coming through. Way too many parents scream "kick it" "pass it" or "clear it" and we wonder why kids don't possess the ball better?
    I read and follow Tom's twitter feed, and I do completely agree with him as I have seen the strong positive evidence of the foot skills he espouses. I bought mini-balls and encouraged my son to use the sole of his foot and pull the ball back when he learned to walk. We set up fun games in the house to change directions and stopping in specified areas and sound penguins/boxers, V's and L's and going backwards with the sole of your feet. Then over the last year 5-6 we started showing him moves specifically around the Stanley Matthews, La Cucaracha and step-over/scissors and added in "fast escapes". We also add defense so he has to get around us. We set up pick up games and "encouraged" the boys to pull moves off with some of his friends and we got about 8-10 boys playing this summer at the park. All kindergarteners. 4 of the boys made U9 teams. I can safely say when boys start early, they are miles ahead of their cohorts and the other boys can't catch up. He plays U9 as a 6.5 year old now. The only thing that' I did different from Tom is I ping the ball super hard to help develop my son's touch. We played a game at 4 for "trapping on a pirate island" in a defined circle (tap or runner dots) and of the ball (treasure) fell off the island, point for Daddy pirate. Focus on both feet, bouncing balls, surfaces of the feet etc. His touch is better than mine at 6.5, and I played D1 soccer. Play with your kids at home!

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2017 at 10:19 a.m.

    Fan Enlighted, the problem is not what instructions are being yelled at kids during matches. The problem is yelling any instructions at all instead of letting the kids make the decisions and play the game.

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2017 at 10:24 a.m.

    Also the modern view (I am 65) is that you don't teach kids to "receive" or trap the ball. You don't want them to get in the habit of stopping the ball. Instead we teach "first touch" controlling the ball in the direction that supports the next move. It is tactically faster. No harm done, but I suggest you start talking about controlling the ball with the first touch rather than trapping the ball.

  10. Jay Wall replied, August 25, 2017 at 10:50 a.m.

    Bob A, Coaches and parents can't focus on what they are doing when they are interrupted and neither can our youth players. Players need to focus on the game to learn, not be told what to do and as studies show it can take a player up to 50% more time to act and make decisions when they are being interrupted. >> Started coaching in the 70's and over time learned players play faster, better and feel more successful when they tap the ball to get time and space away from opponents, to scan the field and if it's a advantage to pass in front of teammates running into space.

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:40 a.m.

    Jay, I always have regretted the change to the Laws that allowed coaching from the sidelines. Positive comments were allowed for youth matches as an exception back then. Now anything goes.

  12. Fan Enlightened replied, August 25, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.

    Bob, if you looked at my statement calling for KINS, I am totally against shouting out instructions for kids. Even coaches shouldn't be shouting out to kids when to pass or dribble. I have seen too many kids looking at their parents instead of figuring out when to pull a move/pass/shoot. My point with Pulisic (and my own son) is that you encourage them before the game to try a move and they will find the time to try it. It might work or they might fail, but they will try it and learn. Key point here. But if you think the game is going to teach kids moves like Stanley Matthews or any other body movement magically, you are sadly mistaken. We get our son excited to try new moves and reward him afterwards with congrats/awesome job/high fives ect. to get him excited. But at no time on the sideline are we shouting for him to try it at a specific moment. In fact, we are too quiet on the sidelines he tells us!

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2017 at 2:55 a.m.

    Fan Enlightened, I can only go by what you write, not what you are thinking. Despite your claim that I misunderstood what you said initially, you once again limited your premise to certain instructions by saying that "Even coaches shouldn't be shouting out to kids when to pass or dribble."

  14. Kent James, August 25, 2017 at 9:12 a.m.

    Excellent article, many good comments. Our greatest problem is a lack of soccer culture, though I do think that is improving (with the growth of the MLS, and the success of the national teams, primarily). The key aspect of soccer culture is that it inspires inner directed learning (kids want to learn, so they can participate, or even be heroes, in the soccer culture). But the development of soccer culture faces some new obstacles, primarily the increased diversity of entertainment options (smart phones, social media, proliferation of other sports (lacrosse, e.g.). But that's okay, it can still happen. Better coaching (and structure) can make up for what is lost to competition. For example, creating places and opportunities for kids to play pick-up (futsal courts, e.g.). And US Soccer is pushing in the right direction (limiting competition and travel at the youngest ages, encouraging them to have fun).

  15. Nick Daverese, August 25, 2017 at 10:03 a.m.

    10 thousand hours actually sounds right even though I have never thought about it in those terms. To get it the player should be self motivated. You can do most of it yourself if your are motivated to improve your game. You don't have to do it with a coach or with team mates or even with friends. Remember the term repition do it over and over again maybe boring to most, but not to a self motivated player. You can be motivated to become the teams free kick taker. You think you need the team to do that?

  16. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:05 a.m.

    Of course it is nice to have parents like Fan or the ones of Pulisic. Grown up in the streets in Amsterdam after WW2 playing street soccer, parents were never involved with their kids' extra-curricular activities for they were too busy seeking out a living trying to survive. Furthermore, kids in those days didn't want their parents around,that was a given for your were considered a wuss. Our parents left us alone! I can only remember my father showing up for my Ajax tryout and one game with Ajax...that is it! Kids in those days were more independent as they were on the soccer field as well, likewise reflected in the great number individual stars , than. Todays kids look and play so programmed
    and have so few individual stars to look up too. Forget the 10,000 hours, the overall picture is that kids, like myself, played between 20-30 hours a week. You have to interpret the amount of hours in "touches on the ball; handling the ball one on one under pressure; playing agains older, better and lesser players; you were forced to use technical skills since you couldn't run playing on concrete; playing on concrete employing skills, not running, forces you to play gave created, "STREET SAVVINESS",'SMARTS'' ; the lack of running forces you to not only have to think a step ahead of the next options, but also learn to SHIELD the ball; balls used were of DIFFERENT sizes and WIEGHTS ,thereby making you how to give the right touch to the ball. What is greatly missed talking of street soccer is that kids were able to use WALLS to pass against. For example using it as give and go's ,using curbs even. Todays kids are the worst in passing. You don't see kids passing the ball and forth or by themselves passing against a wall, experimenting, in their free time. PASSING TOUCH of todays kids is LOUSY, plain lousy as compared as kid from my street soccer days. Kids with all the skills, TOUCH ,and street savviness played a better brand of soccer than today's kids. Because kid of my days having more touch on the ball were able to learn moves faster, and pass more sophisticated . Look at the MLS or USMNT, so few players can create quick give and go's in the penalty area due to our lack a good touch on the ball. Look at any defensive backline and how they pass a ball. The right back passes to right center back, who receives the ball, turns takes 2 steps to position himself to pass with inside of the foot (forget the instep pass for that is too advanced for it might end up in the bleachers)
    Instead what is faster and more efficient is for the right center back to receive the ball with the left, allowing just enough room to give a hard pass employing the outside of the right foot ,allowing the ball to break in the last third of the distance to the left back facing DOWNFIELD not facing the right center back which happens so often. So let us not get hung up on 10,000 hours but include the conditions that these players need to learn under.

  17. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.

    TIP 106. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE ABLE TO SEE A TEAMMATE IN THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE.

  18. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:32 a.m.

    TIP 107. ON THE FLANK YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CREATE DEPTH BEFORE ASKING FOR THE BALL.

  19. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:37 a.m.

    TIP 108. DEPTH IS CREATED BY EITHER CREATING A FEINT BY RUNNING A FEW STEPS DOWNFIELD THEN QUICKLY TURNING AROUND AND RECEIVE BALL TO THE FEET. OR YOUR COME BACK DRAWING YOUR DEFENDER WITH YOU THAN RUN QUCKLY INTO A SPACE LEFT BEHIND THE DEFENDER FOR THE BALL

  20. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:39 a.m.

    TIP 109. IF THE STRIKER LOOKS TO ISOLATED DOWNFIELD THEN OBVIOUSLY THE MIDFIELD IS NOT MAKING ENOUGH PENETRATING RUNS....

  21. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.

    TIP 110. A GOOD PASS NOT ONLY MEANS ONE GIVEN WITH GOOD TECHNIQUE, BUT , MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO A TEAMMATE WHO HAS ABLE TO FURTHER THE CONTINUITY OF PLAY, WHICH MEANS HE ABLE TO PASS IT ONE-TOUCH OR OPEN IT PLACING THE BALL SOMEWHERE ELSE.

  22. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:46 a.m.

    TIP 111. A GOOD PASS IS ALSO ONE THAT DOES NOT SLOW THE TEMPO OF THE GAME.

  23. Nick Daverese, August 25, 2017 at 10:48 a.m.

    You know Frank I don't find kids born here in the USA using the outside of the foot to pass or shoot much if at all. Unless there fathers were ethnic players or their coaches are ethnic. But like you said about people your father was to busy because he was trying to make a living after the war. Here during my parents time they were too busy trying to make enough money to survive then put the kids into sports. In my father's case he took short cuts to make that money. Plus I think he hated kids. One of the best memories I have of him as a kid. He took me to globe Theather in the Bronx because for an admission of 25 cents you could three full length movies monster or science fiction, 30 cartons and two or three serials like Flash Gordon. We would get there at 8 am when it opened then he fell a sleep. I would wake him up after I saw it. Sometimes I would see a movie I liked again before we left. That was the best time I ever had with him when he was sleeping. He would tell me stories about things like Vincent mad dog Cole who invented the drive by trying to kill a guy who lived across the street. He fired 50 shots at a guy and only hit him once the rest of the bullets were in the street and in the bouilding the victim came from. Then when joe valache lived in the iron place horse barn around the corner from me.He was a great guy I really miss him. I ran away at 11 just to get away from him. Came back home at 15 after someone killed him.

  24. frank schoon replied, August 25, 2017 at 10:53 a.m.

    NICK , Talk about Street Smarts, LOL

  25. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:46 a.m.

    It is sad too Nick. There is such a large surface area on the lower part of the foot that it is like using a ping pong paddle to strike the ball. Lots of surface contact means lots of control. Being able to use any surface of any foot makes you tactically faster.

  26. frank schoon replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:58 a.m.

    Bob, Cruyff stated he could count 50 different spots on his foot that he employs in passing the ball. I gave private lesson to a player who was too small to play high school soccer ( coached like big and fast players) but made Carnegie-Melon soccer team. He told me that in his first practice to not use outside of the foot passes. LOLOL.

  27. Jay Wall replied, August 25, 2017 at 12:21 p.m.

    At younger ages many players are pigeon toed or have bowed in legs from time spent in the womb, but which straighten out with age. It's easier for them to learn to strike the ball with the outside of the foot than the inside. One boy was so pigeon toed he could only strike the ball with the top of metatarsal bone prior to 8th grade. So the team worked on passing with the outside of the foot. >> The pigeon toed player went on to captain his NCAA D3 team, while his next door neighbor on the same team skipped college to play on a lower division professional team in Sweden.

  28. frank schoon replied, August 25, 2017 at 12:26 p.m.

    NICK, are there ever any neighborhood reunion parties,LOL

  29. frank schoon replied, August 25, 2017 at 12:54 p.m.

    Nick, where did you go between the age of 11-15

  30. Nick Daverese replied, August 25, 2017 at 5:10 p.m.

    Bob your not thinking of the sole of your foot are you? I mean the outside of the right or the left foot to pass and shoot with. Hit the ball with the outside of the foot on a shot it goes in like a bullet and it tales away from the keeper.

  31. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2017 at 3:02 a.m.

    Nick, I am thinking of the flat top of the foot to the outside of the instep's sweet spot and nearer the toes. Not the outside knife edge of the foot (to use a martial arts phrase). Some people call that the outside instep.

  32. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:51 a.m.

    TIP 112. A BAD PASS THAT SLOWS THE TEMPO : ONE, PASSING TO A PLAYER WITH BACK FACING DOWNFIELD; TWO, PASSING TO THE BACK FOOT OF A PLAYER ON THE FLANK; THREE, PASSING TO THE FOOT NEAREST TO THE DEFENDER.

  33. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 10:55 a.m.

    TIP 113. A FORWARD SHOULD ALWAYS TRY TO STRIKE UP A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR OPPONENT. IN THAT MOMENT HE TRIES TO ANSWER YOU BACK,THUS A LAPSE IN DEFENSIVE CONCENTRATION, YOU MAKE YOUR QUICK RUN.

  34. don Lamb replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:16 p.m.

    lol

  35. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 11 a.m.

    TIP 114. WHEREVER YOU ARE ON THE FIELD POSITIONED OFF THE BALL, ALWAYS ASK YOURSELF " WHY AM I DOING THIS OR WHY AM I HERE " . YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT EVERY STEP YOU TAKE. THIS IS WHY CRUYFF STATED THAT HE HATES PLAYING WITH PLAYERS WHO DON'T KNOW OR ARE AWARE OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING AT THE MOMENT...

  36. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 11:04 a.m.

    TIP 115. WHEN RUNNING DOWN THE FIELD WITH THE BALL AND A FAST DEFENDER CATCHES UP TO YOU, IMMEDIATELY STICK OUT YOU ARM, STIFFEN IT, SO THAT THE MOMENT HE HITS YOUR ARM HE GIVES YOU THAT EXTRA LITTLE PUSH NEEDED ....

  37. don Lamb replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:20 p.m.

    That is silly. When you feel him on your hip, cut the ball 180 degrees or with a chop or some other bit of creativity.

  38. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2017 at 3:04 a.m.

    I think Frank is talking about preventing a shoulder tackle while going straight instead of turning away.

  39. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2017 at 8:01 a.m.

    Bob, when a fast defender catches up to you, by sticking the arm out horizontally, that will give enough push for that extra step needed to either block his further advance by diagonally stepping into his lane which cause an accidental trip on the opponents part( I teach this to my kids how this is done,called cross stepping) or the extra push gives you just that extra needed space to shoot on goal or change direction. Realize in the beginning when running full speed you don't want two change your momentum for two reasons, one any slight change in direction can be an added advantage to a fast defender who has the possibility of blocking one you options like mess up your next move like a like shot on goal, for example, two, when running full speed your dealing with ball control problems as well and body balance and does not allow for sharp counter movement and as such could stop you from your original intention.

  40. Fire Paul Gardner Now, August 25, 2017 at 11:09 a.m.

    It's an exaggeration to say there is "no" soccer culture in the US today. 20-25 years ago that was true but one is growing now. But, as you point out, it will decades to get on par with many other places around the world.

  41. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:50 a.m.

    There were always soccer areas in the country. St. Louis, Southern California, Texas, and areas along the East Coast. Danbury, Conn., for instance had a large Portuguese influence.

  42. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 25, 2017 at 12:02 p.m.

    That's a good point. More accurate to say that 20-25 years ago there were pockets of soccer culture whereas now there is a more mainstream soccer culture slowly growing.

  43. Wooden Ships replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:16 p.m.

    Fire the pockets I'm referencing go back 60 years. Bob, I would add San Fransisco to the list. In the 60's Texas didn't have much, organizationally that is. Generally, it was some of the larger cities that had ethnic populations. 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation.

  44. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 11:10 a.m.

    TIP 116. WHEN A RIGHT FOOTED DEFENDER ON YOUR LEFT SIDE IS NEXT TO YOU WAITING TO CHALLENGE YOU FOR A HEAD BALL, THEN STIFFEN YOUR LEFT ARM DOWNWARD WAITING FOR HIS RIGHT LEG TO UP FOR THE JUMP. THE STIFFENED ARM ON HIS RIGHT THIGH WILL PREVENT HIM FROM GOING UP....

  45. Nick Daverese, August 25, 2017 at 11:19 a.m.

    I like tip 113. I tried to intimidate an opponent especially in American football just before the snap of the ball to get him off side. It got to the point nothing was off the table as the game went on. It was crazy I always thought in that game if you hurt your opponent a starter and put him out of the game it was a good way to help the team win the game.

    My thinking was different in our game. Never went out purposely to hurt a player. Love the game too much to do that.

  46. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 11:27 a.m.

    TIP 117. A CENTER BACK SHOULD ALWAYS WATCH OUT FOR A STRIKER GRABBING YOUR SHORTS TO KEEP YOU FROM TURNING TO GO WITH HIM. IN OTHER WORDS IN THE PENALTY AREA , MARKING DIRECTLY A STRIKER IN FRONT OF YOU, HE CAN GRAB YOUR SHORTS ON THE LEFT LEG ,PREVENTING YOU FROM TURNING LEFT WARDS TO GO WITH HIM.

  47. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 11:34 a.m.

    TIP 118. THE 4-3-3 SYSTEM ALLOWS YOU MORE DEPTH IN ATTACK FOR THERE MORE OPTIONS FORWARD AND LIKEWISE CREATE QUIKER DEFENSIVE PRESSURE FORWARDS AS COMPARED TO A 4-4-2 SYSTEM

  48. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 11:39 a.m.

    TIP 119. THE 4-3-3 SYSTEM IS MORE POSITIVE AND BASED ON TAKING INITIATIVE AS COMPARED TO A 4-4-2 SYSTEM WHERE WAITING AND WATCHING WHAT THE OPPONENT WILL DO OR BETTER PARASITING OFF THE OPPONENT'S INITIATIVE....

  49. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 11:41 a.m.

    TIP 120. THE 4-3-3 SYSTEM COVERS ALL THE 9 CARDINAL POSITIONS, DEFENSIVE AND OFFENSIVE....

  50. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:52 a.m.

    That is the first I have seen the phrase "9 cardinal positions." Is it a Dutch phrase?

  51. frank schoon replied, August 25, 2017 at 12:02 p.m.

    Bob, No, not all.

  52. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2017 at 1:16 p.m.

    I don't think "cardinal" is used as an adjective in American English. I just verified that with Webster-Merriman. The Oxford English Dictionary does define "cardinal" as an adjective, meaning "of greatest importance or fundamental". English, two languages separated by an ocean.

  53. frank schoon replied, August 25, 2017 at 1:29 p.m.

    Bob, yes, good eye on that one. I use it an adjective...until you had mentioned it, I didn't even think about. LOL. It is alway good to have a such a proficient knowledge of english....I wish I had that ....

  54. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 12:06 p.m.

    TIP 121. PLAYING THE 4-3-3 SYSTEM ,HAVING ALL 9 CARDINAL POSITIONS COVERED MEANS THAT WHEN YOU HAVE THE BALL YOU OUTNUMBER THE OPPONENT 4 VS 2 ANY WHERE ON THE FIELD.

  55. don Lamb replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:17 p.m.

    A separate tip to explain what "cardinal" means. Bonus tip!

  56. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2017 at 10:40 a.m.

    TIP 123. The 4v2 box . That is one of the 4 boxes so to speak that is created by the 9 cardinal points when you have 3-3-3 grid line up(note the 4th player is really the sweeper, not used in this exercise. When you look at this grid and position the opponents to each of these players making up the grid then you will see that which ever one of those players making up the grid has the ball they outnumber the opponent 4v2 in that particular grid. Taking this grid and downsizing to an exercise form ,for example, a rectangle of 8 long steps by 4 long steps. DON'T PLACE A PLAYER AT EACH CORNER , for that is INEFFICIENT, but place one player between the cones, thus allowing to be able to move off the ball and position himself. Cruyff stated that "if you can play this game ,you can play soccer".

  57. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2017 at 10:50 a.m.

    TIP 124. THE AIM OF 4V2 IS TO NOT PLACE THE 4 PLAYERS AT THE CORNERS BUT ON THE LINE WITH TWO DEFENDERS INSIDE THE BOX. NO MORE THAN TWO TOUCHES IS ALLOWED. THE OBJECT OF THE DEFENSE IS NOT TO ALLOW A PASS LENGTH WISE AND NOT ALLOW A SPLIT PASS, AND TRY TO GET HE BALL.THIS EXERCISE SERVES NOT ONLY AN OFFENSIVE PURPOSE BUT A DEFENSIVE ONE AS WELL.

  58. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2017 at 10:57 a.m.

    TIP 125. THE OBJECT OF THE 4V2 IS FOR THE SECOND MAN WHO RECEIVES THE BALL TO KNOW WHO THE THIRD MAN IS . WHICH MEANS THE THIRD MAN HAS TO BE ABLE TO READ NOT ONLY WHO THE SECOND MAN WILL BE, BUT ALSO BE ABLE TO READ WHAT THE TECHNICAL OPTIONS OF THE FIRST MAN WITH THE BALL HAS AND RELATE THAT WHO THE SECOND MAN WILL BE THAT WILL BE PASSING THE BALL TO HIM.

  59. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2017 at 11:05 a.m.

    TIP 126. THE SMOOTHNESS OF THE PASSING IN THE 4V2 BOX IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO TECHNICAL PASSING SAVVINESS OF THE PLAYERS, AS WELL AS THE THINKING ,"READING" THE POSITION OF MOVEMENT OFF THE BALL. THIS ONE EXERCISE IS IMBUED WITH SO MUCH TECHNICAL AND TACTICAL CONCEPTS. THE MORE ADVANCED THE PLAYER, TECHNICAL ,AND TACTICALLY ,THE LESS HE WILL MAKES MISTAKES AND BE PLACED IN THE BOX.

  60. frank schoon, August 25, 2017 at 12:12 p.m.

    TIP 122. BECAUSE IN A 4-3-3 SYSTEM YOU OUTNUMBER THE OPPONENT 4V2 , THEN YOU BEGIN TO APPRECIATE PLAYING THE RONDO 4V2 WHICH IS STILL THE MOST FAVORITE EXERCISE AT AJAX AND ALL THE AJAX GREATS STILL MEET AND PLAY IT TODAY FOR FUN FOR THE PAST50 YEARS....

  61. Georges Carraha replied, August 26, 2017 at 12:11 a.m.

    This discussion is about youth players and people are posting about formations. Go figure!
    There is a lot of merit to have young players play with the ball on their own but it not enough to produce world class players. Most of the players at the top today were part of a system and it is needed to link the technical skills to organized soccer. Too many soccer pundits are giving organized soccer a bad name. Organized soccer can be fun, free-flowing and very helpful in developing young players.
    We need a change of guard and get rid of the clicks that still control soccer in the USA. That is the problem! We still have a bunch of guys dictating outdated methods and exercises during soccer license courses.
    Soccer Academies are killing players' creativity and they are forcing young players to play in a specific style and formation.
    A good player should easily adapt to any style of play or formation! We are creating ROBOTS!

  62. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2017 at 1:57 p.m.

    Georges, you misunderstand. Frank is not talking about formations. He is explaining why the 4v2 rondo is such a good exercise (from young children to adult internationals). You do realize that the purpose of youth sports is not to produce world class players? Maybe 1 in 20 youth players go on to play college. Professionals are a far smaller fraction. Internationals are so much smaller that the number is insignificant in terms of millions of youth players in this country. According to FIFA 1 out of 11 soccer players in the world reside in the USA. A youth coach is going to get pretty frustrated if his goal in life is to produce a "world class" player.

  63. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2017 at 2 p.m.

    Just to clarify, a developmental coach needs to be at the top of the pyramid to have a significant chance to work with players with that potential.

  64. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2017 at 2:38 p.m.

    BOB, Exactly!!!

  65. Nick Daverese, August 25, 2017 at 5:26 p.m.

    When I ran away I lived on the street in the summer time at jefferson park on east 114 street near Pleasant Ave. the nuns let me take the occasional bath in the convent and they washed my clothes. Try to talk me into going to an orphanage I would not go. In the colder whether I lived inside of tenement basements where people stored things they could not fit in there three room apartments. I would break in and take those things and sold them to make money. On reunions I went back August 13 not many people left. I did meet my cousin Rosie I have not seen her in over 40 years she turned 70 just recently. We have the Giglio feast then I go back to lift. Very few people my age try to lift that thing. That God I can still manage to do it. It was funny they messed up building it the back beams were too high. We did not have enough tall lifters for the back. I said get DeBlasio our major he is tall. that was a lot of fun for me and my wife.

  66. frank schoon replied, August 25, 2017 at 5:40 p.m.

    NICK, a lot of interesting tidbits.. you should write a book about your experiences...VERY INTERESTING

  67. Nick Daverese, August 26, 2017 at 1:43 a.m.

    My friend Johnny Roastbeef is writing a screen play called the death of a neighbor hood about our life in Italian Harlem. Before the government had all the tenements thrown down and replaced with the projects. They would not let the Italians move into them. They were trying to stop the heroin trade. They let the Spanish immigrants in, that is how Italian Harlem became Spanish Harlem, Now it's becoming yuppe Harlem. They are buying the tenements that are left for half to a million a piece and putting another 5 to 10 million into them and turning them into 5 story town houses. An old friend of mine Agil owned a red town house like that in the 1950s marble floors indoor pool. His claim to fame was he worked with Al Capone in Brooklyn. They went to Chicago together. He left before Capone went to Florida. He came back a millionaire. Both taxi medalians for 10 dollars a piece. Now an individual medallion is with a million a piece he had 100s of them sold them for around 150 thousand a piece. He was one of 18 children. His mother could not afford them so she put them all in an orphanage until they could get their working papers and help support the family. My friend was the oldest so he got out first. When he came back he got all his brothers and sisters out and sent them to school. They should make a movie about this guy. There is an Capone authority who lives in Chicago john Binder amature soccer player by the way when he was young. He is on tv when stories about Capone come on. I call him west side jack he knew about my friend. When he was 80 the guy would still gambling picking up girls and drink. I was his body guard for a while. He would win and lose 50'thousand in a night. In between games he would have sex with the hostesses there.

  68. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2017 at 8:10 a.m.

    Nick, great stuff,would be a very interesting read

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