Mount Washington Valley Soccer Club

Director of Coaching Bulletins

Jan 21, 2019

Thoughts from the United Soccer Coaches Convention

Just back from the USC Convention in Chicago. There was so much to learn amongst the 10,000 coaches and brilliant clinicians in attendance. I thought I would share what I heard from the world of soccer. This is just a  brief synopsis of in-depth presentations I would be happy to expand on in person with you.

Ian Barker, United Soccer Coaches, Director of Coaching did a session on Rondo’s. Work with different shapes and areas of the field and units of players to simulate the game thru rondo’s. Always move to support. Make it game like.

Dan Abrahams, Sports Pscyhologist from England: Coaches are servant-leaders. Be intentional about mental conditioning. Put mindset first and it will influence technical/tactical. Teaching and learning are two different processes. Be player centered. Avoid extreme language.

Wilie McNabb; Celtic FC: Numerical superiority: The Consolidation Zone. Discussed how to outnumber opponent in midfield using a “high box” or “low box” or “ diamond”. Prepare from “launch pad”. Players understood triggers which then dictated player movement and ball movement. Low risk passed getting thru midfield. Be solid in shape before launching attack in most cases.

Cedric Cattenoy; Chicago Fire discussed how they built a Game Model for their Academy. Defined Club values first. Described pathway from U8-U19. Train 4 times a week. Defined offensive, defensive, and transitional goals. Coaches extremely important in delivering model. Created tactical curriculum for each age group – which is similar to US Soccer model. All training sessions very detailed and written. Name key points and actions you are looking for in session. Define key qualities of each position.

Boris Kubla, Croatia Football Federation: Functional technique to solve tactical problems in the middle and final third: It is all about solving “puzzles”. Three solutions: individual, unit of players, team. Take moment out of game and put it into training sessions. Did this brilliantly.

Schellas Hyndman; Grand Canyon University: Pressing- When and where: Don’t have to win ball when pressing. Make play predictable. As ball moves, defenders readjust. E.C.C.O. = Early, Clear, Communication, Often.  Need a leader in the press. Encouragement of player very important.

Colleen Hacker, US Soccer: Developing a high-performance mindset: Mental toughness and intrinsic motivation to key player qualities. Resiliency. OK to make errors. Have a mistake ritual. Bounce back. Grind is where grit comes from. Positive coping.

Hugo Blanco, LaLiga: Tactical Concepts in 7v7,9v9,11,v11. Ask what do players actually understand tactically. How are we using the space? Changes depending on location on field. Find pass to progress. Need time to open once have ball. Don’t be in a hurry.

Vidar Halldorsson, Univ. of Iceland: The Sport Success of Iceland. Culture, Character, Community based, values driven. Sport as Play. Family matters. Role models close. Drives collective motivation of players. Measured “symbolic communication”. Brilliant stuff.

Dr. Tiffany Jones, X-Factor Performance: Incorporating latest brain training into sessions. Ask players how the feel. Ask players what they are thinking. Let it run, don’t always fix it. Understand stresses and pressure of game. Be specific – How?

There is so much more to share. There is so much to learn. Ask questions, be curious, make mistakes. Practice a growth mindset. Be player centered. Can’t wait to share more ideas with all of you, both coaches and players.

Love the game!
David Hart
Technical Director