Category Archives: notes

Thoughts on Positions

My general philosophy on positions is that I try to find a position for a  player where they can feel successful and make a significant contribution to the team. Each position requires particular physical, technical, tactical, and mental attributes from a player. Fundamentally, my view on positions are that the positions end up picking the best players to play them.

 I tend to take a flexible approach to positions where the focus is on attacking and defensive roles more than “positions” played in a particular area on the field. When our team has the ball, every player on the field should think of themselves as an attacker and what they can do to support and continue the attack. Conversely, when the other team has the ball, every player should be a defender with an area of the field that they are responsible for protecting in partnership with their supporting players.

Gone are the days where any given position stands around protecting their empty plot of land and waits for the ball to come to them before they do something. Every player on the field should be actively participating in the attack or in the defense…every minute of the game. Especially as the level of competition gets higher, it takes a team to score or stop a goal and not just a single outstanding player.

There’s an old adage that says that goals win games and defense wins championships. As a bit of an aside (being the soccer geek that I am) there’s a bunch of statistics out there that speak to a defensive a player’s contribution to winning or tying a game by preventing a goal as being “worth” more than actually scoring a goal. As such, defensive players hold a special place in my heart and tactical approach to the game. I’m a big believer in building a strong defensive base and then building an attacking oriented team from that foundation.

I tell the players that they play the position the team needs them to play. With all the emphasis put on scoring goals, it will take a player a little while and a lot of reinforcement from me as coach and the parents as cheerleaders for them to see the positive impact they can have from any position on the field. So stolen passes, won duels, blocked shots, forward-diagonal passes behind the defense, assists, hunting rebounds, and beautiful runs off the ball (even if they don’t get the ball) all have to be valued and celebrated at least as much as goals if not more since these are the behaviors exhibited by the best soccer players and teams.

general practice info

who

  • All the girls. Players that don’t practice don’t get the playing time.

when

  • 3 times a week for 1:30 hours
  • Check the homepage for the most current times and status based on weather conditions. If it says Play On…we’re practicing!
  • Practice Schedule:
    • Check out TeamSnap for the latest schedule

where

  • Check TeamSnap for the latest schedule and practice locations

what

  • Girls show up 10 minutes before warmups and be 100% ready for the start of practice
  • Technical warm-up
  • Focused skill training and games
  • Small group training and games
  • Scrimmage

why

  • To be a better soccer player and teammate
  • “On the fields of friendly strive are sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields, will bear the fruits of victory.” Gen Douglas MacArthur

dressing for the cold

In Colorado, the Fall is typically a pretty nice time to play soccer. The Spring tends to be very cold and even miserable at some points. I generally won’t cancel practice for weather unless it’s extremely cold, there’s more than a little snow on the ground, or it’ll just otherwise be unproductive. Below are some lessons learned from coaching teams in Colorado over the years. I’ll say it a few times below…but gloves are key!

chance favors the prepared…

Late Fall and Spring in Colorado are challenging seasons for soccer. While the Fall weather is unpredictable, I think Spring is the coldest season. Here are some suggestions I have for dressing for practice and games:

Generally speaking, you should be warm before a game or practice, dressed in a couple of removable layers. As we transition into the warmup phase of a game or practice, it’s ok to feel a little on the cold side. This will quickly change as we go through our warmups and start running in the game. If you’re cold in a game, you’re not working hard enough.

1) Base Layer (in black, white, or red) – This won’t be able to be removed. Something like a long sleeve under armor (or other brand) that sits close to the skin and wicks away moisture. Cotton is the worst possible base layer since it traps moisture and keeps it against the skin.

2) Soccer Jersey

3) Sliders under the Uniform Shorts (these work as a base layer and take some sting out of the ball hitting the upper leg). If it’s extremely cold (they’ll cancel the game) but cold, cold, you can wear black tights underneath your uniform. The have to be black or match the uniform according to the laws of the game. You can’t wear warmup pants over your uniform according to the rules (doesn’t mean you won’t see anyone doing it, but that depends on the ref. Do it the right way and you’ll stay warm irrespective of the ref).

4) Socks and shin guards – If you want to wear a set of thin sock liners (much like base layers for feet) under your socks that might help keep your feet warm and dry on cold days. You can also pull your socks up over your knees for a little extra protection. Unhappy feet make for unhappy and ineffective soccer players.

5) Cleats for the game, warm boots/shoes to change into before and after the game or practice. You need to make sure your cleats still fit comfortably with everything on.

6) Gloves (the single most import piece of cold weather gear) – They should be black. They’re going to get dirty. They should be kept in your soccer bag AT ALL TIMES. I use thin running gloves you can pick up at any sporting good store. Wool and fleece gloves work great as well. I can’t reiterate enough how much of a difference gloves make to keeping warm out on the field. If I had a choice between a jacket and gloves, I’d pick a good set of gloves. Playing with cold hands is so uncomfortable I actually keep a pair in my car and two or three sets of different weights in my bag. It’s a big deal.

7) Warm-ups (jacket and pants if you’ve bought them) A fleece or hoodie works well too, but it would be nice to look like a team (this actually applies to the competitive team and isn’t such a big deal for intermediate). The idea is to have a removable layer that keeps you warm before, after, and when you’re waiting to be subbed. I would keep this in my soccer bag at all times as well.

8) Shell layer – typically a waterproof, windproof out layer. We’ll play in the rain, we’ll play in sleet, we’ll play in snow as long as the lines on the field can be seen. This helps before, after, and on the sidelines waiting to go into the game.

9) A warm hat. I like fleece or wool. Can’t wear it on the field, pre/post game, and on the sidelines it makes a huge difference.  I keep this in my bag as well. During practices you can get away with wearing it. Usually during practices I’ll just wear shorts, jersey, hat, and gloves and I stay pretty comfortable. Another option is a fleece headband that covers the ears. This the girls typically can wear on the field.

Let me say again, that the most important piece of cold weather gear are the gloves. Get a good, un-bulky pair made for sports and the girls will be sooo much more comfortable on cold days. They should keep the gloves with them at all times.

For those new to the area, the Fall Season is the nice season. Generally the weather is pretty good, but like this weekend, we can have a cold snap. The Spring Season (which kicks of in Feb sometime) is the really miserably cold season. Being prepared now will help us deal with any surprises and help us be prepared for the Spring.

In Europe they play all the way through the winter. Watch games and you’ll see players in shorts, jerseys and with gloves.