Why the Right Size Matters When Buying Soccer Cleats

Soccer shoes are very important because of the role they play in keeping your feet protected, creating traction and offering strong grip to ensure that your performance in the field is improved. Every player wishes to give their best performance in during matches and this is something that can prove hard to do without the right soccer cleats.

Fortunately, there are so many brands and designs from which players can choose what they find most suitable. But to get the best pair there are elements that matter most and size is one of these elements. No matter how beautiful a soccer shoe is or how many features it has to give you the best experience when playing, if it is ill-fitting, and then you stand to be frustrated when you are supposed to give your best. Your cleats should neither be too small nor too big otherwise they will interfere with your performance. It is of importance that you pay close attention to sizing so you get the perfect fit for your feet. If you are still wondering why size matters, here are a few reasons why.

· Soccer cleats that are too big will only hinder proper movement as they are likely to come off and they definitely will lag you behind.

· Too small a size on the other hand will keep your feet too tight and this is not only uncomfortable, but also exposes you to bruises and blisters.

· You are more prone to getting injured when wearing a bigger sized cleat because your feet do not have control since the conformity is all wrong. You may end up twisting your leg and probably even falling down as you run around in the field.

Getting the perfect size

The easiest way of getting the right size when buying soccer cleats is knowing your foot measurements. You also want to take into consideration factors such as wearing socks and how the type of socks you choose will affect the size of the shoe. Some socks are quite thick and they can make your cleat feel tighter and smaller.

Since there are manufacturers out there who make midway sizes like 7.5 or 6.5, you should consider such sizes if you have a hard time finding the right cleat size. The shoe should fit snugly but not too tightly. Think about the upper and what it is made of. The upper should mold to your feet as much as possible; remember that some materials like leather have a tendency of stretching over time.

When looking at the size, pay attention to areas where the ball will contact the show most. The toe box, instep, outer edge and upper edge are the most important to help you get a shoe that is proportioned to your foot shape. This will not only ensure you remain comfortable, but also reduces break-in time and gives you ball control in no time at all. Always try on your shoes if you can before making the purchase.

Camiseta Stadium de la 2ª equipación del Atlético de Madrid 2018-19 Camiseta Stadium de la 2ª equipación del Atlético de Madrid 2018-19

Creditable or Calamitous? Reflections of a Derby Fan on a Season That Promised Promotion

As this 2014-15 Championship season races toward its conclusion, it’s hard to determine whether it represents success or failure for Derby County Football Club. Perhaps any individual assessment depends on one’s glass being generally half-full, or half-empty. As a Rams fan exiled in the Middle East, but able to see many of their games live or recorded in full afterwards, I haven’t made up my own mind on the matter just yet. This article is intended as a means toward that end.

Last season ended in play-off heartbreak. Derby were, of the play-off quartet, comfortably the form side going into the end-of-season event, and swept aside sixth-placed Brighton 6-2 over two legs. In the other semi-final, a dangerous Wigan side, who had earlier defeated eventual Premier League champions Manchester City in an astonishing FA Cup result, were edged out 2-1 by QPR, whose own form had been anything but convincing during the second half of the season. Derby controlled the Wembley final, and seemed almost certain to win when Rangers were reduced to ten men for a professional foul early in the second half; however, not for the first play-off final in their history, the Rams were defeated by a late winner, the product of two substandard pieces of defending and a wonderful finish by Bobby Zamora.

Such was Derby’s style and momentum, so impressive their individual performances – midfield starlet Will Hughes and prolific target man Chris Martin the most prominent among them – that the bookmakers installed the Rams as pre-season favourites this time around. Prospects were boosted still further when George Thorne, composed loan signing and Wembley man of the match, was signed permanently during the summer. Within days, however, Thorne – already no stranger to injuries in his short career – was ruled out for most of the season after damaging his knee in a friendly against Zenit St Petersburg. Appearing not to trust a whole season’s work to his natural replacement, the experienced John Eustace, Steve McClaren was delighted when the club’s player recruitment team snapped up Omar Mascarell, a stylish holding midfielder on the periphery of Real Madrid’s squad. It appeared to be a real coup, although all parties recognised that the Spaniard would need time to adapt to the greater speed and physicality of the Championship.

The season began with a 1-0 win over newly promoted Rotherham United, courtesy of a fine late strike from Irish midfielder Jeff Hendrick; a victory earned, in no small part, by the exciting contribution of new full-back Cyrus Christie, acquired from Coventry City to replace the solid, but now departed Liverpool loanee, Andre Wisdom. Christie’s defending was at least adequate (if not as impregnable as his predecessor), but it was the newcomer’s marauding runs that led many fans to feel hopeful that, far from the position being weakened, Derby might attain to greater attacking impetus from defence this season.

Of more concern, with Eustace out of favour, was the decision to play Hughes in the team’s apparently non-negotiable holding midfield role. While the player was undoubtedly good enough to play there, it was clear that neither of the more advanced players – Bryson, who many had expected to begin the season playing his football for a Premier League team, and Hendrick – could do exactly what Hughes was capable of further up the field. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the slight Hughes was not as comfortable with the physical side of the position as either the stocky Thorne or the guileful Eustace, and found himself almost sharing the position with substitute Mascarell from very early in the season. The Spaniard’s passing and energy did much to compensate for the evident weaknesses that many had predicted in his game: opponents gave him little time on the ball, and he quickly found himself on the receiving end of some rather combative challenges.

There were warning signs for Derby in a spirited but disjointed second league match at Sheffield Wednesday, which ended goalless. A first defeat followed in the next match, as stylish Charlton outplayed their more fancied guests, winning 3-2 and leaving many to wonder when the Rams would hit the performance levels of the previous season. They were encouraged by a merciless second-half display against Fulham, as Derby pummelled the plummeting Cottagers 5-1. Welcome to the Championship.

The Rams then embarked on an unbeaten run that spanned twelve games, including wins against expansive Bournemouth (2-0), Blackburn (3-2), Bolton (2-0) and Reading (3-0) (the latter three away from home); and resilient draws against early leaders and local rivals Nottingham Forest (1-1), and Cardiff (2-2) at home, a match in which the Rams had trailed by two goals. Derby’s comeback that day was begun by a debut goal from a new season-long loan signing from Liverpool: the fleet-footed and direct Jordon Ibe, whose contribution, with hindsight, seems as significant in Derby’s fortunes as was his premature return to Anfield in January.

That unbeaten run was curtailed by dogged Wigan, who belied their poor early season form by coming from behind to win 2-1 at the iPro Stadium. Derby then played two games in West London, hitting Fulham for five again (this time in the League Cup) before once again throwing away a lead against Brentford who, it seems, have never looked back since their last-minute win that day, courtesy of a fine goal from Stuart Dallas.

Derby needed to find their form – and find it they did, deservedly seeing off Huddersfield 3-2, before arguably their finest performance of the season in the annihilation of Wolves, 5-0 at the iPro. In the next match, Craig Bryson, who had so far struggled to reproduce his high standards of the two preceding seasons, scored a beauty to edge out Watford on their own turf. Suddenly Derby looked ready to seize their opportunity and run away with the league, just as their East Midlands rivals from Leicester had done the previous year.

It wasn’t to be so straightforward, unfortunately. The Rams went into their away match at Leeds, a team Derby had beaten for fun in recent seasons, seemingly unprepared for the grit and graft that would be needed to return with the points. They were outfought, and defeated, 0-2. But Steve McClaren prided himself on a team that could bounce back from disappointment, and Derby erupted out of the blocks against Brighton, winning the game with three first-half goals. In the opposing eleven that day was loanee Darren Bent, a wily, seasoned striker unable to convince then manager Paul Lambert of his right to a place in the Aston Villa side. Derby fans would be glad to see more of the discarded Bent very soon.

The following week, Derby were conquered at the summit by Middlesbrough, after a dour display in the North East demonstrated the worst they were capable of; Boro were organised and clinical, and undid Derby in their first attack, with former Rams loanee Patrick Bamford celebrating his opener gleefully – much to the annoyance of Derby fans, who had always had to overlook his affinity for their hated rivals, Forest. The Rams showed more fight and no little skill against a tidy and pressurising Norwich City side a week later, but were fairly denied a win when they conceded another late goal. The pattern of the previous season, in which Derby had become famed for their indefatigable spirit and late goalscoring, seemed to be shifting in the other direction.

The Rams began the festive period with a thumping win, 4-0 in the Birmingham snow. That was backed up with a revenge reversal of their 2-0 defeat at Leeds, and an excellent 1-0 win at Ipswich. John Eustace, hardly a fixture in the team, was immense in front of the back four, but his late dismissal and injury – from which he has yet to return despite two operations – would lead the Rams into the East Midlands derby once again relying on the unconvincing Mascarell. Even Forest fans approached the match fearfully. Their side had lost the previous season’s fixture 5-0, and the early season pacesetters now found themselves on a run of eight games without a win. Derby, fortuitously ahead but easily the better team before the break, gave a sickening validation of the phrase «game of two halves», and Forest exulted in a deserved shock win that would prolong the tenure of manager Stuart Pearce for a few more weeks. (This represented a bright side for many Rams fans, who were convinced their rivals’ progress would remain stagnant with the former England legend at the helm). Stunned at forfeiting local bragging rights, Derby fans demanded better, and were rewarded with three straight wins against Blackburn, Cardiff and Bolton.

The January transfer window had brought Bent in without a recall clause for his parent club, as well as Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, and Hull City’s Tom Ince, who made an instant impact with a fabulous brace in the 4-1 destruction of Bolton. Leeds United captain Stephen Warnock, still not fit after being injured in the Rams’ 2-0 win over his side, came in to «add experience» to the squad, and presumably to spur the unspectacular Craig Forsyth to higher performance levels. An interesting further addition was the Spaniard Raul Albentosa, who Derby’s recruitment team appeared to have been stalking for some time, and who arrived in Derby having bought out his own contract with La Liga team Eibar, for whom he had offered some impressive performances throughout the season. Unfortunately, a niggling injury would delay Albentosa’s league debut for over a month.

Ince found the net again in an encouraging 2-2 midweek draw at top-of-the-table Bournemouth, where the most significant moment of the match would prove the early replacement of nineteen-goal Chris Martin. He would not return for eleven games; suddenly Bent’s loan signing seemed very important indeed, although a slightly different system of attack was needed to accommodate the latter’s style. The Rams approached the following midweek match at struggling Rotherham knowing that a win would take them back to the summit. Yet, once again, they failed to take their chance, with only a spirited fightback earning them a 3-3 draw, having trailed 1-3. Inspired by the return of George Thorne after seven months on the sidelines, Derby then won back-to-back home games against Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton, and found themselves on top of the league for the third time this season. Despite having repeatedly failed to press home the advantages they had gained, the bookies still made McClaren’s dangerous Derby side favourites for the title. They were to be proved emphatically wrong.

What followed resembles the stuff of nightmares for Derby fans. It began with a lacklustre defeat at Fulham, in which now pivotal loan signing Bent limped off, forcing the industrious and vastly improved Johnny Russell to assume a central striking role that he would retain for the next four games, without once finding the net. In addition, Thorne was again out of action, replaced in West London by the still-misfiring Mascarell. Typically, after the Fulham defeat, McClaren demanded a response. He got one, but not a result; the Rams battered Brighton but somehow contrived to lose the match 0-2. The focus intensified on Derby’s defence, arguably culpable for both goals. A performance and a win were needed when Birmingham came to the iPro, and the Rams picked them off easily, strolling toward a 2-0 victory as the match entered the third of four added second-half minutes. A few hearts were aflutter when the unspectacular Blues won, and converted, a penalty; Rams fans redoubled their whistling for full-time, the match length having already surpassed the additional time indicated. Nevertheless, a team with pretensions of winning promotion would surely be able to see the game out. Birmingham equalised in the seventh minute of injury time. The day ended with four teams on 66 points, separated by goal difference. Derby were still «in the mix», but nobody was quite sure how they were going to stay there on current form. And the games were only getting harder.

Derby went to resurgent Norwich the following Saturday with assistant Paul Simpson vowing that it was time to «win ugly» if necessary. Realistically, most Derby fans would have taken a draw, and when debutant Jamie Hanson’s corner was spilled into his own net by England goalkeeper John Ruddy, that’s exactly what they got. Hanson retained his place for the crucial midweek home match against Middlesbrough. Derby were toothless, loanee Lingard missing the best chance to fall to a white shirt. Once again, Boro were resolute; once again, it was Patrick Bamford, object of fear and loathing in Derby, who settled the match with an excellent finish. Derby were rocking.

The final game before the latest international break would take them to Wolves, hapless victims of the Rams’ finest moment of the season to date. McClaren and Simpson warned that the returns of Thorne and Martin may not be risked before the international break, but Bent was back to take his place at the centre of a truly astonishing refereeing controversy. Through on goal, the returning striker was fouled by Wolves captain and last man Danny Batth. Ince swept the ball into the net. The referee, who had already whistled for the foul, disallowed the goal and awarded a free-kick just outside the area. Rams fans watched in horror as the official, smiling sickeningly, refused to find any card in his pocket for the offender, much less the red one he clearly deserved. In some sort of grotesque tribute to John Ruddy, the normally reliable Lee Grant punched the ball into his own net to help Wolves wrap up a 2-0 win and move to within two points of Derby, who were slipping further from automatic promotion with every match. Fans picked the team apart, looking for an XI who could win the next match at home to high-flying Watford, thereby dragging the Rams’ promotion wagon back on track. Full-backs came under fire most of all, and here it was difficult to make a case for the defence. Left-back Forsyth, far superior defensively than in attack (perhaps surprisingly for a former midfielder), had compounded the injustice at Wolves by facilitating their first goal, inexplicably passing the ball to an opponent in a dangerous position. It was by no means the first time the Scotsman’s distribution had been found wanting during the season.

On the other side, Cyrus Christie was a nerve-shredded shadow of his early-season self. His first-half gift to Watford’s Vydra was cancelled out on the stroke of half-time by a Bent penalty, as the Rams’ opponents were reduced to ten men. Christie would not re-emerge after the break. Sadly, nor would George Thorne, attempting his second comeback of the season but lasting little more than twenty minutes. Once again, Derby contrived to throw away a winning position; Watford celebrated their 2-2 draw with delight, strengthening their own push for automatic promotion, while Derby retained their play-off place only on goal difference. The solitary silver lining seemed now to be the brief substitute appearance of Chris Martin, to whose absence so many had attributed the Rams’ slump.

On Easter Monday, with over four thousand Rams fans roaring them on, Derby finally picked up their first win in eight matches, as the talismanic Martin came off the bench to sweep them ahead at lowly Wigan. A typically opportunistic strike from Bent wrapped up the victory, leaving the Rams fascinatingly poised before the following weekend’s home match with Brentford. On paper, it seems the most difficult of the Rams’ remaining five fixtures, of which three are to be played at the iPro. However, with second-placed Norwich already five points ahead, and Watford and Middlesbrough much better placed to take advantage of any slip by the Canaries or leaders Bournemouth, only the most optimistic of Derby fans could reasonably expect automatic promotion at this stage. On the contrary, with Wolves in the best form of the current play-off place occupants, and Brentford able to overhaul the Rams with a win in their head-to-head, Derby still face a fierce battle to ensure their own place in the end-of-season competition that has already caused them so much heartache.

How has it come to this? And does the season represent a success or a failure for the Rams?

On reflection, it is important to consider the weight of expectation that has hung over the team all season. It is true that Derby were formidable during the latter part of the 2013-14 season, playing some scintillating football, and with an embarrassment of (injury-free) riches among their playing personnel. Yet arguably only Hughes and Russell have improved on their performances of the previous season; the immaculate Thorne has managed only three starts; Martin’s contribution has been blunted by the disastrous timing and duration of his injury; and the likes of Hendrick and Bryson have failed by some distance to match their performance levels of the previous season. Some loan signings have contributed much – particularly Ibe – while others have offered mixed fortunes: the injury-hit but prolific Bent; the frequently fantastic but oft-frustrating Ince, whose ball retention has been disappointing but who has scored some wonderful goals; and Mascarell, possessing all the vision and passing prowess one would expect of a Madrid graduate, but without ever providing a satisfactory solution for the role he was brought in to play.

Most attention has centred around the defence. In stark contrast to last season, during which the names of Andre Wisdom, Richard Keogh, Jake Buxton and Craig Forsyth seldom left the team sheet, McClaren has constantly tinkered with his defensive personnel this time around. Some fans have shown little patience with captain Keogh – possibly something of a hangover from his Wembley shocker – but in reality, the full-backs have proved a weaker link for most of the season. Christie, especially, seems particularly low on confidence, while the more self-assured Forsyth perhaps remains optimistic that his own form is solid enough and will improve still further; however, those who have endured his substandard performances throughout the season will likely have been glad of Warnock’s competent league debut at left-back in the victory at Wigan.

Another bone of contention relates to formation. While Derby have been more than a little unfortunate to experience long-term injuries to three holding midfield players (Thorne, Eustace and Mascarell), the lack of alternative playing styles and formations have also been mooted by fans as sources of frustration and failure to overturn teams that have set up defensively against the Rams and gained their rewards by doing so. The recent switch, through necessity, to a 4-2-3-1 has only added weight to this argument, not least because the defensive contribution of Mascarell has been questionable all season, and has almost certainly exacerbated any problems among the defence personnel. The use of Chris Martin behind Darren Bent has been used only fleetingly (albeit injuries have undoubtedly reduced the scope for this), while there is also a strong case for positioning the incisive passing of Hughes behind the front man, a move that has not been tried at all. This is not to suggest that the fans know better than McClaren; yet fans are certainly in a position to recognise what has not been working for long periods of the season. Managers, like players, can be «lucky» – not just in what they and their teams do, but in how they are perceived. Most things McClaren touched last season turned to gold. Such has been the man’s redemption since his ignominious England denouement, perhaps supporters had become over-confident in his ability. His true managerial performance, perhaps, lies somewhere between those two extremes of appraisal.

The mantra from the club, and the local press, remains that a Derby side returning to their best form are capable of ensnaring a promotion place this season. Some will fear that the likes of Will Hughes will be heading to the Premier League very soon, irrespective of how the Rams fare from now until the end of May.

It is never an easy ride being a Derby fan; one cannot sit back and get comfortable.

Derby have never been about coasting, but the rollercoaster.

England Wayne Rooney to Watch His Foul Language in the World Cup

Footballers must be aware of their language on the pitch during World Cup 2010. The England team striker will have to be extra careful as he is infamous for his swearing in English Premier League games. Indeed, this is not the first time officials will be looking out for bad mouth footballers. Wayne Rooney was sent off during a friendly game against another local South African football club.

The referees in the last England Vs USA game were astute to any swearing in English. The Brazilian referees were given crash courses on the use of profanity in English before the game in order to keep potty mouth players under control. We all know that it is common for football players to swear, so referees will only be penalising footballers that go above and beyond in their swearing, which Wayne Rooney is the likely candidate. All World Cup referees have been given directions to book any players who swear at them and if appropriate, they will send the player off the pitch. There were also rumours that FIFA had sent a list of English swear words to world cup referees for quick reference.

Most people will acknowledge that Wayne Rooney is a fantastic player because of his fiery temper. Steven Gerrard, the England team captain said that Rooney is always on the edge and that is just the type of player Rooney is. Rooney is said to be inclined to listen to Gerrard due to their similar origin from Liverpool Football Club. Gerrard’s role as the team captain will be absolutely vital in keeping Rooney focused on the pitch and to keep communicating with the fiery tempered striker.

Rooney will have to be on guard and not slip his tongue during the World Cup playoffs. In fact, during the England Vs USA game, Rooney seemed to have kept his use of colourful language to a minimum even though he still showed a fiery facial expression to the referee when he was tackled by the opponent. This is certainly a good start and hopefully he will keep at it.

As stated before, most football players tend to swear during the game, be it in English or any other language. However, as the English Premier League is the most broadcasted football league in the world, English players’ conduct has been under close observations by many officials. With English language firmly established as the international lingua, the English swear words have also become widely used by many people to a point even those who do not speak the language can swear in English. A good example is the F-word being one of the most well known English words around the world, be it in Asia or Africa. This is not surprising at all when Hollywood movies usually feature a few F-words in their dialogue. The F-word has also taken on a cool image amongst the younger generation.

That said, there is still a way around this problem for Wayne Rooney, or for all English speaking football players for that matter. If you are going to swear, just make sure you choose a different language other than English.

The Thrill of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals

Football was originally played and devised in the United Kingdom, and then afterwards it is introduced by the British to most of its colonized territories like the African nation South Africa. Few more years and it gained popularity among sports enthusiasts not only in Europe but to almost every country in the world.

Its recent popularity and worldwide acceptance pave the way for the institution of its governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football) which is now the world renowned FIFA. For most of the years FIFA has been the organizer of various football tournaments and implementer of every rules regarding the sport. One of the main football tournaments would be the FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup is held every four years and now on its 19th league. Surely it has a history of non-stopping thrill and excitement all throughout the world.

The 2010 FIFA championship is currently being held in South Africa and has been participated by the best of all football players of different countries. It commenced last June 11 and is expected to have a heart pounding 2010 World Cup Finals. This year’s tournament can be considered as the 2010 finals since the qualification process have already been started and selected from August of 2008 to date, including pre-fights during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Last August 2007 there have already been 204 participating and contending countries from the total members of 208.

This year’s 2010 soccer finals is expected to be the most awaited sporting event of the year and is expected to be the most viewed with the onset of numerous worldwide media coverage and streams, and major information spread. South Africa is the country host of this year’s 2010 finals, defeating Morocco and Egypt in the process of bidding. South Africa is said to be the home of many football fans and enthusiasts alike. A lot of football stadium and mostly, the biggest ones either in Africa or the World and a vast majority of players abound, from the old and young, professionals or the out of school youth.

This year’s 2010 FIFA World Cup finals is a must see event where a lot of enthusiast expectations are present as to whom the defending champions, that would be Italy, would have to battle with in the finals. Italy, 2006’s FIFA World Cup champion will have to defend its championship title in this year’s tournament. Every day, excitement and news all over about the 2010 World Cup Finals is growing and gets even bigger. People from all around the world are flocking to South Africa only not to miss this event. Tickets to the finals, hotel and flights are almost full. Expect a thrilling experience this year with the 2010 World Cup Finals.

Creating and Maintaining Environments for Young People in Football

Over the last four weeks (and having been coaching for 18 years) I have noticed some very worrying environments. It’s worrying to me as a coach, parent and independent observer having witnessed the top level academies, middle ground and grass roots and being constantly told «its getting better.»

I have seen some good examples of well-meaning people who manage safety whilst giving ownership to young people. Not easy to do. The other thing that isn’t easy to do is manage adrenaline and feelings. We all want our own children to do well. That’s a given. Whether its homework, model making, swimming or football. From the mentioned however which do people change their methods in? Which would an adult change their mindset in?

The game is passionate – Fact. People visit stadiums, watch adults, moan at refereeing decisions and complain all week if our supported teams lose. To the point of becoming almost Piers Morgan like. There is a distinct difference however. The people you shout, cheer and bemoan are indeed adults. They can cope in pressurised adult environments. The very best can even block them out and perform. It takes years of practice. Playing in the champions league for millions of pounds is one thing, playing in front of 30 people in a 5v5 astro turf court is simply another.

The two environments are not linked. They are not replicas. Children will with their imagination, mentally attempt to visit and dream of such stadium. This is all the pressure they need.

We are missing a huge trick. The street and playground we used to commentate on whilst playing and pretend to be gazza or maradona was our pressure. The next defender is pressure. The last gasp save is pressure.

Unfortunately the following is additional pressure to young people:

· Making kids play in set positions – most that have played will tell you – you don’t end up playing in the same one for very long.

· Shouting things such as «don’t mess about with it in your box, get rid, clear it, pass it, down the line» and so on. The things said from my last 4 weeks up to 25 times in one hour by one adult to 1-5 children. Confusion and pressure.

· Spectators shouting «tackle him, pass-pass-pass, well-in.» it’s been done for years I know I played but it does no good.

· A parent shouting «tackle» Is also a motivation for increased aggression. Was the child going to tackle anyway? Probably.

· The good players can’t play – they face managers of young teams going man for man, even 2 players marking them but not child led, just so the adult can win.

· I have witnessed excessive fouling by young players who instead of shake hands and pick kids up are laughing as the «tackle» has become over emphasised. Just wait until the tackling sort plays at a good level (if they manage it with no technique or skill – probably not), the tackle will become a chase as the players will dance around them and or play through them.

Do you want your child to be playing and enjoying and be good and win at 15, 16 and beyond? I’m sure the answer is yes. Then you need to stop now and think. The u7-9 age groups is the key to the following to develop them into good 16 year olds:

· Freedom to try things – 1v1 moves without fear of losing the ball, playing from the goalkeeper and dribbling anywhere on the pitch.

· Remember the 5v5 pitch is only a quarter of a full size pitch. What they do in front of their own goal they will do in the whole quarter when older. If they just clear the ball now they won’t know any different.

· Scores should not be recorded. Any leagues asking for scores for u7-14 games in my opinion are failing kids. It makes adults record them and it makes them cut development corners. It doesn’t make any sense.

· Trophies and man of the match awards – I have rarely seen an award given for a good series of turns, skills, and technical aspects. I hear lots of «brave, worked hard and even its… ‘s turn this week. what is the point? Again an adult idea for some strange reason not the idea of the child (beginner not tainted).

· Not commenting on kids showing off and forcing them to pass – many skills not just taking players on are lost – agility, acceleration and deceleration, movement, awareness, touch and use of both feet, use of different parts of the foot etc. by not allowing dribbling and own decisions you’re stopping the whole round athletic development of children.

The best game environments I have seen are as follows:

· Kids arrive, hand shakes with coaches.

· Changing room – random selection, age group pairing, no birth bias, let kids choose their teams, get ready together if possible for social reasons

· Little talking from coaches – apart from «have fun, be an exciting player, can you think of how to improve as you play.»

· No formational organisation – let this happen. Kids will drift into positions but know they can move anywhere on the pitch. I often hear «you be the defenders and don’t go over the half way line.» You may as well say don’t play.

· Never say things such as «do a job or work hard» it isn’t a chore it’s a fun game

· Questions are asked in intervals only – what if? How could you? If that happens what should we do? Scenario planning.

· Say nothing to them whilst playing the game. They will communicate if allowed anyway. They’ll communicate like other 7 year old kids do. In a way they understand. Saying things during play is one of the worst things any coach or parent can do adding pressure, stifling creativity and decision making and ends up panicking about results.

· Referee needed? Or just a facilitator that manages safety? The latter is fine. If we encourage honesty and fair play and set nice guidelines it works.

· Certain rules – allow dribble ins, futsal pass ins – why do we encourage throw ins with young children? Mix it up.

· Parent comments – are they encouraging? If I’m a goalkeeper and I stop a certain goal scoring opportunity then I have just saved it. I’m happy in myself as it was me. I already know or even pre-empted it. Why do I then need a chorus of «great save» as it probably wasn’t a great save but my own and my teams’ achievement. Debateable?

If you have 4 outfield players, rather than stating «let’s play 2 defenders, 1 midfielder and 1 striker,» ask the kids. They will come up with some wonderful concoctions and they might then go and play that way or go and follow the ball. The ball, you must remember is the real reason we play the game from a young age. This changes somewhat over time when we spend hardly any time with it at all working on tactics as we get older and play a higher level. There is absolutely nothing wrong with kids wanting the ball. There is nothing wrong with encouraging dribbling. They will lose the ball. That’s when the next player has a turn. Too many are ramming passing and getting rid of the ball down kids throats. Let’s get their techniques spot on and then worry about winning later.

I have watched 4 weeks of games of late and haven’t yet seen any child that’s played in goal come off their line yet. Why aren’t children being taught the whole game? Again the instruction from the adults isn’t that of intelligence but more aggression and the Dunkirk spirit.

At such frustration one grand dad told his grand son just to boot it up the pitch «it might as well be up there so they don’t score.»

I have also seen a rise of the wannabe match reporter. They too talk of scores, winning and so on. Gladly the team my son has begun playing for doesn’t promote this. The kids don’t know the score. They carry on playing after the game. They have the social and psychological corners catered for. They are answering questions and behaving in a nice manner. They are playing. An opposition coach stated his team had won ‘again’ 11-7 (I think). He told his player as they didn’t know of course. Then proceeded to hand out the M.O.M award to claps from parents. My sons team thankfully carried on playing with each other into one goal still smiling. Not one asked «why don’t we get a medal?» This particular game, whatever the score was full of «pass, pass, down the line,» but a goal was scored from a dribble with the player not listening. Good job he didn’t really. «we won» said the coach; the other team had shared equal playing time and taken off the two better players not concerned of the score. They changed the goalkeeper 3 times. The kids had fun. This information wasn’t taken into account by the ‘coach,’ as so many only live off the end result not the process. They don’t see the potential 16 year old.

I write this with a huge passion for developing young players. I have seen some excellent kids thrive in the last 10 years and unfortunately seen some with great potential be ruined by coaches. Coaches that aren’t really putting themselves in the kids boots.

Compare the smile to the serious pressurised face and I know which id rather see.

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