How To Keep Your Players Engaged During COVID-19

Over the past couple of weeks, much of youth sports around the world have been postponed due to COVID-19 and the ongoing spread of the virus. For both coaches and athletes this presents a unique challenge, as self-isolation and social distancing makes practicing a team sport particularly difficult. That said, it's not as though nothing can be done in this time of self-isolation or as though players must spend all day on their phones. Here are some ways to keep your players engaged during this time.

5 Common Mistakes Coaches Make

Recently I had the privilege of helping teach a coaching course at my university institution to eighty students, most of which had never coached before. Not only was it (hopefully) a valuable learning experience for the students, it was also a great learning experience for me and my development as a coach. Across the course, the students adapted well to the teaching methods of the course. However, a few common mistakes could be found in nearly every single session that the students delivered. As a result, I have developed this list of the most common mistakes coaches (not just beginners) often make. This list should be a helpful reminder to all coaches on how to be better in their roles and ensure participants get the most out of their experience.

5 Things I Learned From Teaching a Coaching Course

This winter, I had the privilege of helping to teach a coaching course at my university institution. The experience was absolutely amazing and better than I could have ever hoped for before beginning the course. Here are five things I learned from the teaching experience.

Restricted vs. Conditioned Games – Coaching Soccer

Many coaches often add restrictions to games. Restrictions like needing to complete three passes before the team can score or players being locked into different zones on the field can be valuable to teaching certain topics to young players. But restrictions need to be used wisely. Instead of restricting behaviours, coaches should look to encourage behaviours and do so more carefully through encouraging something to happen, rather than restricting it. In this article I will outline why restricted games should be more scarcely used, and why the term 'conditioned game' should possibly have a change of meaning to urge coaches to encourage the behaviours of their players in games without restricting their players.

Maurizio Sarri – Juventus – Tactical Analysis

Maurizio Sarri's career at Chelsea never quite got off to the way the Italian manager might have planned. But that didn't stop the former Napoli man from landing a job at the top club in Serie A - Juventus. Maurizio Sarri's Juventus have been at the top of the table throughout 2019-20 just as you'd expect them to be, and as far as their status as one of Europe's elite clubs, they have continued on exactly where Massimo Allegri left off. However, The Old Lady have been a completely different side under Maurizio Sarri this season, deploying tactics that make Juve a unique outfit anywhere in the footballing world today. This is a Tactical Analysis of Maurizio Sarri's newly revamped Juventus.

Pressing in the 2-4-2 Formation (9v9)

Even at the younger ages when a retreat line is in place, pressing from the front is still a crucial aspect to stopping the other team from playing out from the back. This article will explore pressing from the front in the 2-4-2 formation. STARTING POSITIONS In this example, the opposition is playing a 2-1-4-1 … Continue reading Pressing in the 2-4-2 Formation (9v9)

Communication in Youth Soccer

Communication is one of the most important skills for young players learning their trade in the beautiful game to develop. Communication is not just all about players shouting at each other and calling for the ball. It goes far beyond that to non-verbal communication, body language, and even knowing when not to communicate. Here are some of the key words and phrases that young players can communicate to their teammates during games.

Managing Different Personalities on a Sports Team

Every athlete is different. Every athlete has a unique set of characteristics, behaviours, dispositions and traits that make them who they are and can directly affect their ability to perform. Managing these different personalities can be a daunting task for any sport manager, coach or leader, particularly in a team setting where twelve to eighteen conflicting personalities may require managing.

La Pausa – Tactical Analysis

La Pausa - Spanish for 'The Pause' is a fantastically useful skill for players looking to fool their opponents. La Pausa is a skill whereby players in possession pause on the ball, drawing in defenders and enticing them to make a movement toward the ball. After the defender makes a movement toward them, the player in possession will often quickly speed up play or then make their pass or movement in a direction that exploits the fact that the defender has approached them.

Counter Attacking and the Death of Tiki-Taka Football

For a while, tiki taka, highlighted by the intricate triangles created in Spain's Xavi-Iniesta years, prevailed as the dominating tactic of the beautiful game. However, with Spain's struggles in recent tournaments and the much talked about "possession without purpose" that has haunted many teams in recent modern day matches, I pronounce the death of tiki taka.

Is U13 Too Early For 11v11?

When Long-Term-Player-Development (LTPD) was introduced to soccer in Canada in 2008, one of its many goals was to shorten field sizes, game times and players on the field in accordance with what would be most beneficial for the development of children. Now, eleven years on from all the changes which have widely been accepted and … Continue reading Is U13 Too Early For 11v11?

4 Reasons Your Practice Session Isn’t Working

Sometimes coaches spend hours perfecting session plans, making sure the activities are as beneficial and intricate as they can be, only to have the practice completely fall apart. This article will discuss 4 common reasons why your practice might not be working and how to fix it. POOR EXPLANATION/DEMONSTRATION A common mistake that coaches make … Continue reading 4 Reasons Your Practice Session Isn’t Working