Thursday, August 1, 2013

U8 Grassroots Soccer - Wizard Academy - Week 5

We had our fifth session of our U8 Wizard Academy program. I am feeling guilty after these sessions because I wonder if the boys are having as much fun as I am.

After reffing 4 mini games last weekend, I wasn't happy with how kids just let balls roll out of play or how coaches and parents say "let it go..." . Players were also taking their sweet time getting the ball back in play.  I shouldn't say "wasn't happy" because the whole experience was very nice.  I should reclassify this as an old pet peeve that resurfaced :)

Our goals for tonight:
1.  Individual ball work
2.  Put it in their heads to work hard to keep ball in play.
3.  Test their gamesmanship and see if they can be clever during small sided games.

The small-sided-games satisfied goals 2 and 3 in one stroke.

Tonight we had Coach Marco again, along with Coach Joe.  Coach Joe made his first appearance tonight. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

My close encounter with a mini soccer festival at Club Roma

I asked my friend Joe Talarico to assign me four mini-games at the "Ti Amo Festival Cup" in St Catharines, hosted by St Catharines Roma Soccer Club.  Reffing is a mild sideline of mine and I don't want to let that interest slip away.

As a coach and coach educator, I wanted to spend some time in a festival environment and experience some of the sights and sounds for myself.  I've watched festival games as an uncle or friend, but never officially participated in one involving "travel" teams in an environment that was previously "competitive".

Under LTPD, younger tournaments are now held as festivals, with no standings or playoffs.  The USA was

Friday, July 26, 2013

U8 Grassroots soccer - Wizard Academy Week 4

The challenge is simple.  Keep the kids interested and busy for 90 minutes. Period.  Ya, simple.

People work hard to build titles, collect licenses and build a collection of shirts and jackets with the logos of higher level programs.  I am one of those people with a lot of clothing of that nature.  I enjoy the programs I work with and I am fortunate to have met the people I get to work with.  We also hope the higher programs are a destination for younger players to aspire to play in one day.

But that's not where the important work has to be done at this point in time.  We are being called to bring

Friday, July 19, 2013

Special Education, grassroots coaching and the youth soccer player.

special education
Soccer is for everybody.

This post was inspired by my conversation with Joe Talarico before we both officiated the same game.  Joe works in the "Brain Injury" business and we got to talking about how people discover, much later in life, that they had treatable and addressable issues in their learning and living, with respect to what happens between your ears.

Before I start, please know this is not a lecture or preaching.  This is me sharing with you what I learned

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Delivering a U4 Active Start soccer session - anybody can do it.

This just might be my most important and influential soccer work at the moment.  Spreading the good word about Active Start makes people more comfortable with their entry into the soccer world and eases their initiation into the coaching world.

When the CSA developed the Active Start session guidelines, I thought it was brilliant.

The format is quite simple.  Every child has a parent as a partner.  There is one ball per child.  You lead them through exercises and movements for roughly 45 minutes.  Lots of high fives and cheering.  Lots of drink breaks, smiles, laughing etc and you go home happy.

Some coaches aren't buying the format.  Some say it's not soccer.  HEY.  It's U4, it was NEVER soccer.  EVER.

I watch some groups try and play 4v4.  10 kids per team.  One kid has the ball.  7 are watching.  9 are sitting on