Soccer Coaching – Practice Players Vs Game Players

Ever notice that there are some players whose performance in practice is fantastic, but they are not contributors at game time? There are also players who do not seem motivated at practice, but are extremely effective during the game. Why is this?

I think it has to do with psychology. Some players are very comfortable with the practice environment, because they know the players around them. There is an element of security and familiarity that is not present on game day. Some players also suffer from performance anxiety, so they think too much about the outcome and not enough about the task at hand.

It is also common for players to have mental blocks, so they associate failure with certain scenarios. These players typically stress after a mistake and it takes them very long to recover. Some never do and their performance deteriorates as the game progresses.

Then we have the player that coasts through practice and is your best player on Saturday. This is also a psychological issue. This player loves a challenge and rises to the occasion on game day. He / she is confident and wants to prove to himself / herself as well as to the opponents that they can play. This player is not motivated at training because they have the incorrect interpretation of its purpose. To them it is just practice and they do not see the need to go all out against their teammates.

There are pitfall with both players. The player that works at practice, but can't translate this to game time has to overcome their personal fears. This takes time and experience. Some coaches do not have the patience and these players are left out. Especially at the higher levels. I know you are thinking how does a player with the ability, not translate it to the game? Well here is a possible reason. This player may have played for a coach when he was very young that stressed results … a screamer. This coach probably took players off every time they made a mistake and never offered a solution.

The game player is really no better off in the long run because they never get to full fitness. The training habits begin to catch up with them as their talent alone will not see them through at the next level. Training habits and discipline are key to success, so unless this player gains an appreciation for the intangibles, then they too will be left out eventually.

How is this type of player created? Here is another possibility. He / she was always physically gifted and the team relied heavily upon them for success when they were younger. He / she never had to push themselves at training because they were way ahead of the rest, so it was acceptable to the coach. This player played the entire game and was the focus of the team. They got the ball to him / her at all times regardless of outcome.

Obviously this player gained tremendous confidence, because of the treatment received from the coaching staff. The sad thing is that when these players become part of team where everyone is treated the same and is expected to work at all times, they sometimes fail. They now have to perform a function clarified at practice (an environment they have never taken seriously) and the game no longer revolves around them.

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Dutch Soccer Fan Forum – Sharing Ideas

Dutch soccer is indeed one of the popular sports in Denmark and due to fans overwhelming support of the Ajax Amsterdam clubs; they have created a Dutch soccer fan forum. This is made for the clubs information, awards and happenings. It is also about the national teams and about fans comments and suggestions as well.

As we all know forum is a way to attract viewers or to gain lots of ideas from them. Every sport has a forum and usually it represents the country interest and on what sports they really are into. For the love of soccer or perhaps any sport, fans give credit to their teams by creating a forum for them. Just like the Dutch Football where fans invented it to let everyone know that they are proud of their team.

Everybody loves to read on forums because it offers a lot of ideas and information regarding a certain topic. I have seen several forums about soccer and Dutch soccer fan forum is intriguing for me. I haven't heard much about Dutch soccer yet and reading to the forum makes me aware that they are indeed a football country too.

Its fun reading fans ideas and even sometimes they will fight for misunderstanding in the topics and comments. Fans would also get to know each other whether from Denmark or some other parts of the world. As far as I know Dutch has no rivalry with some other countries so the forum is purely about the game and opinions of fans regarding on national teams as well as the international leagues and events about soccer.

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What Are the Best BowFlex Exercises to Train For Soccer?

A soccer player must have both a strong core and strong legs. To achieve this there are several exercises available with a Bow Flex.

Core:

Most athletes need a solid core to build from. As with any construction, if the core is weak no amount of work on the outside can overcome that weakness.

The core of your body consists of your abdomen and some back muscles. As you probably already know, the best exercises for strengthening the abdomen are crunches.

The Bow Flex Ultimate 2 home gym has the widest range of exercises including abdominal. Strengthening your core is simple with these exercises:

Reverse crunch

Resisted reverse crunch

Seated abdominal crunch

Seated oblique abdominal crunch

Ab crunch with attachment

Trunk rotation

Standing oblique crunch

Legs:

The most important tool a soccer player has is their legs. After building a solid core, it is time to go to work on the legs. With the Bow Flex, you can do these leg-strengthening exercises:

Leg extension

Lying leg extension

Squat (with attachment)

Lunge

Ankle eversion

Ankle inversion

Standing hip abduction

Standing hip extension

Seated hip abduction

Calf press

Leg press

Leg curls and more

These will increase strength and power for kicking and maneuvering the ball down the field.

Other Exercise:

If you have ever watched a soccer game you know there is a lot of one thing, and that is running back and forth across the field. This takes a lot of stamina and endurance. While muscle building and strengthening is important, perhaps just as important is building endurance.

A great way to achieve this goal is with the Bow Flex Tread Climber. This machine combines the work out of a treadmill with the stepping motion of a stair climber. All this is wrapped up in a smooth elliptical movement that is easy on the joints. Increasing your heart rate and building long distance stamina is a breeze.

Bow Flex has the complete package for any athlete and that includes soccer players. If you are an aspiring player, do yourself a favor and train using either or both of these great Bow Flex machines.

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Football Cleats – Speed Demons

Some football cleats are designed for speed! You may argue that you can’t go wrong with a pair of good sturdy football cleats for in any sort of action on a football pitch, but there is so much research in materials while making shoes that it is becoming quite popular to recommend certain types and brands of shoes for certain roles in the field and speed is one requirement for quite a few player positions on a football field.

What are the some of the characteristics of football cleats designed for speed?

· They are low-cut cleats. They do not offer ankle protection, but facilitate better cutting, movement and speed. The mid cut cleats offer some amount of ankle protection, but also allow for speed running and are used by running backs, quarterbacks, etc. It is up to the player which one he feels comfortable in.

· They are lighter. Uppers are in a single layer, and the shoe is built to help players accelerate. The triangular studs at the front of the shoe give more traction while accelerating. Minimum materials are used to maintain the lightness.

· There are filaments which are placed strategically across the topside of the foot, like a suspension bridge, which offer greater support to the foot. Such features are patented technologies of manufacturers. It gives a tight fit, but flexible because it takes on the natural shape of the foot.

· The material for uppers is also an advanced polyester yarn whose weave allows a single, seamless upper that gives greater tenacity. Combined with an injected outsole, this offers speed with lightweight comfort.

· There are insert foams which are shaped exactly like a wearer’s foot, giving a more comfortable fit. This is also a proprietary feature, like the molded tongues which add to the comfort fit in the said models.

Which positions should wear these sorts of cleats and why?

· Quarterbacks moving out of their traditional roles of making accurate passes are having to play the ball more. They need speed and agility, so these cleats are good for them.

· Running Back – where you must get out onto the field and outrun your opponent. They come in handy here as well

· Defensive Back – needs speed and traction

· Tight ends are players who can switch their roles between wide receiver and offensive lineman. Instant speed is required when the catch a pass.

What should a player do before a big game in preparation for it?

· Get a good eight hours of sleep the night before the game.

· Do not have a heavy meal at least a couple of hours before the game

· Mentally get into the week’s game a few days before, stay positive and talk to the coaching staff about strategies along with your teammates.

· On the day of the game, reach at least three hours before. Many players recommend reading the game-day program in detail to calm the mind! Get taped up per your needs with your favorite staff member, after any pregame massages or treatment you may need. Acupuncture works wonders at this last minute of preparation, for nagging pains and aches.

· Jogging round the field and making small cuts to test the cleats for traction and whether they are suited to the surface of the ground and soil conditions is a ritual most footballers can’t do without.

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Barefoot Training For Soccer Players Increases Their Speed and Explosiveness

Do you want to get faster and more explosive on the soccer field? Would you like to lower the risk of getting injured? If so, keep reading!

Many soccer teams that I train or athletes that I work with share a common trait when they warm up…they all warm up in their bare feet. Here is the reason for that. By wearing shoes all the time, we are not strengthening the small muscles in the foot as well as we could. Shoes obviously serve a purpose, but try warming up your team without their shoes on and by doing this you will start to strengthen all of those small muscles in the feet, you will also help to strengthen the joints and ligaments in the ankle and lower leg as well.

I have written before about the Active Dynamic Warm up (ADW). If players do their ADW (series of exercises to warm their core body temperature up and then stretch dynamically) before their practice starts, they will in effect be doing themselves a huge favor.

Since soccer players (and most athletes) use their feet so much to not only play the sport of soccer but to be athletic too, training their feet to get stronger will absolutely increase their soccer speed, make them stronger which in turn will make them more explosive and will also reduce the number of lower leg injuries as well.

While I know this example is a bit of a reach, if you consider it, then you can see how barefoot training can effect your feet. Alright, so here is the example. If you wore baseball gloves on your hands for 2 weeks and did your normal routine, when you took the baseball gloves off and then tried to open a brand new jar of peanut butter, you probably couldn’t do it. The small muscles in your hand got weaker since you didn’t use them fully. The same thing applies when you wear shoes.

If you do a barefoot warm up, please make certain to clear the area of any rocks or sticks or anything that could injure a players foot. If you train indoors, then this issue is greatly reduced.

Just 15 minutes of barefoot training will help soccer players generate more speed, increase their agility and help to reduce lower leg and foot injuries.

I hope you have a great day!

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3 Unusual Things That Can Make A Difference With Your Soccer Cleats

There are plenty of options when it comes to soccer cleats thanks to the many brands developing new designs and series every once in a while. Your football boots may do little in improving your skills on the pitch, but they do play a huge role in how you perform while out there and how easy it is for you to use your football playing skills. For this reason, you definitely need to get yourself a pair of boots that works for your style of play to be able to achieve your objectives during play.

When buying soccer cleats, players check out the usual elements like sizing, brand, materials and cost of the cleat. However, by digging more into details that are not that commonly checked out, you increase your chances of finding soccer cleats that offer so much more than just a pair of boots to protect your feet during play. Here are some of the unusual things you should consider checking out when buying your next football boots to get a pair you will simply love using.

1. Stud configuration

Boot companies are going beyond the usual when it comes to stud configuration and traction. Some have embraced innovative configurations that provide new traction type like the extreme positioning of rear tripod studs so that early ground contact and stability is achieved with the high velocity release. In some cases the misaligned studs come with forefoot studs to allow excellent traction as well as explosive acceleration. You can also find two blade heel design which caters to acceleration and allows the studs to penetrate and at the same time release off the surface even when you are at your fastest speed possible. Check out what the stud configurations means to your performance and get yourself a cleat that will make a difference for you during play.

2. Missing tongue

It may sound weird because everyone is used to boots and shoes that have tongues. However, the missing tongue is not a mistake, but actually an intentional removal that eliminates flapping that most players may have experienced before. A number of brands are embracing the no tongue boot design to reduce weight of the boot and to also manage creating a better looking boots overall. With the tongue missing, the companies have created comfortable fits around the ankles so you still enjoy comfort even with the tongue removed.

3. Foam insert

90 minutes of play can seem like years when you have little cushioning for your feet. With all the running and kicking, you definitely deserve an insert that eases your feet in the most comfortable of ways throughout the game. A thick insole that offers a responsive and spongy feel would be the best for this. Football boot brands use different materials, but boots that feature 4D foam inserts seem to be quite impressive in terms of comfort and balance. Check out the type of foam insert that comes with your pair of cleats and make a good choice for the sake of your feet.

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Soccer Boot Use Tips To Prolong Life And Maximize Effectiveness

Choosing the right boot for playing is very important because it can maximize performance while in the field of play. Size and comfort are some of the most important elements to consider when getting a pair. But in order to keep your boots in good shape for longer so you can continue enjoying maximum effectiveness, you would need to use them in the proper manner. Below are some soccer cleat use tips that can help you achieve just that.

Tip 1 – Wear the right cleats for the right surface type. Soft ground cleats for instance, should not be used on hard surfaces otherwise they will easily wear and tear. Go for ground specific boots or choose a pair that is suitable for all types of grounds for more convenience.

Tip 2 – Loosen up the boot laces. You may want the boot to remain in place but tight laces can be pretty uncomfortable for your feet. Try loosening them to last eyelet only tightening them again up the highest eyelet. A good lace fit reduces stress to forefoot and this makes the fit more comfortable for you.

Tip 3 – Use cleats that are suitable for your foot shape. Your cleats should not be subjected to pressure on areas not designed to take up such pressure otherwise they will break easily. If you have wide feet, then keep off narrow shoes and instead select cleats that are designed for wide feet otherwise you will end up damaging the area where the outsole meets the upper. If possible, try walking around in the new pair just to have a fee before buying.

Tip 4 – Use more than one pair of football boots. It may be an expensive option but giving your cleats, some break ensures that you do not overuse them hence you prolong their life. If you are always practicing and taking part in matches, then using multiple pairs should be a very good idea to extend the life of your boot.

Tip 5 – Replace the studs when there is a need to. Cleats that come with detachable studs can be very reliable. Let the replacement of the studs be dictated by how often you use the boots and the conditions under which you use them on. It would be a very good idea to replace the studs as soon as they start becoming uneven because it is an issue that can throw you off balance and possibly even cause injuries.

Tip 6 – Break in your cleats. It is never a good idea to use your new cleats in a match before you break them in as it can lead to blistering and make your play very uncomfortable. Use them for light exercises and stuff them with newspaper so you break them in without causing any damage to them. It is a process that eliminates the initial tightness that comes with the boots giving you a more comfortable fit when it is time to play a major game.

It is also important that you wash the cleats properly depending on the materials and let them air dry before storing them in the best way.

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Pre-Season Soccer Training – The Basics

Effective pre-season training is important for all soccer players of any age, whether you play for a team in the Premier League or your local college team and the work done in pre-season can define the competitive season ahead, making the difference between winning trophies or being also-rans.

The Pre-season soccer training schedule should be planned out by the coach in order to maximise each session. Ideally training should begin at least five to six weeks before the season actually starts.

Each training session should start with a thorough warm-up taking care not to strain any muscles in early pre-season. Ideally each session should begin with a five minutes gentle jogging followed by gentle static stretching, followed by more jogging followed by a more intensive stretching session, while taking care not to over stretch and cause damage to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Stretching for soccer should include all major muscle groups, with a mixture of dynamic and static stretches. Dynamic stretching exercises that are perfect for soccer and include swinging the arms and circling the shoulders, twisting the upper body and swinging the legs as if kicking an imaginary ball, be careful not to over stretch with these exercises. Static stretches do not involve movement of the joint and are essential for the quadriceps and hamstrings. Ballistic stretches which involve bouncing to maximise the stretch are no longer advocated and should be avoided.

Running is excellent for aerobic conditioning and should be encouraged as improved fitness will pay dividends later in the season, this should involve distance work, sprinting and running that involves work with the soccer ball. Dribbling the soccer ball around cones or across a defined area will improve conditioning, speed and ball control at the same time.

Work with the soccer ball can be extended by spending time controlling the ball with the feet, knees and head, a perfect way to practice this is to divide players into pairs and have one player throw the ball while the other controls and returns to his partner .

Each session can be completed with a short game possibly integrating two touch soccer which will improve ball control and passing accuracy and also encourage thinking and movement off the ball. Following the game a cool down with stretching should take place to minimise aching and tired muscles which will aid recovery for your next session.

During early pre-season is it important not to over exert the players and to make the sessions fun which will motivate if players are tired not too push them too much, this can result in injury and lack of enthusiasm. Another important factor for any training session is adequate hydration, ensure all the players have a water bottle and keep adequately hydrated throughout the training session.

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5 Mistakes Youth Soccer Coaches Make

Being a great youth soccer coach is not rocket science. You can do it, but you might need a bit of help to get off on the right foot. I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years as a coach. Most of them weren’t fatal, but having a good understanding of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them will help you have much more fun as you develop your own winning team of soccer studs.

5 Coaching Mistakes You Must Avoid:

Mistake #1 – The No Fun Coach

Members of the media call the NFL the «No Fun League» because the commissioner has outlawed

the celebrations and other things that really make the game entertaining. Unfortunately, the same

can be said of the majority of youth soccer coaches. Remember whom you are coaching.

Remember their age and think about how kids this age see things. Put yourself in their shoes if you can and always ask yourself «Would I have enjoyed this when I was a kid?» I’ll give you a key hint here…Kids want to have fun playing soccer. They enjoy the game more when they get to touch the ball A LOT! They don’t want to stand in line.

Mistake #2 – The Survivor Coach

The basic premise of the hit show Survivor is that a group of people are left on a deserted island to fend for themselves. They are given a couple of items when they arrive, but are not allowed to bring anything with them. I have witnessed numerous coaches that come to practice with that same philosophy.

They hardly bring any equipment with them at all. Fortunately, you don’t need a ton of gear to run a quality soccer practice. With that said, having the right equipment can make all the difference between a losing team and one that gets better every single week. There are certain must-have items in your kit that so that you can go quickly from drill to drill and keep your players motivated and attentive. Be sure to bring plenty of balls and cones to every practice and things will run much more smoothly.

Mistake #3 – The Cool Hand Luke Coach

One of my favorite movie lines is from Cool Hand Luke where Strother Martin says, «What we have here is a failure to communicate.» Most coaches and parents have this same problem. Establishing a clear line of communication with your soccer parents can be the difference between a fun-filled season of soccer and a descent into the depths of hell. Soccer moms and dads can be your strongest advocates or worst nightmare. If you set up a good phone & email system ahead of time, you can bet that coaching your team will take less time, be less frustrating and be much more productive!

Mistake #4 – The Drill Sergeant Coach

Most of the drills that you find in coaching books take way too long to setup, don’t hold your kids interest and have your players standing around too much of the time. Good drills should feel more

like games to your kids. Your team shouldn’t spend all of their time waiting in line to kick the ball.

They should be actively involved in the drills, get lots of touches and be on the fast track to becoming better players. Look for drills that involve most of your players at the same time. Look for drills that minimize standing in line and maximize time with the ball at your players feet.

Mistake #5 – The Nutty Professor Coach

I am constantly amazed at the coaches I see that just show up with a bunch of balls, some orange

cones and NO plan. They either forget what they were going to do, or don’t have any idea in the first place.

In order to get the most out of your weekly practices, you need a solid plan for each practice. Ever see a coach who’s team is running around all out of control? If you don’t have a plan for your team, they will quickly develop a plan for you. Players should move from drill to drill and spend the majority of their time actually playing soccer. Designing a good practice plan can take a lot of time, but it is worth it.

Make sure that your players get a good warm up, individual skill time, group skill time & group game time in each and every practice.

In Conclusion

What kind of coach do you want to be? A frustrated, pulling your hair out babysitter? Or a fun-loving coach that is developing awesome soccer players on a weekly basis?

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Freestyle Soccer – Confused on Where to Start?

First of all, let's start with a simple question, what is freestyle soccer? Freestyle soccer is simply the style and ability to combine various soccer tricks in juggling and ground moves. It's a new trend in soccer along with other types like five a side futsal and beach soccer. In a soccer context, freestyle is perceived as less significance to the modern game. However, freestyle soccer does improve a footballer's ability to control the ball.

The ball control is what I perceived as the most important element in soccer before other attributes like fitness and tactics. There's a saying that if you can control the ball you can control the game. In fact, I stumbled one of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's, an Inter Milan player, quotes saying that as long as you have the ball, you'll have the advantage. Yet majority of footballers still ignore the importance of freestyle soccer. There are reasons behind it and one of them is that the soccer tricks are difficult to execute and only brings less to the modern game. True enough, but let's not forget the concept of ball control. Learning freestyle allows a player to enhance his touches especially the first touch. A great first touch buys you thousands of mili seconds to give you an edge over the opposition.

Those seconds could change the game in an instant especially in the modern game where it demands fast and furious soccer. As a result of those reasons, they don't even bother in the first place. On the other side, the ones who love freestyle soccer perceived it as something that they can express their creativity and improve on ball control and touches to a greater heights. But I'm more concern to those who are ignorant and may not have the slightest interest on freestyle soccer. The problem is, they may not know where to begin especially after watching a series of freestyle videos on streaming sites like YouTube. I'm assuming that they only watched the difficult tricks and instead forget the basics of freestyle soccer. I believe that freestyle soccer should begin with the basics like juggling and planting before moving on to the more advanced soccer tricks like the around the world, crossover, flip flap and others. It's important since juggling is the principle of all types of ball control along with dribbling. In this case, I shall focus on juggling since it's related to freestyle soccer.

Juggling the ball

Simply done by doing kick ups without letting the ball fall on to the ground and expanded to different parts of the body from foot, thigh, shoulder and head. The aim is to be able to link your juggling skills from one part to the other. For example, transfer your juggling from foot to your thigh. You can start with a simple transfer and improve to more advanced transfers like juggling from foot to thigh and then head. Once you've mastered juggling, you can start planting or stalling a soccer ball.

Planting the ball

The ability to balance the ball on a specific part of your body like balancing the ball on your foot. You can start by placing the ball on your foot and once you've mastered, you can plant the ball during your juggling. For example, juggle with your foot which is then transferred to your thigh and then balance it with your foot ie foot plant. Focus on these two abilities will help build confidence for you to start on learning some of the basic freestyle soccer tricks. Improving your juggling and planting skills increases your coordination abilities especially when you practice your transferring or linking skills. For this one, I'd recommend the around the world trick because it's the principle of all soccer tricks. Once you've mastered this trick, you have a great chance of doing other tough soccer tricks like the MATW, TATW, crossover etc. The trick is simply to rotate your foot around the ball after either juggling or footplant and kick it as you finish the rotation to complete the process.

These are a couple of basics that you'd need to constantly bear in mind. Similar to soccer, the techniques are very important and I highly encourage you to practice these tricks with a lot of dedication and once mastered, you'll begin to appreciate the beauty of freestyle soccer.

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