Getting Better as a Youth Soccer Coach
When I was a Soccer Youth Head Coach, in England and America, I sometimes struggled with how to manage the well-intentioned, high level of energy, that parents and/or guardians brought to the Soccer pitch.
At that time I hadn’t concieved my Possession with Purpose analytical approach, but if I had, I would certainly have followed it.
Why, because I think and feel there is great value in understanding some of the basic activities of soccer, mesauring those activities, and using those results to drive improvement. And the earlier in the development of soccer the better in understanding that while this game is measured by wins, draws, and losses, it isn’t just about scoring goals – it’s about preventing them too.
If you’re an aspiring soccer Head Coach, new or old, I think this approach in leveraging parents/guardians to help you help the team is a great step towards getting better.
If that resonates with you, or even if it doesn’t, I think it’s worthy you take a few minutes to consider what I offer.
Before digging in, you should know up front, this entire approach works from my Strategic Possession with Purpose Family of Indices; the same analysis offered up at the 2014 World Conference on Science and Soccer.
And the same analysis used to evalute professional team performances within Major League Soccer, the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga, World Cup 2014 and the UEFA Champions League.
The End State is to measure team performance – ignoring results (points in the league table) in order to track and trend (analyze) individual and team performance with the intent of driving towards improvement.
In statistical terms the relationship (correlation) of my analyses (the Composite PWP Index to Points in the League Table) without counting points is (R2) .86.
In other words 86% of the time my own Index reflects the outputs in the League Table without counting points.
AND…. 86% of the time the winning teams execute the steps within PWP better than the losing team!
With that said here’s what to do.
- Split the pitch into thirds and place one parent at the entry point into your own defending final third and one at the entry point into your opponent’s defending final third.
- Next, place two parents at the middle of the pitch.
- Then place one parent at or near the end line on your defending side of the pitch and then one parent at the same position on the opponent’s defending side of the pitch.
- Give each parent a clipboard and pen (waterproof if necessary) and have them begin to count and keep track of certain ‘team’ data points.
- The two parents in the center of the pitch are to count and document (all) passes attempted and passes completed for each team (throw-ins and free kicks included) across the entire pitch. If you have four parents then have two track passes attempted and two track passes completed, one for each team.
- The two parents at the entry to the defending final third are to count and document passes attempted and completed (within and into) the defending final third for each team. This also includes all throw-ins, crosses, corners and free kicks that are not specific shots taken on goal. If you have four parents/guardians then have one each track passes attempted and passes completed separately for each team.
- Finally, the two parents on the end lines are to count and document shots taken, shots on goal, and goals scored for each team.
At the end of the game you will have a complete data base (by volume and percentage) that gives you the information to identify your team’s possession percentage, passing accuracy, penetration per possession, ability to generate shots per penetrating possession, what percentage of those shots taken were on goal and what percentage of those shots on goal that scored goals (your team attacking).
And since you collected data on your opponent you will also have all the data on how well your opponent did in those same categories against you (your team defending).
Pretty much meaning you’ve just captured the ENTIRE bell curve of activities I use to measure team performance at the very highest level in the World.
With that data you can now determine, analyze, and document/chart/track ways to improve your attacking as well as defending team performances. And as each game occurs you continue to build a data.
This information is then used to help you develop new training plans that look to help the team improve where weaknesses exist.
I do not recommend keeping track of individual performance unless you have enough parents and players who are mature enough to deal with individual weaknesses.
This approach should have application at any level of soccer – to include premier, as well as select, recreational, ODP or elsewhere. As a matter of opinion, I’d offer the closer you are to a higher level of play the more important this approach becomes.
Outcomes from this approach give data to set targets for improvement and the ability to measure the success in that improvement.
In addition, this approach also reinforces that Youth Soccer Development is not all about winning, it’s about getting better while trying to do the things teams need to do in order to win.
If any team wishes to take on this challenge, as a youth club, anywhere in America, send me your data and I will give you one month of analysis that includes preparing products I develop in my analysis of professional football clubs.
I may even publish those products, as examples, for others to learn from in future articles.
And if you are located in the Portland or Beaverton area send me a note and I will make every effort to visit a training session, and or game, to help better explain this approach.
Finally, my general analysis may also include some recommendations on what training plans/programs may help focus your team on key areas to improve.
Bottom line at the bottom:
There is value in understanding and tracking the basic activities that occur in a game of soccer. It not only helps the players understand their larger role in this team game it also helps the parents understand the greater detail and responsibility you have as a coach to help others get better as a ‘team’.
In case you missed it; this year four Head Coaches from teams who finished near or bottom on the CPWP Strategic Index have already been sacked in MLS:
And last year five of the six worst teams in performing the PWP steps had the Head Coaches sacked!
Pretty compelling evidence that teams who perform better have Head Coaches who last longer… if you want to have success as a Youth Head Coach then I strongly suggest you adopt the measurement methods and analysis associated with PWP; with or without using Parents/Guardians.
If there are every any questions please feel free to contact me through Linked-in or through twitter; my twitter is @chrisgluckpwp.
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