Dear Coach: Throw away your 1,000 Drills

Did you just purchase 1,000 drills for five dollars online?

Get a refund, now.

We seem to have embraced a circus approach to training or what I like to call "short attention span theater." Coaches feel that we need to change a drill every six minutes and then make up sensationally complex exercises to keep the attention of the players.

We are not entertainers; we are trainers. We do not need light shows, fireworks, or half time rock stars to motivate our children to play soccer. They will play it without us.

Yesterday, my boys spent three hours playing soccer in the park with their friends and strangers. They just divided up, put the ball in play and played ... and played and played. No drills, no referees, no coaches, no problems.

What we need to consider is how children develop. How they learn. How they process information and how they wire experience into an ever-growing skill set. When we do this, we will probably do a lot less and accomplish a lot more.

We do know that our players (and all human beings) learn through the recognition of patterns. We apply what we have seen, heard and experienced before to new yet similar situations. We do that pretty well as it turns out and it allows us to apply skills to conquer challenges. It allows us to apply concepts to complexity. It allows our players to seek solutions with the confidence they have tackled the scenario several times before.

Unless, of course, they have not seen the same scenario several times before. If they have seen 1,000 different drills, pattern recognition becomes a bit difficult. If we expect them to master a skill or a concept in six minutes we are woefully misguided.

Showing off how many drills or how many cones we can use does not make us impressive coaches. It makes us poor educators.

We are charged with enhancing the experience of young players who would be happy playing 3 hours in the park without us. We can do that by keeping it simple and by using a core base of exercises that have simple variations to add complexity as the players advance. We do not need much more than that. Maybe just throw in a pinch of praise to make the learning tasty.

"Remember that it may take some time for lessons or concepts to sink into young brains. Repetition over time will help form those memories and associations so that they stick." -- Dan Peterson

So, clean out the digital closet a bit and donate the ineffective drills to the cyber trash bin. Focus on rondos, position-play games, and training games to present a repetitive but dynamic series of learning activities.

Then let the kids go home and sleep on it.

When you wake up a few Saturdays from now, you will be the one entertained. You will be delighted by the way your players play the beautiful game and in awe of their ability to play it well without you.

(This article was republished courtesy of Todd Beane, who can be followed on Twitter at @_ToddBeane. He is Founder of TOVO Training and TOVO Academy Barcelona. TOVO Training combines pedagogical practices of experts in the field of education with the visionary principles of a total soccer legend Johan Cruyff. TOVO Academy Barcelona offers soccer immersion programs for youth players and development courses for coaches.)

25 comments about "Dear Coach: Throw away your 1,000 Drills".
  1. Nick Daverese, November 24, 2017 at 1:56 p.m.

    Too many drills are a waste of time. Try that at a try out the player can look bad trying to do them if he has never did them before.

    same is true with learning a lot of moves to beat an opponent. You need the most three that you can start with either foot to beat the opponent.

    Then you can use a pull back to hold possession.

    Then you need a movie to reverse your own field with out help from and opponent that you can start with either foot like the cruyff move which you could learn how to shoot on goal off that move like Roberto Donadoni.

  2. Ray Lindenberg , November 24, 2017 at 9:24 p.m.

    Here we go again … and why not burn some Black Friday, post-turkey calories with some healthy, thoughtful debate, through the literary democracy that posting commentaries invites.


    The following comments are in the footsteps of the previous related article theme of -- how much coaching is the right amount of coaching? … And whether leaving kids to their own devices to learn their skills organically through just playing games (laissez faire kickballing), rather than receiving some applied qualified coaching, is the better North Star and use of practice time for players and coaches. 


    One primary belief inferred from this article, and held by many astute contributors to this discussion group, is that coaches should do less ‘coaching’ and more ‘laissez fairing’ it. Since this issue came up again with this article, I wanted to add my two cents again because I fear that what is being proposed is quite capable of being misunderstood – or at least the discussion can benefit from a clarification of context and a dissenting opinion.


    There isn’t an either/or proposition when it comes to drills-reliant coaching, and leaving kids just to play (laissez fair kickballing). There’s no ‘one or the other’ is better argument to be had. Coaches need to do both: let them play the majority of the practice session; but they also need to come prepared with a plan and the qualified ability to do some teaching, when called for.


    They need to be ‘coaches’ and apply their sense of which skills need explaining, demonstrating, practicing and fine-tuning … and if reading books with a 1,000 drills (which I have not read), or the relatable experience culled from any other literature or video offered to theoretically improve their play, then by all means … read away. I never encourage the avoiding or dismissing of books, in any context, even if they’re off-target. There’s no rule that says all that one reads has to be agreeable, adopted and imparted … but ignoring and automatically discounting different or differing perspectives is not useful.


    Coaches need to read, build up their knowledge base, fine-tune their approaches and philosophies, and improve their own skills and abilities to recognize when their subtle touches, advice and perhaps a specific or obscure drill may be the right thing to fit in during a training session --- in other words, coaching.

  3. Ray Lindenberg replied, November 24, 2017 at 9:27 p.m.

    The second main point favoring not totally laissez faire kickballing as the coach’s sole approach is that not all instances, conditions, ages, skill levels, and soccer environments are the same – therefore there is no one-size-fits-all answer for whether a group of players should be left alone and encouraged to play their way to improvements; or occasionally having coaches interject their influential expertise is the better use of practice time.


    Yes --- if you’re in neighborhoods in Barcelona, Chelsea and La Boca – push the kids out the door and leave them to fill up their skill tanks in pick-up games in the sandlots and streetball … and you’ll do fine in seeing them progress nicely. I happened to enjoy a similar advantage in the pitches and beaches of Copacabana, which got me to leapfrog my contemporaries back in Queens when I returned. Who needed a coach when you had a Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao and my idol, Rivelino to emulate, PLUS the peer pressure of talented, futbol-crazed youths all around you to try and keep up with.


    But that is NOT what is happening in the U.S. The national fever and peer-pressure be top-notch is spotty here, at best. The stars and quality play to emulate here is often second-rate. And there is a severe deficit in the ubiquity of play plus we’re missing the 24-hour cultural embrace that all Soccer-Is-King nations enjoy when it comes to churning out self-taught football players in the U.S. – for now.


    That is the classic argument favoring involved versus coachless coaching during soccer practices in America. No one is saying over-coaching, or pointless coaching is good. It’s not. The juice is in the recognition that players in the U.S., more than many other countries, sometimes need technical skills demonstrations and game condition comprehension tips from coaches to augment their irreplaceable organic skills and game/team knowledge that they gain while simply playing without coaching, so that they can catch-up with youths in the rest of the world on a broader scale from the ground up.

  4. frank schoon replied, November 25, 2017 at 11:02 a.m.

    Hey, Ray...your taking up all the space...I see what your'e doing ,LOLOLOL

  5. Ray Lindenberg , November 24, 2017 at 9:28 p.m.

    Soccer coaches in the U.S. need a boost in standards, and not a stripping down and handcuffing (or to be pushed to provide coachless coaching during practices) simply because some coaches are ill-equipped. Can’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We need to find ways to make coaches better across the board, and not feel that if they interject with something they may have seen, read, studied, or feel is valuable to impart, they’re out-of-bounds and impeding development.  Teachers need to teach. Managers need to manage. Leaders need to lead. And coaches need to coach.


    If a coach feels that, during too much of a given training session, a player or two is ball-hogging too much, not looking for teammates to pass to, and detracting from the development of the other players and the team, the coach needs to have the freedom to intervene if he or she sees fit. That doesn’t mean the coach must step in. Maybe purposely letting it go is swell in that instance so that the star of the team soars for that part of the session. But if the session’s goal is to improve play as a team, create space, look for the open man, increase give-and-gos, and deliver one-touches with good passing form – and things are going off the rails -- you’re darn right the coach has a right and duty to intervene.


    Allowing players to repeat many times and therefore reinforce poor technical skills or selfish team play serves no one, lest the player and all his/her teammates. Soccer is a language that, if learned while immersed with others who are advanced and practice the language well, will lead to success, without the need for lots of teaching. Home-schooling works when there’s someone at home that replaces the need for a teacher.


    But if the learning ensues in an environment with lots of others limited with their skills or struggling to learn, and there’s no teacher to provide the proper guidance and learning references, it’s not going to produce such hot results. Let’s let coaches coach – hold their feet to the fire, and not let them over-coach, especially when not qualified, for sure – but absolutely let them coach when called for – and encouraged to read to expand their encyclopedic knowledge base of coaching and the sport, whenever possible.

  6. Edwardo Brandt, November 25, 2017 at 8:32 a.m.

    Amen! There's a place and time for drill repetition, but given the typical 2 or 3 times a week practices of the average youth team, nothing prepares the players as playing. The coach should add at times certain rules to make sure everyone is fully participating and running. IE: The half line rule, where the entire team has to be on the same side of the field to score, and to defend a score. Here's a quote I read here: 
    “Liverpool practiced small-sided games every day and it was high-intensity stuff. We used to do a very light warm-up, jog around the field a couple of times to loosen the limbs, do a few stretches, put the cones down for goals and then go into five-a-side or eight-a-side.

    “It was the same every single day. There was no tactical work, none whatsoever. All the strategic stuff was done within the small-sided games. Liverpool believed that everything we faced in five-a-sides would be encountered again on match day. That was why the five-a-sides were so competitive. Liverpool’s training characterized Liverpool’s play -- uncomplicated but devastatingly effective.

    “Practicing on smaller pitches, Liverpool was always going to play a short-passing game. We only trained with small goals so there was little long-range shooting. We passed the ball until we got close enough to score. The philosophy centered on passing, making angles and one-touch [soccer].”

    -- John Barnes, Former Liverpool and English national team star.

  7. frank schoon, November 25, 2017 at 10:53 a.m.

    Good Article, I see Johan Cruyff speaking through Todd Beane , his son in law. I didn't do drills as a kid learning the game in the "streets", as a matter of fact that was no such thing as cones in those days, LOL....we just played with anything that rolled. Ofcourse these kids when they join a club will work on certain aspects of the game like perfecting Kicking/Passing techniques by a current or former player. As a matter of fact at FC Den Haag there was a retired great/good player, Rinus Loof, who taught  kicking techniques so well that afficionados could tell when a youth kicked a ball whether he was trained by Rinus Loof. Currently at PSV the kicking is taught by Willy van der Kuylen who is Hollands top goal scorer ever. He likewise teaches players the secret arts of kicking...
    Yes, at club level teaching becomes more specialized, in order to improve the technical skills of players at all facets, like team play. Ruud Kroll from the famous Ajax '70's was a righfooted left fullback but improved his kicking skills by being able to cross the ball with his leftfoot, that resulted in a beautiful cross allowing Cruyff to score agains Brazil in WC'74. In this  manner I agree with Ray . What Todd stressed is so important and I have stated this  before is what you learn playing "pickup' ,street soccer, and that applies to "PERSONAL and TEAM tactics. Todd mentioned "Recognition Patterns" which in layterms mean kids that so play much street soccer, experience similar situations and the solutions to solving them that it  becomes part of the  playing DNA. 
    In other words here is a perfect example where kids learn without a coach how to handle different game situations. Upon joining a soccer club they are already are well versed and able to recognize similar game situations experienced on the streets that ccurred on the field.
     I'm glad we are beginning to see more and more articles about up pick up soccer that I've been stressing as additional way of developing youth, in these post for the couple of years. I hope it will become a topic "mixed pick up soccer" at the top level.

  8. Bob Ashpole, November 25, 2017 at 7:06 p.m.

    I suspect that every coach uses fewer and simpler exercises as they gain experience. 

  9. Ray Lindenberg , November 26, 2017 at 9:05 a.m.

    As we all, I've been witness to some pretty horrendous over-coaching and bad-coaching -- albeit that much of it was offered by well-meaning but perhaps unqualified coaches who were oblivious to their transgressions … sometimes pressed into duty as the soccer-dad or soccer-mom 'coach' of last resort.

    Recently I saw a real Dusey ... a coach teaching kids some dribbling techniques that included the best way to achieve a nutmeg. Can you imagine a more wasteful use of a practice time ... a coach going out of the way to teach a kid an improvise-only move that, when done as a calculated move, is an affront designed to humiliate the opponent? That a player learns nutmegging instinctively on his/her own organically during a laissez faire, coachless scrimmage or Streetball ... OK. But to teach this as a dribbling move, in my book, is grounds for some delivering some severe over-coaching to the coach, for not recognizing the unsportsmanship that he/she is fomenting by training nutmegging. Arrgghh!

    Another chuckle-worthy example is seeing novice coaches, perhaps trying on their best Jimmy Valvano sideline antics impression, ordering their defenders to pop back into place and line-up in perfect east-west linear formations once the ball is cleared to the front line, a la down re-sets in American football.

    But under-coaching is a problem too, especially in the US suburbs where, except at some rare hotbed pockets, invaluable Streetballing and pick-up games aren’t constantly available for the kids to pop into. Parents who sign up and pay for their kids to join leagues and teams as their only outlet for youth soccer, aren’t always too pleased when they see their kids relegated to accessory status while the star of the team hogs the ball, puts his/her head down and bull-rushes ahead with the ball, possession after possession, without any intention, regard or desire to share it with his or her teammates (or her son or daughter).

    I agree with the parents and kids in these instances. There has to be more to a team game like soccer than seeing the star dominate all the play. Those stars should perhaps be promoted to a higher level that’s more challenging, and where they gotta up their skills if they want to get away with ball-hogging.  

    All players deserve to get equal coaching attention and customized technical skills tips during practice to catch-up to, and become, the better players. Part of most PRACTICES should also allow for programmed guidance, plus the fine-tuning and positive verbal reinforcement of technical and playing skills FROM QUALIFIED COACHES, so that all players on the team (and not just the star) improve at their own pace … NOT in place of the scrimmaging, but during intervals during practice, to complement it. 

  10. frank schoon replied, November 26, 2017 at 1:33 p.m.

    RAY, I totally disagree with you on the Nutmeg move. I emphasize it even during games ,especially in the beginning. It all has to do with psychology. I tell my players when you first get the ball at the start of the game and  an opponent  is coming at you or positioned square try putting it between his legs. If it works his Confidence shoots up a hundreds points and your opponent has a let down. Once you achieve that it is like your floating on air.  If it didn't work, and the opponent gets the ball , I expect my player to chase him down. I want my kids to feel unhampered and not worry about failure for that is so often the case with players who worry about losing the ball when trying something, even if it is a simple dribble. I tell that player ,if it didn't work do it again upon your own choosing. So much about the game is MENTAL and so much is about CONFIDENCE. This is why my players will walk onto the field with an air of confidence and not worry about failure when trying something for they have my backing . Sometimes during the game I will talk in very relaxed manner to my player when he has the ball with a man on him, " don't pass it relax it, shield it, play with your opponent , put it between his legs if you have to"... It is a psychological booster for he's not worried about failure and the opponent hearing this can't believe that his importance has been  minimized. A nutmeg move is an excellent move for the opponent doesn't expect it, that's the other advantage. I also teach them to nutmeg an opponent when the opponent is positioned perpindicular to your left shoulder and  the ball placed by the inside of your right foot, then without even having to look at the ball and the opponent, you push the ball between his legs as you turn a little to the left ..I see the putting the ball between an opponent's legs not as a fancy move but a move or a tool to beat the opponent ..

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, November 26, 2017 at 4:55 p.m.

    I agree with Frank. You can beat a marker by going left, right, over or through. I don't give any special emotional baggage to beating someone by any of the four alternatives. You take the path they give you. Beating someone by fair play is not bad sportsmanship. Taunting someone you beat is.  

  12. Ray Lindenberg , November 26, 2017 at 5:01 p.m.

    I think this is one of probably a few examples that perfectly underscore the philosophical footballing divide between sporting societies, plus individual standards. Frank and Bob - I respect that you encourage, approve and coach players to purposely nutmeg, perhaps as a psychological ploy to gain an upper hand -- and likewise, I hope that you respect my stance of disagreeing with approved, strategic nutmegging and the training of it.

    Nutmegging, if the flow of the play calls for it?... sure. But coaching kids to intentionally do it? Not in my book. Perhaps it's cultural or regional -- but my standard for every sport (especially team sports) is that any move that can be construed as an attempt to trigger an opponent’s embarrassment or let-down, is off-limits and a no-can-do in my camps, academies, clinics, team/group practices sessions, and certainly in my 1-on-1 tutoring sessions for my younger novices plus my more capable college-prep level players.

    It follows a common American sports unwritten rule (in hockey, and especially basketball) based on sportsmanship courtesy, that eschews and views going out of yoir way to  nutmeg as an act of condescension, unless it comes up spontaneously as the best option to avoid a tackle, maintain offensive possession, or advance the ball & play.

    In Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and most other Latin-American countries, a ‘caño’, ‘tubo’ or ‘tunel’ (nutmeg) -- even if spontaneous -- is so taboo that many coaches profess to making the nutmegging artist pay for it, and green-light a forceful, hard tackle (or worse) of the aggressor, asap – to send a firm, off-setting, psychological message of their own that nutnmeg-shaming is not a welcomed move, and that subsequent displays won’t be taken lightly. 

    In many (not all) footballing societies, and to many players on both teams, rough physical play as retaliation to nutnegging has traditionally been an expected and justifiable response, regardless of whether the name on the back of the jersey read Neymar, Pele or Cruyff. I don’t condone nutmegging, or physical retaliation, just like I deplore running up the score, but recognize they’re all widespread practices.

    Coaching philosophy and values count … big-time. Transferable behaviors learned from good sport citizenship, teamwork -- and respect for opponents and the sport itself, yield the greatest takeaways and dividends over the course of a career and life -- much greater than soccer skill improvement … and winning … me-thinks.

  13. frank schoon replied, November 26, 2017 at 7:29 p.m.

    Ray, to me putting a ball between an opponent's legs to get an advantage to beat an opponent is part of the game.  Now a player can make a player look bad when it is not necessary is something else, but as far as functional move in a particular situation , I have no problem with it. As a matter of fact this move has a difficulty factor in itself and very few players have the hutzpah to attempt it. All good players have hutzpah. Cruyff , Beckenbauer, Best , Puskas, Di Stefano, David Ginola, etc. Furthermore, once a defender has been nutmegged, he will back off and think twice first before committing himself again and thereby giving the opponent a little more time with the ball which is what you want for it is all about time and space in this game. I want my players to feel and appear cocky ,and confident with the ball and able to back it up. This is called Amsterdam bravado and Ajax and the  Dutch team of WC '74 was as cocky as they come. Psychology, of which confidence is such a big part of the game.... 

  14. Bob Ashpole, November 26, 2017 at 8:07 p.m.

    Frank, actually I think getting nutmegged reinforces the first defender's need to use proper technique (near approach is sideways, not with hips square on). 

    Ray, why don't you let dribblers punish markers using a bad stance? My high school coaches would purposely embarrass players in training to make a point that they wouldn't forget in matches. I have never embarrassed a player, but then if I had coached as many players as my high school coaches I might have run into a situation or 2 where a player's ego might need a little deflating.

    My culture and the team culture I try to instill doesn't impart any special significance to how a player is beaten. Nutmeg or otherwise, I would discourage taunting of beaten players. I want players to stay focused and effective, not distracted by mistakes.


  15. frank schoon replied, November 26, 2017 at 9:24 p.m.

    Bob, so much of soccer is psychology ,making yourself  appear to the  opponent confident. Ruud Gullit as he walked onto the field stood poised,   straight up, head up  with his chest outward. Players who have pride in their technical dexterity have an air about themselves ,a cockiness an arrogance in the way they carry themselves on the field that is immediately noticeable to opponents. Remember , so many players right before the game have butterflies ,are a little nervous, and psychologically it doesn't help if they see someone confident in his demeanor.
    In Holland teams from the province who are not from the cities, like Amsterdam, Rotterdam , those players never are as good as the city boys who have tougher street mentality, bravado, mouthy, cocky, arrogant, self assured, then  the players who grew up out in the country. This is the reason why the Earps and Doc Holliday won the shoot out at the OK Corrall for they were city boys used to shooting in small spaces as compared to the Clanton gang who were more used to the open range.  When a team buys a player they need to also know the environment he comes from for it needs to fit in with the other players.  This also applies to coaches. Dutch humor is very sarcastic ,very critical, and the Dutch nature sees the glass as half empty. Spanish players can easily have their ego hurt by criticism and Dutch coaches in Spain are told to be careful with the sarcastic humor. Dutch players, likewise, are told to be careful with new players  from Hispanic or Southern Europe joining the team. Psychology plays a big part in soccer 

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, November 27, 2017 at 8:58 a.m.

    Frank, I agree on the importance of the mentality aspect (psychology). I consider it the most important part of both player development and competition. When I played I regularly employed various "tricks" to manipulate opponents, all fair play of course. 

  17. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2017 at 9:52 a.m.

    Bob, we  think so much on similar lines, LOL, because we were attack oriented players. This is why I  prefer that youth to a certain age have coaches that were not defender types, but offensice creator types. In Holland the kids have a small sided game employing 3 teams. Whichever team scores or nutmegs one of the opponents stays in and the other comes out. The nutmegging aspect teaches players to think how their bodies are positioned defensively as not to get nutmegged. In other words , the players are made to be very consciouss of what they are doing,THINKING, trying to read the opponent's advances , how he can stop him, without himself getting beat.....Again this is another benefit of street/pickup soccer, the thinking for so much of the game is based on technique.

  18. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2017 at 12:39 p.m.

    Bob, another way of nutmegging your opponent that I teach which is a patented move the great 'Van Hanegem' the lefthalf of Feyenoord and the Dutch team of WC'74 always used. As he faces the opponent directly he turns 1/8 to the left with ball on the outside of his  left foot. He waits for the opponent to make a stab with the right foot at the ball. The moment he commits he leaves his legs  spread and Van Hanegem puts it between his legs, employing the inside of his left foot to push the ball through.. Johan Neeskens got burned a couple of times and learned. Another way I teach how to nutmeg an opponent is when your on the flank near the  end line facing the opponent's goal. At that moment the back  ran towards you, stops to contain you. Watch closely if the back when he stops or he is positioned that way, has his feet square and leaning or rather bent over forwards then you can nutmeg him. When his feet are square and bend over forwards , he can't raise legs and his center of gravity is too far forwards, stuck in a way....then push the between his legs and run by him...

  19. Ray Lindenberg , November 27, 2017 at 2:22 a.m.

    Although I disagree with calculated, intentional and coached nutmegging, I thoroughly agree with Frank's: "... a player (making another) player look bad when it is not necessary is something else, but as far as functional move in a particular situation ..." -- that makes two of us. As I previously posted, by all means, when the flow of the play calls for a nutmeg as the best and perhaps only option for your player to control and advance the ball, it’s both picturesque and prudent to do so.

    One of my ultimate guilty-pleasures as a spectator has been watching videos and live displays of nutmegging. Admittedly, I grew up with a penchant for the Brazilian 'safo' audaciousness (stylish, chutzpah-driven, streetball moves with a shmear of 'wise-guying' – like what sounds that goes on in Amsterdam) -- marveling at the safo-magic and footballing joie de vivre of Garrincha, Nene Cubillas, Ronaldinho, George Best, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and many, many more ... and might as well throw in the whole global travelling 'Friendlies' team of Santos of the 60s and 70s -- the closest thing there's ever been resembling a Harlem Globetrotters in soccer.

    But, as much as I enjoy the art, skill and thrill of watching nutmegging -- from a coaching standpoint, I can’t endorse the training and encouragement of it, beyond the laissez faire, improvised, scrimmage-learned, spontaneous variety, given the unsportsmanship and retaliatory dimensions that I’ve experienced as associated with it in many parts of the world -- from the historically rich Queens, NY ethno-soccer scene, to the many footballing nations that I have visited.

    As far as cockiness as a byproduct of genius talent in any team sport -- I unrealistically hope it mainly manifests itself as confidence based on an honest self-assessment of skills and preparedness, and not a misguided state of conceit and bravura that exudes arrogance (the compelling antics of Ali and McEnroe get a pass, since boxing and tennis are soloist sports).

    Finally, as far as using nutmegging diring training as a way to prepare against nutmegging; I think an anti parallel-footing stance training segment -- the defensive method associated with ‘El Kaiser Argentino’ Daniel Passarella, and others -- makes for a better antidote to flat-footed defending.

    The best defender there ever was is the original Kaiser – Franz Beckenbauer. He was also the embodiment of grace, class, sportsmanship and gentlemanliness on the pitch. His rare, elegant nutmegs were done so improvised and in the flow, and not something he sought to do, or was necessarily proud of doing, as some of you may remember Dettmar Creamer relating to us in the early 70s.

  20. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2017 at 9:44 a.m.

    Ray, Beckenbauer was grace personified, I don't think anyone could pass the ball with the outside of the foot and place it where he wants like him. I made a tape of him of all the passes he made to study his mannerisms. But one thing you're wrong about him is that Beckenbaur was no defender, not by a long shot. He began playing as a winger, like Ruud Krol who likewise started as a wing and  probably became the second greatest libero. The Beckenbauer then moved to play midfield which he didn't like for it was too much running and defensive work. At Libero he had guys like Schwarzenbeck, Breitner and others to do the defensive dirty work for him. Beckenbauer  was an attacker coming up from the backfield. He was like a Guardiola but played instead played behind the defense.  Yes, he appeared as you watch to be a gentleman in his demeanor, but close up is a different story. He was arrogant to a tee, just his mannerism as you see him walk on the field should tell you enough. A player told a story about Beckenbauer. If you watched German games when Beckenbauer played for Bayern, you will never see an opponent going after Beckenbauer, this was not done to the Kaiser. Well in one game one of the German players on the opposing team went after The Kaiser. The players on the field were shocked to see this. As he approached Beckenbauer , the Kaiser said 'what are you doing here, get  out of here, you dog". The player backed off and apologized to him...true story. ? Good players are arrogant, self assured and cocky and the first thing you do on the field is to let that opponent know that you are better and that can be done in many different ways, through arrogantly putting it between someone's legs or like the Kaiser did. Once that opponent has that respect for you it is so much easier to play for he'll give you more time. Look at all the great players and see how much time they are given through respect. BTW, Beckenbauer passed with the outside of the foot because he was pidgeon toed. The coaches always yelled at him for passing with the outside of the foot...Again we had licensed idiots that didn't understand the game.

  21. Ray Lindenberg , November 27, 2017 at 2:04 p.m.

    So … at this stage, this is what our private binge-PenPalling in plain, public sight, has evolved into? Ahhh ... Der Kaiser ... the most elegant mid-to-long-range passer of a soccer ball that meine eyes have ever seen (alongside Roberto Rivelino, of course), not only because he mastered the 'Tres Dedos' pass (outside of the foot chipping and lofting) ... but because he did so with such grace and accuracy.

    Tres Dedos passing is perhaps the ultimate artistic expression in the sport -- but what Der Kaiser did was inter-galactic. His outside of the foot, banana arced passes floated like butterflies, until arriving at teammates' feet with such great precision, often landing softly and in perfect position for the receiver to trap and/or advance the ball instantly, productively and with as much grace as it’s deliverer

    So now we move onto the debate du jour ... is it accurate for Der Kaiser to even be considered a Defender, beyond the obvious that, on the formation schemes, he hovered in the back lines?

    I guess it gets down to another philosophical argument. Is a Defender's job primarily to defend and interrupt attacks -- or is it equally to serve in the critical role of jumpstarting the attack? Noteworthy is that Beckenbauer was never a slouch when it came to 'elegantly' crunching attacking opponents, when need be. But he didn't have to be a tiger as a Defender -- his mere presence in that zone constantly thwarted what would otherwise have been threatening attack build-ups. Hence, because of that uncanny skill, his defensive prowess, at times, has been questioned in a similar way that great Right-fielders in baseball often don't lead in put-outs. Their arm and sheer presence precludes baserunners from 'going there' and testing their defensive throwing skills. In this anomaly, the Defender was guilty of playing system that his unworldly skills called for, to give his team the best chance at winning, and which also allowed him to impose his strengths. 

    I'm not surprised that Der Kaiser was flawed in his personal dealings with people. Many geniuses suffer in that way. The considerable, well-earned respect and gravitas that he garnered and exuded led to the perfect clearing for opponents to treat him reverentially on the field.

    But as the ultimate free-to-roam Libero Defender in sports, there has only been 2:  the Lawrence Taylor defensive wreckage phenomenon in American Football in the 80’s; and Der Kaiser offensive-defender juggernaut. A great part of his defensive gift was putting the fear into attackers that was psychologically intimidating, borne out of his preemptive positioning prowess, passing and flow reads, and that he'd out-perform them technically, starting with his Tres Dedo-ing ... no nutmegging was required.

  22. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.

    Ray, Beckenbauer had it easy on defense for he had his backfield people do the hard work for him. Beckenbuaer ,I don't think ever had dirt on his shorts coming off the field. He had it easy playing behind the defenders as he positioned himself in manner behind his man to man defender in case the opponent got through. In the same manner Ronald Koeman and Guardiola played defense on Barcelona's Dream Team, both likewise , who were not defenders but employed a positional defense. Realize the Dream team and Bayern were great teams, who dominated their opponent and thus playing defense for Beckenbauer, Koeman and Guardiola was not so much of an issue. 
    Your question about a defender to either to stop an attack or begin an attack  can be answered very simply... you need both because you have to maintain a semblance of balance. Just like you can't have midfielders who all want come to the ball and like to receive the ball  to their feet , you need some who run away from the ball and some who come to ball, that's balance, and that goes for the front line to. On defense, Beckenbauer lack of defense and attacking specialty is balanced by Schwarzenbeck who strictly is a man to man defender who wasn't allowed to go on attack, but instead cover for Franz going up. Today, we have the outside back move up on attack with centerbacks stay behind defense, again it's balance.  With the Dream Team, Koeman and Guardiola lack of defense was balanced by the outside back who played man to man. In Italy a defender is a defender it was only with AC Milan in early 90's that copied the Dutch style of upcoming attacking backs which was so revolutionary under Sacci. In Holland in contrast to Italian defenders, we want defenders who not only can defend but also able to initiate attack in it's various forms. For example the initial pass forwards from the back towards midfield has to be perfect, meaning the speed, the acccuracy and to the right foot depending on the position of the opponent guarding the receiver. Ball distribution is not a quality Italian defenders are judged by but instead in Italy what is most important is defense that you didn't allow your man to score....Cruyff believed in ballhandlers as defenders that is why he sometimes played with one true defender in the back for he thought  players in the back that can handle a ball preempts the opponents of starting an attack. 

  23. Ray Lindenberg , November 27, 2017 at 7:02 p.m.

    Yup. The best defense in all sports is a robust offense, often led by a prolific attacking agent buttressed by an airtight defense and system that includes an uber-defender providing extra coverage, and thus the freedom for the Libero to roam and create. The ultimate Libero: Beckenbauer doesn't flourish without a disciplined Shwarzenbeck providing the backbone of confidence and prerequisite expanded coverage. (in Ameican football, no Harry Carson to provide the reliable coverage freedom, and there wouldn't have been a masterful Lawrence Taylor to 'Libero' it). 

    And it doesn't have to be a back-lines Libero either to achieve attacking genius. No Diego Simeone ... no Madadona. No Lonel Alvarez ... no Pibe Valderrama ... on and on.

    But again, efficient defending, thanks to positioning brilliance and advanced game flow IQ ain't chopped liver -- and often costs players the props they deserve when assessing their defensive chops.

  24. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2017 at 7:21 p.m.

    I'm watching closely how Guardiola is doing on defense for he doing what Cruyff is doing perhaps have true defender and the rest footballer. His last year at Bayern he actually played 2-3-5,
     at times ,the old system that I  first grew up with back in the 50's. 

  25. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2017 at 7:22 p.m.

    I meant to say play with one true defender and the rest footballers

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