Soccer Tactics are the strategy behind the game. It is “X’s and O’s” of how you will implement offense and defense. All tactical articles will be identified with the green panel of the soccer ball (shown left). While soccer tactics can be explored on a general level, it is best if we examine what is appropriate on each age level as players become more capable as they become more aware as people and as players.
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Fitness and nutrition becomes the top of the pyramid where performance can be impacted by training and is only appropriate at older ages where mastery of ball and tactics, as well as a developed body make sense. While we can all eat healthier and become fitter as adults, it’s important and fundamental to understand that fitness – as a concept – isn’t age appropriate until you reach eleven.
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This is really the core of our work as youth coaches. How do we help develop the necessary technical soccer skills within our players? What are the best drills and where should we start? Dribbling, trapping, heading…it’s all so overwhelming.
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If we strive to understand our players and their capabilities, we are fundamentally in a better position to meet their needs and connect with them as people, so we can motivate and inspire them. One of the biggest mistakes that we make is that we approach the game through our eyes – not our players’ eyes. As a result, we treat kids as “little” adults instead of, well, kids.
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Before you even meet your players or step onto the field, you are managing the team. This area encompasses all aspects of the game because you are the director. Not only does this include the four on-field aspects of the game, but also all the things that need to happen off the field: coaching philosophy, team meetings, paperwork, interfacing with parents, quickly disseminating information, injuries, tryouts, etc.
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We developed the CoachingSphere as a framework to help you visualize your role as coach and to cultivate the best development of players and teams. The five areas are: team management, player psychology, technical skills & drills, soccer tactics and fitness & nutrition. Utilizing this framework enables us to easily break down each of the five building block components and examine them individually and in context for the team and the player for maximum player development.
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