LA TIMES: Is youth soccer training to blame for American team failure to make WC?

Discussion in 'SoCalScene' started by Vin, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. JJP

    JJP Silver

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    No he is advocating development of ball control in tight spaces via repetition of coerver style soccer drills from simple to increasing complexity. Doing all those drills takes so much time and effort, Byers is saying only a parent (right now dads but in the future moms too) can take the time to train young soccer players.

    This is basically what I did with my son. It’s a great way to develop ball control but my kid (and from what I have seen most kids) get bored of doing these drills. Also, I was not a good enough player or trainer to go beyond the most basic of these coerver drills, or show my kid how to translate the skills he acquired from coerver drills to actual play.

    However, nobody else was doing this and it helped him reach a hi level of play before he hit the wall of where my limited coaching abilities could take him.
     
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  2. younothat

    younothat Silver

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    "The reasons given for the United States’ World Cup qualifying failure funnel down to one or two issues: We simply don’t have the talent. Or we don’t properly develop talent"
    http://thefederalist.com/2017/11/27/structural-changes-soccer-worthy-goal-no-guarantee-success/

    The latter seems more likely to me...

    "The youth system in this country isn’t ideal. The pay-to-play structure has produced a discouraging participation rate as measured by income. Only the upper-middle-class and rich can consistently afford the thousands of dollars a year it costs just for one child to play club soccer.

    On top of that, player development loses out to the focus on winning. Bigger and faster players often take priority over skills as a result. But I’m skeptical of the focus on (mostly European) developmental structures as the cure-all for America’s soccer woes, at least in the short term"

    European countries only have to scout and develop eligible talent the square mileage of one or two states. That’s with dozens and dozens of professional clubs (England alone has nearly 100) who have development academies. Many have a century or more of entrenchment in their community. Soccer also competes with maybe one or two other sports in terms of popularity. It will grab the best players in Europe almost by default.

    The only successful soccer nation that even compares in size and population to the United States is Brazil. We’ll just never have the soccer culture they enjoy. And we do not want to mimic their club system.

    Of course, competent youth systems that encourage development help. But the United States is a nascent soccer nation. Soccer does not enjoy the financial stability at any level that football, baseball, or basketball does. Neither U.S. Soccer nor Major League Soccer benefit nearly as much from an essentially free development league in college like the National Football League or National Basketball Association.

    CEO of U.S. Club Soccer Kevin Payne says parents in his organization spend around $1.5 billion annually on soccer. That certainly isn’t the only club soccer organization in this country. Who foots that bill to end pay-to-play? U.S. Soccer has a $130-140 million surplus. Put all of that into U.S. club soccer and you’ve chipped away at 10 percent of the cost for a single organization.

    We should certainly seek to end pay-to-play club systems and increase focus on playing the game properly. I just don’t think it’s going to be that easy or quick to fix"
     
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  3. watfly

    watfly Silver

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    There was a great segment about Tom Byer on a recent episode of Real Sports (HBO). They also interviewed Kyle Martino who was a big proponent of Byer's methodologies. To be successful Byer believes that "soccer starts at home" (also the name of his book) at a very young age which happens in the dominate World Cup countries but doesn't happen in the US. This is another cultural aspect of soccer that the US doesn't have. His ideas have worked in other countries...will it work in the US? IDK but I think US Soccer should give it a shot, because what they are doing now clearly isn't working.

    On another note, I don't buy in to the premise that the best athletes don't play soccer. Our participation in youth soccer dwarfs that of other World Cup successful countries. We certainly have a large enough talent pool to choose 26 of the world's best athletes. I've never looked at the USMNT and thought they weren't athletic. But I have looked at our teams and thought they lacked touch, creativity and good decision making.
     
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  4. LASTMAN14

    LASTMAN14

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    Saw that piece on HBO. Really interesting. I think Byer's ideas (though not original) are a great launching point. Yet, he may be the right person for the job.
     
  5. JJP

    JJP Silver

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    Byer is responsible for the Coerver revolution in Japan, and the spread of Coerver methods in Japan is the reason why there are so many highly technical, skilled Japanese soccer players, both men and women. What worked in Japan could work in America, but I have my doubts because 1) I think American kids and Japanese kids are different in their attitudes towards training, 2) you need huge batches of kids, not just an isolated few, to really get the benefits of Coerver training, and 3) Coerver training benefits the women’s game IMO more than the men’s game.

    The drills Byer advocates are great and they will improve in tight ball control, but they are boring for most kids to do and very few kids, like practically none, want to spend a lot of time doing them. I solved this problem with my own kid by just forcing him to do the drills, but I’m pretty hard assed when it comes to training and technique, and it was a pain in the ass to make the kid do it. The kids are more willing to do it if they are doing it with other kids, but no matter how many kids I tried to get to do these drills with my son, none of them would do it beyond a session or two, and several told me they hated doing those drills even though it was making them better.

    I think the Japanese people have a great attitude in terms of being willing to put in time and sacrifice to be great or perfect (who else would devote 20 year’s of training to learn how to craft a samurai sword), so if you can convince the Japanese, yea these drills are hard and boring as hell, but if you do them every day for 5 years your kid will be awesome, Japanese parents will make their kids do those drills for 5 years. I think it will be MUCH, MUCH harder to get American kids to do these type of drills as much as you need to do them to get the full benefits.

    I also think the Coerver drills are most useful in futsal and the women’s game, not so much the men’s game. Almost all of these Coerver fast footwork drills can’t be done at full speed, and they are easier to do without error when wearing futsal shoes, the studs on cleats make the moves harder. You are not running full speed very much in futsal, and you have to move the ball at crazy angles in tight spaces, so the Coerver moves work really well in futsal. The slower speed of the women’s game also made it easier to do Coerver moves, the slower you run it’s easier to do the move. Plus, unless the female player is built like a slim boy, the women’s change of direction, TBH, is brutally slow. Because these Coerver moves are usually change of direction moves, they are highly effective in tripping up the girls.

    My son used to play lot of indoor soccer and he used to look like Ronaldo playing vs high school or even college girls as a 6th or 7th grader. But when he tried the same moves on boys outdoors, he got stripped and abused. The boys were so much harder to beat with the initial move, and even if you beat them, their recovery was so fast most of the moves just didn’t work.

    What I’m saying is, Byers approach is better than what we have now and will improve US soccer if we can get kids to do it, but at least for the men’s game, it is not a magic bullet that will solve our problems. It is just one key tool in the toolbox.

    I agree we have enough athletic talent. But the soccer training is so haphazard in this country the best soccer athletes are not always getting the best training. The reality is, especially at younger age groups, the best kids were trained by dads who know what they are doing, but their sons might not necessarily be the best soccer athletes.
     
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  6. watfly

    watfly Silver

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    I don't know the detailed technical aspects of Byer's or Coerver's training, but my overall impression was that it was more about Byer's philosophy that the parents should be involved with their childs soccer development (touch and relationship with the ball) at a very early age (i.e. soccer starts at home). This concept certainly has played a role in Pulisic becoming a great American player.

    Your question of will it work in the US is a good one. Unfortunately, most American parents just want to pay the money to drop their kid off with a coach to teach them soccer for 3-6 hours a week. They would rather delegate the authority and pay someone than do it themselves. Ironically, its probably some of the same parents that are complaining on another thread about how Club soccer is a scam. While I don't care for the sales tactics and BS that many clubs/coaches spew, you can't expect even a great coach to turn your kid into a World Cup player with only a few hours of training a week. If we want our kids to play at the highest level, we as parents need to take more ownership in our kids training. While training your own kid is way easier said then done you can still encourage your child to get touches at home, play with other kids in the backyard, etc.
     
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  7. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    I think you are absolutely right that the effectiveness of the Coerver moves depend on the speed of the player. I think it's therefore easier for girls to do the moves than boys, but that doesn't mean the moves are more effective for girls. Indeed, many of the moves are named after the male players that made them famous-- whether the Ronaldo chop, the Maradona spin, or the Messi fake.

    The problem with Coerver is that while it's really great at improving ball handling, it doesn't do a great job at some of the other skills. If you look at their pyramid of skills, ball mastery (where much of the basic Coerver course is devoted) occupies the huge space at the bottom of the pyramid, below receiving/first touch (which others routinely say is the most critical skill). They do give proper nods to the passing game, but the bias is clearly that if the player is able they should try to beat the opposition, rather than back or short pass it. It's very different from the tiki-taka system. Also, the teaching materials aren't all created equally (the finishing, for example, is much weaker than the ball moves section and I don't remember seeing anything on off ball movement). I've been through the goalkeeping course. I wasn't impressed..it was like they were trying to build a goalkeeping philosophy to cram into a pyramid rather than generate a comprehensive new philosophy. If we ever do get a national curriculum Coerver has its place, particularly in the early ages, but it's not a silver bullet.

    My son had great success with Coerver at the U8 in AYSO...with just a handful of moves routinely able to beat slower players who didn't know about the moves. I see that less in the youngers for club, particularly on the smaller fields with less room...the emphasis is more on the passing game or run and boot soccer (I've seen both types of coaches yell at the player for trying to beat an opponent on the dribble when a passing or running option was available). And then it's not always taught correctly....it's not enough to learn the move but you have to know which moves are appropriate for what circumstances....I remember once seeing a Coerver trained striker try to beat a younger keeper on the one v one with the roulette....keeper smoothered on the one v one and the striker went flying into the goal....a toe poke or the chip would have been better options (or even a rollover towards center if the keeper has left the far post open and hesitates).
     
  8. JJP

    JJP Silver

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    Both the top boys and top girls can do the coerver moves, what I’m saying is that a huge percentage of the Coerver moves, which will work vs. girls, will not work vs. boys. That is because as girls mature, their ability to change direction gets much worse, whereas the boys are able to come to a full stop,and change direction extremely fast. I saw my son and another stud academy player (my son was in 7th grade, his friend was in 8th grade) do the whole litany of coerver moves vs scholarshipped college girls breaking their ankles for half hour straight before they got tired and the bigger girls used their size and weight to hip slam or shoulder them off the ball.

    The reason is that as the girls mature, their hips get wider and causes their knees to angle in making them a little knock kneed, so they can’t plant hard and push off to change direction. Whereas boys will jam their foot into the turf and smash their full weight onto the knee and ankle, flex their knee, and explode off their planted foot to change direction, the girls can’t do that. They have to take 2 or 3 little steps when they are running fast to change directions, they can’t just plant and move because their knee can’t take the pressure. Plus they carry extra weight on their hips and chest which keep moving in the original direction the girl was traveling, so the weight shift needed to smoothly change direction is just not possible for mature girls.

    That’s why I say the Coerver moves are more effective for the women’s game. The attacking player has a greater advantage due to the women having limited change of direction, so the Coerver moves are more effective.

    I agree with you. A parent can train basic coerver moves, but without greater expertise and more bodies to run passing drills, training your own kids in passing/receiving, except for the most rudimentary basics, is not possible. There is a need for good coaches and top notch academies. My point is, kids should go into academy having mastered their 1v1 and coerver skills, by practice on their own, and playing small sided games. Otherwise, IMO those kids are wasting their time in academy.

    Yea I agree, coerver is a first step and then you need good coaching to teach them how to combine coerver moves with pass/receive, good shape, give and go, etc. It’s a critical first step, but just a first step.
     
  9. JJP

    JJP Silver

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    Agree 100%. But it is difficult training your own kid, so I don’t blame parents who want someone else to do it. The issue is, I’m not sure you can even pay someone else to do it. It takes a certain amount of “Tiger Mom” parenting to get the kid to do a lot of Coerver drilling in my experience, and only a parent can really do that.
     
  10. Not_that_Serious

    Not_that_Serious Bronze

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    Thats no our biggest issue. The problem is training. If kids at Rec level where trained like club kids, the amount of kids that would remain in the system would increase - they'd have confidence and ability to play. when kids are competent in what they do, they have more fun. The more kids we have that are competent doing the basic things, the better the competition will be at rec level. Better competition means better development. With more competition at bottom level, these kids will flow into higher level programs - Signature/Plus. As our rec levels increase in quality, the levels above it will benefit. To use the other major sport references, kids should know how to field/catch a ball, properly throw a ball and properly swing a bat - then they can move into situational play. more kids knowing how to do these things make games better. One key component missing in these discussions are Clubs dont usually have rec programs - i can probably count the number that do, in So Cal, on one hand. So Clubs have no investment at that level and just want to pluck kids up to make $.
     
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  11. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    Agree, but there's a reason most clubs don't have a rec program: if you want professional coaches you'd have to pay them, which essentially means the same expense as club, only with fewer players (5-7 on a team) bearing the salary. Otherwise, you have to rely on volunteers, and we have AYSO for that. And the main problem being with AYSO volunteers is that the parents didn't play, and since your coach is picked at random, you never know what you are going to get unless you volunteer yourself. Their curriculum is actually pretty good and focuses on the basics, though it's come under criticism for using too many lines and too much skill-based education, instead of the let them play philosophy of US Soccer. RealSoCal, for example, has the WVSL affiliated with it, but that program is also volunteer based. Simi Premier has one too. I've reffed a few of the games at both...about the same quality of AYSO (biggest difference is a little more flexibility in forming teams, which means some of the teams are more lopsided, while AYSO leans more towards randomized equal teams though one gifted kid can easily throw off that balance). This all changes though as the kids to have come up in the late 90s and 00s begin to have kids of their own that are playing age, and will be very different once the current crop has kids. European rec soccer works in large part because it has parents that played.
     
  12. LASTMAN14

    LASTMAN14

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  13. smellycleats

    smellycleats Bronze

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    Might be true on the men’s side but not on the women’s side. Best American female athletes play soccer.
     
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  14. Soccer43

    Soccer43

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    interesting articles - I especially liked this quote from Brian Smith:

    "Replace national team players who are entitled and comfortable, with fighters who love the country and live and love what it means to win for the United States of America!


    I’ll take a kid with work ethic, vision, and a desire to scrap for his country over a gifted or talented athlete who isn’t sure where they come from or what they’re playing for."
     
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  15. Not_that_Serious

    Not_that_Serious Bronze

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    Aldo Clubs need field space and rent - money. LAGOC just started program lil ones to rec to midlevel to club. The correct path/gateway. You dont need pro coaching at lil ages - just a system parents/volunteers get versed in. USSF could do a mass push to get thousands and thousands to F/D levels but doesnt make them $. It would in long run but they want quick ROI. MX based teams in so cal tend to get good training, as well as bad habits, because coaches have played. The key is in other countries is the fact clubs are community based - via school or local academy. Imo system needs to be built out this way. Would help with club fees, get more kids inolved (many cities stip % scholarship players) and clubs would have to be more ethical in business practices. You can also get more people involved to get sponsored training. Yes you would still get people who might not have played, but dont need that at under 8-9 years of age - just passionate educated people with ONE method of training for that club. MLS/USSF has skated, for decades now, with putting cost on parents. Now they have money, time to tweak the system and require all clubs to build from rec up as well
     
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  16. GoldenFjord

    GoldenFjord Bronze

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    The kicker for the Raiders was an incredible soccer player. He switched in high school because no one cared about soccer. Probably didn't hurt that kicking is stupidly easy in comparison.
     
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