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The Silicon Valley Eagles Soccer Academy blog is a great source of soccer coaching tips, parents and players improvement tips and advises, and updates on the soccer world news.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_never-make-it.jpgThis topic will UPSET many people & clubs so get ready!

Here is the Scenario: No matter how hard you try and how long you train, you still struggle to make the “TOP TEAM” in your club. You are not the most athletic player at your club, but you work hard but never seem to make it to that next teir.

If this is your case, you are just one of thousands of frustrated parents,  field players and goalkeepers who’ve tried for years to make the “top” team and still can’t make it!! WHY?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_young-soccer-training1.jpgJozy Altidore is one of the bright young stars playing soccer for the U.S. Soccer team. He currently plays for Sunderland in the English Premier League and recently teamed up with Go Pro Workouts to share his off-season training program with young aspiring athletes. Two exercises that Jozy performs regularly improving his quickness and core strength are the side planks with rotation and barbell front squats. Start incorporating these exercises into your athlete’s training routine and help them become faster and more complete players.

Exercise: Side Plank with Rotation

Exercise Description: Hold yourself up on a forearm with your legs straight and extended to your rear. Raise the opposite arm straight into the air toward the ceiling. Next, rotate that straight arm to the ground and underneath your body. Pause briefly and then return it back into the air. Repeat motion and then switch sides. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Coach-and-Players-768x509.jpgOne day at my hitting school, during a class with nine-year-old boys, we were working on the technique of hitting the ball using a pitching machine. One boy, Jake, was struggling with this new skill. His dad finally decided to point out to me all the different things that he was doing wrong with his mechanics.

I replied with, “He’s doing alright. New things can take some time.” Jake’s father said, “No―he just won’t do what he’s told!”

I was a bit shocked by Jake’s father’s lack of patience and need for instant results. I felt like saying, “Why don’t you jump in there and let me speed the machine up to about 80 m.p.h. and I’ll tell you to ‘just hit it’ and see how you do.”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_223870_458686824151654_1876606557_n-300x158.jpgSo…let me start by saying that I have spent way too many hours thinking about this issue. While development is the goal, particularly in the small-sided years (anything below 11v11), does there exist a formation for 8v8 that complements development? Or, I should say, that complements development and my coaching philosophy? My coaching philosophy is player development with the style of play being possession based soccer, emphasizing creativity and mastery of the ball, short passes with the ball primarily on the ground. I encourage dribbling around defenders in 1v1 situations, while at the same time recognize the value of the give and go and other 2v1 sequences. I want the boys and girls I coach to be cerebral players and always “think about the next play.” “Show for the ball” when your partner is in trouble, move to space when he is not. I believe strongly that all players need to learn all the positions and be able to interchange (that is Code for “yes, little Johnny may have scored 100 goals as a 7 year old but he needs to learn to defend too”). That is my philosophy in a nutshell.

I have coached 8v8 since 2006. I cannot count the number of games I have coached. I have coached players at all levels of skill, both technical and tactical, from basic recreations to high level competitive kids. I have labored through the years to come up with an approach from a formation to assist the kids in their understanding of the game and their responsibilities. I do not believe in teaching kids positions in this stage other than basic soccer concepts and theories of defense (compress the field, delay, cover) and attack (enlarge the field, penetrate, support). So, what are some formations I have used?

1. 2-3-2

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Speed-Soccer-Kick-740x410.jpgWe all know — games are more fun. More fun for the kids. More fun for the parents. In a typical training session, the most common question asked by the players is “when are we going to scrimmage?” As trainers, we have been taught to let the “game be the teacher” but, why is training more advantageous to developing players than games? The answer is MATH.

In a typical training session, each player has a ball. It may be that the ball per player ratio is 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, or 4:1 (depending on age and activity), but in almost all cases is the ratio better than 22:1 (or 16:1 for 8v8), which is what you get in a game. In other words, as a parent, ask “how often is my child touching the ball in training versus a game?” That, among other benefits, is the advantage that training has over game play.

Tom Turner, a prolific writer and proponent of player development, breaks down the touches on a ball thus:

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