Westfield Soccer Association

Can we motivate our players to continue to play outside of the trainer led practice sessions?

Weekly email 3/22/2016


Last weekend I had the opportunity to coach 1 of our younger travel teams in a tournament in Newark. The boys I coached faced several very good sides who at this point and time are better than the team I train and coach. I was very proud of the boys as they continued to battle even when the opponents led by a few goals. They also continued to make an effort to play the game we envision our Westfield teams to play, even though the opponents put us under a lot of pressure. We did lose a couple of games, but we knew going in to the tournament that our team would be challenged. Overall I was very happy with what I saw and there were definitely positives that I’ll take away from the games we played.

What was the biggest difference between the team I coached and the teams we played? Overall the boys I coached were just as athletic, maybe even more athletic than some of the opponents we played. This didn’t matter much because the boys we were up against were technical a little better; were quicker on the ball (higher technical speed not pure speed); made decisions a little quicker and their overall awareness both in offense and defense was a little better.

Do these players practice more often than our Westfield players? I do not think so and I also think that our players do not need to practice in a structured trainer led environment every day of the week. Most of our WSA players attend 2-3 practice sessions a week and play 1 or 2 games every weekend. I also believe that those other kids do not have better trainers than the ones we have available for our players in Westfield. Better yet, some of the clubs we were up against rely heavily on parent coaches alone to run their club.

The boys we were up against all have a passion for the game. They play as often as they can. Whether this is in a structured environment under the supervision/guidance of a trainer or with their friends/peers on a field around the corner. They juggle the ball or pass a ball against the wall if no one else is around and they probably watch some soccer on tv as well. If we can help our players develop that passion for the game so they go out and continue to practice on their own in their own time we can make a lot of progress as a club. I believe that our players are very fortunate to work with the trainers that we have in our town. Hopefully we can get our players to realize that every 10-15 minutes with a ball outside of their regular practice sessions can help them improve their touch. Maybe watch a game from the EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga or even the MLS during the weekend? It can help players gain a better understanding of how the game of soccer is played at the highest level.

I attached a great article, it is only a few paragraphs long, on this matter which I came across earlier today. A good read for all of us.

90 Minutes Twice a Week Will NOT Get It Done

Everyone enjoy your Easter break!

Ruben Vloedgraven