Skill Development

Key Performance Indicators In Team Soccer

KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, is defined as "a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, athlete, etc. in meeting objectives for performance". The first time I heard the term KPI was in a talk by Olympic track coach, Dan Pfaff. While track and field is an objective sport based on distance and time, soccer is often interpreted as a more subjective game. Sure, a striker's goal count can be easily tracked, but coaches may like the way one midfielder plays more than another and it is hard to quantify which player is indeed more effective. All of this is changing, as technology advances and becomes more integrated into world and youth soccer. 

How To Pass Like a Soccer Wizard

Being a great passer goes way beyond playing the soccer ball to the person you want. Here are some things to consider when thinking about good soccer passing

Soccer Development Versus Winning

In their publication "Foundations of Sports and Exercise Psychology," Robert Weinberg and Daniel Gould explain the critical factors contributing to early withdraw from sports are a lack of enjoyment, excessive pressure and an overemphasis on winning. In fact, if you ask young soccer players for reasons why they enjoy playing soccer, “winning” isn’t even in the top 10 most common answers. As adults, we hijack their experience to satisfy our purposes.
All too frequently, games represent the “big stage” and are overhyped by parents and coaches. For instance, listen to pregame “pep-talks” and you’ll too often hear coaches saying things like: “This team is really good, you guys are going to have to bring your A-game if you want to beat them.” Or, “Remember, if we don’t play smart out there, they’re going to punish us.” Or, “If you don’t work hard, I’m going to sub you out.” Or, “Last time we played them, they beat us on a bad penalty call. We owe them this time!”
The great majority of young soccer players already want to do their best; they don’t take the field with the plan of playing poorly. The research is clear: these types of pregame talks actually inhibit young players’ performances by pushing them beyond their “sweet spot” level of arousal.

Frans Bosch and Soccer Performance Training

Bosch has changed the way many strength and conditioning and soccer coaches approach training, His dynamic systems approach is far superior than the usual reductionist approach. Here are my basic findings related to soccer players. 

The Magic of Small Sided Games

I see a lot of coaches running the crap out of their players before, during, and after training. I can understand every now and then doing such grueling, NTF (not-that-fun) kind of work with older players, but what about younger players?  A study on Spanish elite youth players, average aged of 13 years old,  showed that small sided games are as effective as interval training for maintaining aerobic fitness in elite youth soccer players.  

Soccer Skills Training With a Wall

Having access to a wall is so important when it comes to soccer training on your own.  What better way to improve something like your first touch then by getting tons and tons of reps?  Here are some drills I came up with using a soccer ball and a wall:

Proof Anyone Can Make It To The Big Leagues In Soccer

If a soccer player, coach, or fan was to type into a computer the ideal physical characteristics of a top footballer, I bet most people would choose similar attributes; 5'9 or taller, low body fat percentage, durable bone structure, muscular and explosive legs, and an efficient set of heart and lungs.  

Interestingly, as much as this website preaches the importance of achieving a leaner and stronger physique and more athleticism, the nature of soccer is such that with a certain skill set, attitude, and intelligence (or vision for the game), there is no denying that certain players have found great success despite their limitations. One needs not look far to see that some of the best the game has ever seen have come in all different shapes, sizes, and with various physical strengths and weaknesses.