Recently I have heard much in the way of what I would classify as "misinformation" regarding the readiness of youth players to learn tactical concepts like switching play. Switching play as a tactical concept ultimately comes down to recognizing space and making decisions based on that spatial awareness. Switching play doesn't mean crossing a long-ball forty/fifty yards from one side of the field to the other. It is about recognizing the space to see the opportunity of when space is condensed, versus when space is available and what to do in both of those situations. It is therefore an essential concept that can be taught to players of just about any age. Here is a session plan and key coaching points to match, all about spatial awareness and switching play!
COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for coaches across the globe. A year after joining an MLS-affiliated organization at the start of a pandemic, Trevor McGahan gives Rhys Desmond and TheMastermindSite.com an exclusive interview about the challenges he has faced and the experiences he's had after breaking into the coaching scene. Trevor and Rhys also discuss some of the differences between coaching in the United States to Canada, and the exciting future of young Canadian players progressing into the professional game.
You might have heard some buzz recently in the coaching world about something called "game models". But what exactly is a game model and why is it so important to coaches across the globe? Sam Holmshaw joins the podcast to discuss his insight into creating game models, and shares his experiences working in the UK coaching and football scene.
COVID-19 has presented a unique opportunity for community sports organizations and their coaches to rethink their practices and work toward greater inclusivity. In Canada, few opportunities exist in the community for youth to practice on their own through unstructured play and unstructured learning environments. This episode explores how we can create these unstructured sporting environments in Canada, using programs like Kicks in the UK as an example. We also explore how to inspire youth to achieve greater individual involvement in the sport, both in terms of participation and individual involvement within games.
Players engage in 1v1 battles just about as much as anything else in the game. So, to help players defend their 1v1's to the best of their ability, we provide eight tips for success when defending 1v1 situations.
The art of persuasion is a useful tool that all coaches should understand. Social psychologists identify two basic ways to persuade people: through what's called "the central route" and through what's called "the peripheral route". This article examines both, in the quest to help coaches understand the art of persuasion and the best approaches to motivating their players to perform.
In my early days of coaching, I picked up very quickly on the fact that players developed an affinity for positions that they played more often. Therefore sometimes when a positional change became necessary, simply playing the player in that position more regularly allowed the player to develop greater confidence and affinity for playing in that position. These effects occurred even when the player started out by dreading the role and thinking themselves to be ill-equipped to perform there. In psychology, this is called the "mere exposure effect". Quite simply, by having more exposure to something, one's motivation, desire and enjoyment of that thing can often be elevated to higher heights. This is relevant for both players and coaches. But how? Here is why this phenomenon is relevant for both coaches and players and how they can use an understanding of the effect to further their craft.
With all the restrictions going on in the world of COVID-19 right now, small group training sessions are becoming more and more common-place, as coaches are forced to split their groups into smaller numbers. Here is a session plan all about scanning & spatial awareness for 4 players.
The art of carrying out the perfect demonstration is an underrated skill, often neglected by coaches in the quest to get the activity going as quickly as possible. What coaches often don't realize is that by not demonstrating, and by not demonstrating properly, they are wasting time as players are thrust into an activity without having a clue as to what they are supposed to do. The demonstration is probably the most critical component to any activity or game in a practice session, yet many forget about the necessity of the demonstration or neglect to realize a) how important it is to raising understanding and painting the picture for the players and b) how many crucial steps there are to an effective demonstration. As a result, in this article, I will break down every element to a perfect demonstration in helping coaches better paint pictures for their players.
In Canada, there has recently been a move toward the terms "old school" and "new school" to describe a shift in coaching behaviours. The terms have developed as a result of the abandonment of "old school" methods like yelling at kids, focusing on a select few talented players rather than all, and punishments like push-ups, laps or "benching" players. But still, everywhere I go, I still see coaches looking for ways to punish their players. And so today, I write this piece, with the bold statement that you should never punish your players. I am usually one to avoid saying the word "never", especially in respect to coaching. I may want to tell coaches that I mentor and develop to never do elimination games or to never limit a player's number of touches. But there may be a time and a place where it could be beneficial or logical. But when it comes to punishments, unless someone has something really compelling to say and wants to try to convince me otherwise, I believe you should never punish your players. Here are three reasons why!
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.