Thursday, June 10, 2010

4- What is the best method to adapt to teaching soccer?

In the process of teaching/learning soccer, should seek to implement effective teaching methods, or better those to acquire bigger and better sedimentation of learning.

The methods of teaching/learning soccer, has been implemented in accordance with the evolution that soccer has had over the years.

In the early days, learning soccer was made of a way not organized, in the streets, without the presence of any coach, through small games of 3v3, 4v4 … depending on the number of kids available, any kind of area, in spaces with reduced dimensions.

Learning was done, fundamentally, through small games or formal game (Global Method), by trying and errors, in which the player controlled their own learning, which led to the emergence of many players endowed with a great technical virtuosity.

In a second phase, soccer clubs started to become interested in the training (develop) of young players, an organized way, where the learning becomes provided in the soccer fields, with the presence of a coach and ruled by the method based on individual technique (analytical method).

Teaching the game, becomes directed fundamentally for the proper implementation of different technical skills, in a isolated form stereotyped and out the actual context of the game, where it was thought the improved performance Technical Individual require improvements function global of the team. This current technocratic led many coaches to adapt the idea that young players should not start playing soccer, until owns the correct domain of all the technical skills.

The method of teaching based on the technique that still reigns in soccer clubs. If we observe a training session today, it does not differ much from those that were about 20, 30 years ago, with a first part for the warm-up usually done without the ball, a second part intended, the practice of technique exercises, disinherited of the context of the game and a third party dedicated to formal play (the called scrimmage (game) 11v11 or 8v8...).

We face, often during the second part of the training sessions, dedicated to learning the technical skills that they are exercised in isolation from real game situations, making it difficult to maintain motivation and commitment of the players for very extended periods of time, since the situations proposed are infrequently stimulants, by not possess key aspects of the game, that are the opposition, the cooperation and finalization.

However, in most cases when reach the third part of the training session, the formal game (11v11 or 8v8...), and players can not apply the knowledge learned previously, because having exercised the technique in situations isolates and that not occur in the game.

In the framework of education and training, I found that when the technique is addressed through situations that occur outside the requests tactical it acquires small transfers to the game.

I believe that a soccer player assimilated the technique, when it fit to apply properly in games of spaces reduced with a high speed and under strong opposition from adversaries.

Are why I argue that the true dimension of the technique rests in the utility to serve the intelligence and capacity of tactical decision of the players and teams. Good performers are, first, an individual can choose the most appropriate techniques to meet the various configuration of the game, because that, teaching and training the soccer techniques, cannot be restricted to bio-mechanical aspects, that are, the gesture, but all the demands specialty of their intelligent adaptation to the situations of the game.

If we want to have in the future intelligent players, are fundamental provide them greater knowledge of the tactical game, because we know that it is important for their future evolution, so do not know how to perform a particular technique, but fundamentally know when, where and why do it. Then, on learning the game, teaching technique and tactics must be inseparable.

In most recent phase, some coaches start to realize that teaching the game directionally exclusively for the technical aspects, through situations strictly controlled and predictable, prevented that many young players ad "an understanding Global of the game in aspects most basic, as the position on the field, reading the game, capacity of anticipation, understanding with teammates defensively and attacking, or making correct decisions.

These assumptions led to implementation of a new method of teaching the game. Based on demand, primarily on conditioned games (soccer-games in which they put some constraints, aim of achieving certain objectives of the game - Systematic Method), with a view to develop intelligent players, able to respond adequately to different game situations.

There have 3 different forms to abort the teaching of soccer:

• Global method (Table 1)

• Analytical Method (Table 2)

• Systematic method (Table 3)

Table 1 - Characteristics and consequences of Global Method

 Exclusive use of formal game (11x11 or 7x7)
 The team and the fundamental basis of learning
 Anarchic game, there are no changes to the progress
 The game are not decomposed or conditioned

 Individual-technical virtuosity in contrast to the anarchy tactics
 Various solutions motor's but uncoordinated
 Higher level of motivation and commitment of the players
 High-incidence of the mechanisms of perception and decision of the movements , which is already present unpredictable situations involving one analyze and making decisions and a different incidence in mechanism of execution

Table 2 - Characteristics and consequences of Analytical Method
• Starts from the situations in analytical techniques for the formal game
• The game are decomposed into elements Technical hierarchical(1 * pass …)
• The sum of the individual performances are equal to the improving of the team

• Mechanization of the game actions
• Since the solutions imposed, having problems in understanding the game
• Obsession of the technique – long time training dedicated to teaching technique and little time devoted to teaching the game
• Low level of motivation, which leads to the young players often not interested in activities to develop
• Low incidence in the mechanisms of perception and decision, because are stable and predictable situations and high incidence of the delivery mechanisms of movement

Table 3 - Characteristics and consequences of Systematic Method
• Breaks the game for particular situations
• The oppositions are the source of the whole process
• The game are decomposed in units functional of increasing complexity (1v1, 3v3, keep-away, Game of the 5 passes …)
• The principles of the game governing the learning (develop)

 Learning of the techniques appears in the function of tactics, oriented form
 Understanding the mechanisms and the principles of the game
 Intelligence tactics, creativity in the actions of the game
 More training time devoted to teaching the game that the techniques
 Good level of motivation and commitment to the tasks
 Greater incidence of the mechanisms of perception and the decision of the movement because appear present unpredictable situations involving analysis and decision-differentiated and an average incidence and sometimes large in the mechanisms of execution whenever there is a need for repetition of certain actions.

If we consider that during a game of soccer the loss of ball due in more than 50% of cases are because a wrong decision and not to a technical failure of execution by the players, these problems need to require from the coaches a better attention in future.
In soccer, the first problem facing the young player are tactical, this are, WHAT TO DO?

Only later, arise the problem HOW TO DO, i.e. the technique question, through the selection of the motor response most appropriate for solving.

Fig.1 – Phases of processing information in a complex tactical action.

Realize - Understand

Select - Decide

Respond - execute

It seems to be necessary to abandon the process of teaching/learning focused solely on individual technique, where it give too much time in learning the technique and little or nothing learning the game, fundamentally for two reasons:

1. The sum of all individual performances, not cause implicitly a refinement of the qualitative team.

2. The learning of technical gestures in an analytical form, not allowing its
effective implementation in the context of the Situation as the game.

Learning Soccer are Fundamentally Learning the Game.

I advocate the implementation of the Systemic method, because begun from the game in order to identify existing problems, passes to the Training for solving the problems identified and back again to the Game, towards to assess the problems identified were resolved (Fig. 2).

Fig.2 - Methodology and implementation in the systematic method

1* GAME:
a) Identification of
the problem
b) Discovery the solution

Solving the problem:
- Conditioned Game
- Work by sectors
- Individual work

3* GAME:
Consolidate the Appropriation
(worked in the Practices)

As an example, if in the course of a game we find that the player on our team has a tendency to clump around the ball, we know we have to solve the problem of agglomeration.

Went to the practice session and we will try to resolve the problem detected, through a game conditioning, impose the following rule: "During the game, no player from that team with the ball, could be a distance of less than 3 meters to the ball carrier, the one who does causes to his team the loss of the ball possession in favor of the opposing team".

After a few sessions, we return again to the games and assess the aspects worked in practice were learned, if not were, back to training to treat the same subject, if have been solved, back to training again, in order to solve other problems have emerged.

Some strategies to following in the teaching/learning of the game:

1. Learning should be phased and progressive: from the known to the unknown, from the easy to the difficult, from least to the most complex.
2. The need for phasing education inevitably leads to division of the game, however this division must always respect when is possible that what the game has of essential, Ie, the cooperation (teammates), the opposition (opponents) and stopping (Shooting).
3. It should be proposed to young players: Playful forms with simple rules, with fewer players, a smaller space, so allow continuity of the actions and greater possibilities for achievement.

The game should always be present at all phases of teaching soccer, because to be at the same time a motivating factor and the best indicator of the evolution of the players.

3- What are having success as teacher/coach of youth soccer?

The success of a teacher/coach of youth soccer, are based on the following aspects:

• Progression in the provision of sports, according to their integral development and harmonious, helping them to congregate the demands of their life sports, educational, social and familiar.

• Reduced abandonment and accretion "visible", the taste for training and competition in children trained by him.

• Ability to identify and develop talent's for soccer

• Number of young players trained by him that achieved high levels of good performance, in medium and long term.

• Capacity to establish, with the kids trained by him, relations of friendship that remain a long term.

• Know what him want and what paths to follow, a correct philosophy of intervention as teacher/coach of youth soccer.

• Seeks to update and improve the level in its function as teacher/coach.

However, big part of people involving with the youth soccer, directors (some coaches) parents and family of players, has an enormous desire to win, since very soon, exerting a huge pressure on the players and teachers/coaches, about the immediate result to be achieved. Are various the Malefic from this situation in all of process of developing.
Some examples:

• If you have players endowed with a great power to shooting (because they had a very early muscle development), has to drive all the game to them, that with their shots from far and from any distance, can score a goal, because the goals are big and the goalkeepers are small, only these players compete marking goal kick, corner kick, free kicks and even make the throw-ins.

• If the team has players with very speed, has to play systematically the ball to them, since based on their speed, win games.

• If we have strong players, hard, aggressive, but little skilled, are the ideal type to destroy the game of the adversaries, through individual markings of the entire soccer field, in order to eliminate the most technically players of the opposing teams (We do not play, but the adversary also don't play).

• If we have tall players, we have to put the whole team to make crosses in the air to the opposition area, to explore the game of our player “head-man goal ".

• Even being winning the game, continue to play with the same players, from the beginning to the end of the game not giving opportunity that everyone can have the happiness and enjoyment of playing, because the fear that the opponent team can draw or even win the game.

• If we are to wining and have a few minutes to finish the game, we retreat everyone close to our defense, we stop to play with forwards, when we recovery the possession of the ball, our only objective are destroying the game (of the opponent and our) throwing the ball with strength, and as far as possible from our goal.

In this restlessly, Ivan de la Pena (ex-Barcelona player), reported an interesting experience lived with his coach Laureano Ruiz, in youth soccer:
“One day, I played one final in Spain. I remember we won by a minimum difference, and missing few minutes to finish the game. I delayed my position on the field, to help the defense and sometimes i kicked balls forward with strength and away from our goal.
The game is over, and I was very happy to have won that final”.

The next day, Laureano spoke to me and told me “Ivan, I am upset with you. I want to tell you, that yesterday you fells in the ridiculous. You played badly.”

“How can a player with your quality treat so badly the ball?”

“How are possible, with your technically so good, do not you play the ball as you know?”

“You'll have time to win finals and trophies. Now your worries is about to learn (develop)”.

“Each time you kick one ball forward at random, you goes to feeling, as if you have scored a goal in your own goal ".

“That afternoon I felt bad, at first I was annoyed, but then I understood everything, Laureano had reason”

• If the team loses a couples of games (because the opponent teams were better), happens a breakdown on the process of developing (should be continuous), happens the, disappoint from some parents (some coach included), change the methods of training/developing, and find quick solutions (wrong) for the team not to lose the next game (develop is a long process).

We, will need to understand that soccer are collective game, and that in the early stages of learning the game, was due to focus on equal opportunities and a multilateral development of all players, giving them happiness and enjoyment in activity.

Surely we are not contributing to a qualitative improvement of soccer, using predominantly individualized certain players, momentary have a body growth (height, weight, muscle mass) more advanced, and so for that reason has in the youth soccer, too many advantages over smaller players, though these are technically and tactically more evolved.

What happens often are those who have had a more rapid body growth, after puberty, stagnate and end up being "outdated" by the smaller player, that they are more gifted technically and tactically, end up imposing and progress as players, while the more body growth developed early, but with less technical skills and tactics, eventually leave soccer.

Are the cases of players like, Saviola (Barcelona, Real Madrid, Benfica), Messi (Barcelona), that are high-level players, but they had some difficulties in playing with regularities in phases of U10, U12, U14, due to their lower body development.

Happens very often we invested too much time to hyper-request the children with more gifted body, who later goes leave soccer, disregarding the most gifted technically and tactically, they come the soccer players of the future.

What level could have today, the less gifted players bodily, currently are considered good players, if they were properly stimulated while young?

In soccer, the great talents as are the cases of Figo (Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan), Romario (Barcelona), are emphasized by their tactical-techniques skills, and not by their physical capabilities.

In teaching soccer, whether in a training and playing situations, coaches, must use methods and request the players the use of means that lead them to build a level of play of good quality, (avoiding the anarchic game based on kicking forward and random), even at the risk of one or another game, they cannot come to win.

Who plays poorly, can win occasionally, but most of the time, Won that playing better. All we should do to that happen.

2- What are the objectives of the teachers/coaches of youth soccer?

The coaches of the formative youth soccer, have the main objective, contribute to a proper training of children, but always encouraging the desire and taste for victory, since win are an ambition of every human being. It is not however, to win at all costs, putting in question the developing of young players.

Specific objectives of the teachers/coaches of children (young players):

•To know the young players coaching as training, and the characteristics of the different phases of development.

•Contribute to the development the specific capabilities (physical, tactical, technical and psychic) of soccer.

•Contributing to general formative and integral of the common citizen.

•Promote the taste and habit by practicing sports, providing happiness and enjoyment in young players, through the activities to be developing.

•Addressing the expectations of children and their families in a realistic way.

•Direct its actions, emphasizing primarily the effort and progress in learning, putting first the interests of players and so after the victories of the team.

Adopt an environment heavily focused on learning and low oriented to productivity are more appropriate for children, in order to maximize the motivation and the realization of all its capabilities.

They must not be put objectives in children, exclusively victory or success (which depends on factors outside the player, such as the ability of opponents, the strategy used, the environment, the condition of soccer field), but to “fight” and give maximum effort to win, because the only aspect that the player can control, are the effort that performs in the competition.

Coaches must know well the young players he training, understanding their problems their attitudes and their motivations, realizing that the main reason that leads them to play soccer are the enjoyment and fun.

On the other hand, the coach must know the main reasons that lead children to abandon of sports, and are:

1* The fact that of not playing enough time.

2* The negative reinforcement and constant criticism of the coaches.

3* The inter-individual differences in physical maturation

4* The psychological “stress” of competition

5* The constant failure

The importance that the teacher/coach has with young players requires a formation extremely careful for the exercise of its function.

One of the characteristics of good coaches are the desire and the capacity permanent to update, always want to know more, what passes for a continuity formation, through the participation in debates and seminars for coaches, reading specialized magazines, observation and exchange of experiences of methods of training.

Any project credible of developing young players must be accomplished for the quality of Intervention of their coaches.

The product of work done by teachers/coaches of youth soccer manifests itself in the long term and not immediately.

Being teacher/coach of youth soccer is working without clock and has all the available time devoted to develop children. Are necessary to have patience and perseverance, because the fruits of the work will only appear in the long term.

1- What kind of teacher/coach soccer is ideal for the children?

Will be the individual that, simultaneously, has experience as a player and has a properly formation allowing him to training young players

Must be a teacher/coach who, have significant a expertise in soccer, who likes to work and it can establish a good relationship with the children, who is knowledgeable of its differences stages of development, and knows the means and methods more appropriate for the integral development of children.

The Coach is a one “Central Figure” of a vast and complex system of links and influences that compose sports activity.

The teacher/coach, through all that does, educate and former human be, and that is a model for all those he works with on a daily basis. Their influences are carried directly on the young players and indirectly on those around him, assistant coach, directors, team managers, parents and fans.

The coach must be a good example and a good model for everyone, fundamentally with the children and young players, because they are in the formative phase of his personality and acquisition of values and references to its future life. So the coach must have the consciousness of the impact of their options and priorities lead in children and coaching young players, since the children are easily influenced and are daily confronted with new experiences and situations.

The teacher/coach, for what they are and for what they makes, exerts a strong influence and model the behavior of their players, being their action is sometimes stronger than their own parents.

“The Teacher/coach should be rated and paid, not for victories or defeats catered for their teams, but in terms of human being that he helped build”