philosophy

Soccer Education

A Huge Deficiency in the Suburban American Soccer Player

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It's well known one of the advantages players outside the US have is pickup ball.

Across the globe, players of all ages from 7 year olds to adults benefit from the street game that informal pickup culture the American player lacks. The barrio, as hispanic/latino cultures call it, is where strong mentalities, ball skills (of the smooth, not mechanized variety), and the dark arts of the game are forged.

The Myth of the Best Players

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Who's better?
Neymar or Ronaldo

To me, this is a no-brainer and practically a litmus test for who I shouldn't pay attention to.

But there are people, for one reason or another, who think different.

And right there, in that one phrase, "for one reason or another", is where the myth busting of the "best players" needs to start.

The Best Coaching Advice You’ll Ever Get, and Probably Ignore

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Go master how to properly train 10 different rondos.

Stop making forays into exotic topics like 'guided discovery' or some academic neurological studies on learning.

Stop it with the hundreds of sport session planner diagrams, and your buffet of drills.

Stop it with buying a new soccer book every week, thinking somehow your art will fall into place after reading Pep Confidential.

Our Match vs FC Barcelona – U13/14 – MIC Cup 2015

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In the pursuit of world class, one better have some grip on what that actually means.

And that, I think, requires going beyond your domestic soccer bubble, especially if the standard for world class does not reside there.

Winning an American league or tournament, no matter which you want to cite, does not give you a good gauge of where you're at.

How NOT to Coach Playing out of the Back

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It's like everywhere I look in American soccer media, and to quite an extent, the English as well, the advice being thrown around on player development is the worst thing you can follow.

The inspiration for this article came from Twitter via a coach posting the following activity he runs (& recommends).

What Coaches Can Learn from Louis van Gaal’s Recent Statement

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Newly appointed Manchester United coach, Louis van Gaal, recently statedit'll take him at least 3 months to gethis team to start executing the way he wants to play.

3 months!
And he's got a whole staff behind him working around the clock.

3 months!
And he's got all international level players.

What Coaches Can Learn from Louis van Gaal’s Recent Statement

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Newly appointed Manchester United coach, Louis van Gaal, recently statedit'll take him at least 3 months to gethis team to start executing the way he wants to play.

3 months!
And he's got a whole staff behind him working around the clock.

3 months!
And he's got all international level players.

Who Else Wants to Win?

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Yeah, that's what I thought.

Winning fucking matters!

And don't you ever forget it.

The only question (AND IT'S A CRITICAL ONE) really revolves around context. Under what circumstances has winning occurred? What were the pros/cons considering short, medium, and long term objectives?

How to Execute: Who on Earth are You Learning From?

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Philosophy + Activities + Execution = Coaching

The figure breaks coaching down into 3 fundamental elements all of which contain huge challenges.

For instance, we've got over 4 years of philosophy-based content here, and we've barely scratched the surface.

But now I think there's enough of a base to start efforts in the other two elements Activities & Execution.

One Truth, One Fallacy, and One Solution for Coaching Possession Soccer

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A Truth It can be successfully done across all levels of play.

The main reason it's rarely seen, is that most coaches have not acquired the expertise to do it.

  • First and foremost, a coach must develop a possession-based philosophy (a vision ... a taste ... a feel for that type of football).

The Golden Rule to Team (and Player) Development

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First, get a skeleton firmly in place. Then layer in complexity.

This continues withthe theme of our previous article...

It is after your team demonstrates a level of mastery with your core material, that you can start layering in other principles.

For instance,our founding core(the set of activities all our teams start with) does not include stuff like:

  • Combination play up the middle.

A Huge Mistake Well-Meaning Coaches are Making

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They try a bunch of different activities.

Doing this, creates no continuity in your training. Which means:

  1. Your players aren't getting a simple digestible message (the philosophy).
  2. Your players can't achieve a level of mastery in the skills associated with a particular activity.

Player Development Answered in 4 Minutes [video]

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The following video is split in half.

One half is conducive to high-level development, the other isn't.

One half is 1 in a 1000 in our country, the other is the norm.

If you find yourself nitpicking and making arguments otherwise, it's highly likely you are THE problem.

Why “Developing All Players to Their Potential” is a Lie!

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You can not be all things to all people.

You have to pick!

Let's consider you have a single roster that you get to work with for a certain number of hours per week.

I think we can all agree this roster is comprised of players with unique qualities and varying levels of talent (or perceived talent anyways).

You Can’t Copy a Style of Play and What Mr. Sigi Schmid Said.

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There are many fundamental issues with talk of 'style of play'.

I'll state two (which are intimately linked):

1) You can't 'copy' a style of play. (on the coaching front)

A 'style of play' is a specialty like neurosurgery or cardiovascular surgery. Yes, it's all medicine, and yes there are overlapping competencies, but one practitioner can't just up and do the other with the same degree of expertise.

Stop Playing Up! Start Playing down.

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Let's suppose that a coach would like his team to consistently execute deliberately orchestrated possession-centered, attacking, attractive, and winning soccer during matches. But it's just not happening.

Here are the two main possibilities:

1) The players are not at the level of competition.

Set Tactical Training

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We've mentioned the phrase 'Set Tactical Work' often, but I know this is a foreign notion to the American Soccer Community at all levels.

So let me try to give a more familiar concept. Set Tactical Work is essentially Choreography.

Here's an example from the 3four3 curriculum.

Now, Rich asked the following:

I think for many of us at the younger ages, it goes back to what I asked in the comments section a number of months ago: how often and what depths do you go into for set tactical work at U9, U10, U11, U12?

Coaching Defined – The 3 Key Elements

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Philosophy + Activities + Execution = Coaching

What gets us in trouble is that anyone, absolutely anyone, can be a "coach".

  • Everyone's got thoughts and a narrative about the game. And no matter how ill-developed, incoherent, or superficial it may be, that falls into the philosophy bucket.

Arsenal

Mata: Bringing through youth is the philosophy of United

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Juan Mata has given an interview this weekend where he has spoken about how great it is to see Manchester United's academy players break through in to the first team.

Marcus Rashford scored on his debut, scored twice against Arsenal, scored the winner against Manchester City, before scoring a greal goal against West Ham in the FA Cup to put us in to the semi-final.

Walcott-less Arsenal revert to pragmatic approach

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Arsene Wenger is known as an attacking coach, but it's intriguing how parts of his philosophy, guided by pragmatism, are often overlooked. For example, Arsenal don't really create the same passing angles other attacking sides might – stretching the pitch laterally, dropping a midfielder in between the centre-backs – with the ball at the back (sometimes to the team's detriment when they're pressed).

English Premier League

The Beauty of the Underdog

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I can't say that I have been a soccer fan for long. Growing up in Texas, most of my childhood was focused on football, basketball, and baseball. As a result, those were my favorite sports, both to watch and play. Throughout my childhood, I realized that there are teams that seemed like everyone disliked.

Video: Manuel Pellegrini hails ‘perfect’ first match as Man City manager

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Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has described his first competitive game in charge as "perfect". Last season's runners-up won their Premier League opener against Newcastle 4-0 at the Etihad last night, and their Chilean manager was pleased with what he saw. He said: "It was all perfect for my first match here in the Premier [.

Louis van Gaal

Smalling hails Van Gaal’s philosophy

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Louis Van Gaal's philosophy has found a surprising fan as Chris Smalling revealed he has been impressed with the Dutchman's approach and his capacity to listen to his players.

After a torrid couple of months, United appear to be slightly turning their fortunes around, as back-to-back wins against Derby County and Stoke City were followed by an impressive display away against Chelsea, where United were only minutes short of winning the game.

Schweinsteiger defends LvG’s philosophy

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Bastian Schweinsteiger has defended manager Louis van Gaal following the regular criticism of the style of football Manchester United are playing this season.

I think he has his philosophy. We try to improve in every match, but it's not easy sometimes when you play against teams who defend with 10 players in their own half, and maybe a little bit deeper.

Louis Van Gaal’s symbiosis of system and philosophy is working at Man United

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Louis van Gaal, on his appointment as manager of Manchester United, claimed that the system – that is, the formation or what he himself often refers to as "shape" – is basically unimportant. What matters, Van Gaal said, was the philosophy.

This, I would argue, is a load of rubbish – and deep down the Dutchman knows this, too.

Louis Van Gaal’s symbiosis of system and philosophy is working at Man United

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Louis van Gaal, on his appointment as manager of Manchester United, claimed that the system – that is, the formation or what he himself often refers to as "shape" – is basically unimportant. What matters, Van Gaal said, was the philosophy.

This, I would argue, is a load of rubbish – and deep down the Dutchman knows this, too.

LVG: “United are the best team in the league”

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Louis Van Gaal claimed Manchester United are the best team in the league on current form and that his players have finally started to come to terms with his football philosophy.

United's new-found resilience has seen them lose just once in their last 19 games since 2 November and they go into Saturday's game against Swansea third on the table and a game away from a first FA Cup semifinal in four years.

LvG: My almost fit squad understands my philosophy

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Louis van Gaal has claimed that his squad of players fully understand his philosophy now, having been at the club for six months, and that is shown in the results United have earned on the pitch. Over the past 15 games, no team in the league has picked up more points than United, with the club losing just one in 19.

Rafael: Van Gaal is the right man for United

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Rafael da Silva has spoken to the Evening News about the new manager, in comparison to the other United managers he's played under.

The Brazilian believes it will take time to adapt to the Dutchman's philosophy but that his track record proves he can be a success at United.

Everything takes time.

A New Start?

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FollowEddieon Twitter Sam: *phone rings* So how about that game eh?! Paul: Haven't seen it yet. Don't tell me anything. I had the best dream though! Sam: How could a dream beat that? Paul:...

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A New Start?

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FollowEddieon Twitter Sam: *phone rings* So how about that game eh?! Paul: Haven't seen it yet. Don't tell me anything. I had the best dream though! Sam: How could a dream beat that? Paul:...

Continue to the full story

Tottenham Hotspur

Florentino Perez says Real Madrid signed Gareth Bale from Spurs on the cheap

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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez reckons he got a bargain when he signed Gareth Bale from Spurs. The deal was drawn out while Perez and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy haggled over the figures. Despite breaking the world transfer record, Perez thinks he paid under the odds for the 24-year-old. He told a Spanish radio station: [.

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos refuses to discuss move for Tottenham’s Gareth Bale

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Rejoice, Tottenham fans! It's a Real Madrid representative who doesn't want to discuss buying Gareth Bale from you. Defender Sergio Ramos refused to be drawn on the transfer speculation even when he was directly asked about the whopping fees being discussed. He said: "I think the price of the players is set by the market.

Koscienly and Coquelin the tactical changes for the derby

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By 1970's Gooner Arsene Wenger has to decide how to approach this extremely important game against Spurs on Sunday. The philosophy to be adopted will determine to a great extend the outcome of the game and possibly Arsenal's participation in next season's Champions League. What he should do is not what he chose to do in the game against Bayern.

The Rest

Schweinsteiger defends LVG’s philosophy

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Bastian Schweinsteiger has defend Louis Van Gaal's tactical approach, insisting the Dutchman wasn't to blame forthe utterly dire football Manchester United have offered this season.

United and Van Gaal have been criticised by fans and pundits for serving up a robotic, sterile possession-based football, abandoningthe attacking style they were famous for but Schweinsteiger believes Van Gaal's methods will pay dividends.

The Beauty of Hating Top Teams

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At some point of my football fandom, I've developed this irrational hostility towards the "top" teams in football leagues Bayern Munich, Barcelona, the two Manchester teams, Paris Saint German, and many other teams capable of winning titles. A good part of that hostility comes from their ego-bloated transfer policies, which seem little more than buying a big fat gold chain every season to wear around for a year or two before chucking it out on eBay; but it mainly boils down to the sense of apathy and stagnation I feel whenever I force myself to root for teams like Bayern Munich or Barcelona.

The Beauty that lies in Unpredictability

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Some of the most wonderful memories that I have of my own childhood were the countless weekends I spent watching soccer match after soccer match from the comfort of my own living room. The English Premier League was a constant in my world. My dad would sit next to my sister and I making the most profound and perceptive comments that we could only hope one day to truly understand!

Lineup Churn

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There's been a good deal of grumbling this week about the amount of changes we've seen in the starting XI under Pablo. Every game is a different starting XI. Mastroeni says its his philosophy that every player should be ready to play and that players should be rotated in and out of the lineup for rest.

How Can You Take World Class Soccer Methods, and Apply Them In Your Environment?

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I think we can all agree that taking what they do elsewhere in the soccer world and applying it here, is not easy.

But the reasons behind that aren't necessarily what you think.

Perhaps the biggest and least understood reason for the difficulty is interpretation.

You see, reading or witnessing something, and properly interpreting what you read or witnessed, are two entirely different things.