I recently attended the World Football Academy conference held at the NSCAA convention in Philadelphia this past month. It was an eye opening experience to say the least. I have been coaching soccer in Western Pennsylvania since 1995. Over this 20-year span I have received the USSF “A” license, administered through U.S. Soccer, finished a Master’s degree in Exercise Science, and received many strength and conditioning certifications. My predilection for the game stimulates my internal drive for more coaching information to utilize with young players. I saw Raymond Verheijen, CEO of World Football Academy, speak in the past and read his books, however I really wanted to dig deeper and learn from this true professional.
The one-day conference by Raymond Verheijen, has changed the way I view and teach the game. I always felt that educating players was about demonstration and articulating movements in the game. The piece that I have been missing is really defining my philosophical approach to my teaching method. As Raymond states “A coaches subjective information and a player’s subjective information results in chaos.”
I see this type of coaching on soccer fields all across the country. We say to players, “Get forward” or “Make that run” and when the players’ shake their heads with affirmation we believe they received the message. However, in the game on Saturday or Sunday the players’ don’t get forward when we want them too or don’t make the run that we want them too and then we criticize them for it. There is nothing more amusing then listening to coaches’ say, “We went over this 1000 times in practice.” I guess the recipe for success must be 1001 times in practice.
No, truly the recipe is coaches’ need to define their philosophical approach to the game, “better” and then develop “better” methods of getting this message across to the players. Screaming and yelling should be a clear sign, as a coach, that we did a poor job in training. The “best” method for teaching is playing soccer. Coaches must have an in-depth knowledge of how the game should look, not only through their eyes as a coach but also through the eyes of the player. They should also know the steps that are taken within a player’s natural biological development. The end picture of an individual soccer player, soccer being the key word, should be the starting point of our philosophical approach.