You Need To Develop ‘Soccer Players’.
The problem comes when that same player is uncomfortable about playing “another” position. Too often you hear, “I can’t play there. I have never played there.”
Not the young players fault! Blame it on the previous coach! If that previous coach is you – if you have coached that player for several seasons – blame it on yourself!
The Under-11 and Under-12 Parks and Recreation championships are nice to win, but in the scope of your players’ development, those titles pale to your players learning to be a “soccer player” rather than just a left wing, or a center midfielder, or a sweeper, or a center forward. A “soccer player” would have some understanding of how to play all of those positions.
Far too many players have no idea how one position on the field relates to another. They just know what they should do in one position, get in a comfort zone and do their thing. Soccer is like an orchestra. If the trumpets play a piece of music as a march, the woodwinds play it like a waltz, the drummer plays it like a jazz piece it just doesn’t work that way.
Ever seen a team win the ball in its defensive third and start up field only to have all of the forwards run away from the ball looking for a long ball to be played 70 yards from the opposing goal? Looks like a track meet!
Those forwards, and probably the midfielders too, don’t understand what they need to do to maintain possession and string passes together in order to get the ball well into the opponent’s half of the field, and then attack!
Now I am not saying this is easy for a coach to accomplish. You don’t find out how to do this by reading “how to” books and/or watching videos. If you don’t understand how it all comes together, how can you teach your players?
The best way is to find a soccer mentor who understands how to teach a team and its individual players “how to play”, ask questions and remember the answers. Then go and teach your players!