How I coached an unbeaten team

In the summer of 2021, I took a youth team to an unbeaten campaign, in their first ever season playing together. While winning is never the most important part of youth soccer, I share some of the key tips and tricks that allowed me to achieve success with my team and instill a positive culture where each and every player wanted to return. In the first half of the episode, I also discuss the exciting opportunities coming up on TheMastermindSite.com. Follow the show and my body of work @mastermindsite and @desmondrhys! 

Finding the balance between being fun and assertive in coaching (+ more Q&A)

In this special edition Spin The Ball Q&A, Rhys Desmond talks about how to find the balance between being fun and assertive in coaching, how to be more enthusiastic for your players, and gives his thoughts on the CONCACAF Champions League and Man City vs. Tottenham this weekend. Be sure to check out @mastermindsite on social media and everything we have going on at themastermindsite.com to never miss an update. 

A set-piece routine that will guarantee goals

Set-pieces are vitally important to the modern game, with a high percentage of goals being scored from set-pieces in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A this season. However, we are a firm believer in giving players creative autonomy and freedom to make choices in football matches. Allowing them to have a voice in attacking set-pieces is the perfect spot to allow them such creative input, as set-pieces can often be so different to everything else the team puts together in their formation, style of play and game model. With that said, we want to help your team score more goals from set-pieces, especially if you're going through our game model examples, only to see that we don't focus all that much on set-pieces. So with that, here is my favourite corner kick routine, which can easily be used at both the senior and professional level.

Sam Holmshaw – Why everything in coaching needs to fit your context

There's a beautiful thing in the coaching community, where we all strive to share resources. But this inherently creates a problem. What works in one context, doesn't always work in another. Sam and I are both content creators who always get asked to come up with solutions to various coaching problems and share our thoughts on how coaches can accelerate their teams to new levels. While we love creating content and educating coaches, it must be said that everything we put out always needs to be adapted to the context of the individual coach, team, players and environment. The same could be said for taking things from the professional game, where very few lessons can actually be applied at the youth level.

Coaching During a Pandemic

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.

Creating a Game Model – with Sam Holmshaw – TMS Podcast

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.

Creating Unstructured Sporting Environments – TMS Podcast

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.

Play with Your Brain – Travis Norsen Book Interview

That quote, from one of football's greatest ever players, is the opening statement by which Play with Your Brain: A Guide to Smarter Soccer for Players, Coaches and Parents, predicates itself upon. The book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone involved in the beautiful game to learn how players can become better, smarter soccer players. Author of the book Travis Norsen gives TheMastermindSite.com an exclusive interview about his thoughts on the book and what players, coaches and parents can learn from reading his guide. Be sure to check out the book on Amazon.

How To Be A Good Sports Captain

Although some coaches believe in avoiding captains altogether, it is unquestionable how many positive outcomes can come from allowing players to take on leadership roles, such as in … Continue reading How To Be A Good Sports Captain

Why Players Should Be Open To Playing Different Positions

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.

13 Warm-Up Activities with the Ball

It's seen less and less often today, but back in time warm-ups were hardly ever done with a ball and incorporated things like running laps and static stretching. Luckily, coaches of today have realized that warm-up activities can incorporate the ball, whether it be gradually or right away, and achieve the same outcomes of "warming-up". In fact, these activities not only get players moving and hypothetically help to decrease the risk of injury as a good warm-up should; but they also get players to practice their technical and tactical skills. This allows players to warm-up not just their muscles, but their brains as well. Here are 13 warm-up activities for young players, aged 6-14.

Playing Out From The Back – Session Plan & Coaching Points (2020 Edition)

Playing out from the back is one of the most important elements of the modern game. Not only is it better for development than kicking it long, it is also easier and allows a team fewer risks at losing the ball. As a result, coaches of any age group should be looking to teach players young and old the necessary steps of playing out from the back. In order to help guide these coaches, we introduce a brand new session all about playing out from the back, for youth teams of any age.

Coaching 9v9 Soccer – Ebook

9v9 is one of the most exciting stages in the development of young players and can often be the first time they are truly able to understand positioning, formations and how to play to the strengths of their teammates. This Ebook gives coaches an opportunity to learn all the in's and out's of coaching 9v9, including tactics, formations, and game management.