Developing Soccer Awareness in Youth Soccer Players
There are few trainers who have stood the test of time and traveled the country developing players like Wayne Harrison. His inspiring training empowers and helps youth soccer players understand and appreciate what they can accomplish.
Wayne Harrison is known for his approach to player development with One Touch Mentality. Internationally recognized for his coaching leadership and experience, Harrison is the Technical Director at Chill Soccer Club, Michigan and has written and published 14 books plus 27 eBooks as well as several coaching videos. Visit SoccerAwareness for more information.
A former pro soccer player at Blackpool F.C. in the English Championship league as well as the Academy Director, Harrison was also the Youth Director Al Ain Football Club in the UAE.
Youth Soccer News: To develop youth soccer players in America, their minds must be turned on.
To be ‘aware’ is both simple and complex.
Having the knowledge and to be aware of choices and the importance of those decisions is critical to achieving success on and off the field.
The “Soccer Awareness” idea originated from what I felt were the most important things to teach players.
I looked beyond the technical process, as that is easy to implement and wanted to get INSIDE the head of the player.
Thus the “Thinking Process” of a player became my focus, developing ways to teach an awareness of space, time, and movement, but significantly BEFORE the player received the ball.
I drew from my own experience as a player knowing if I had more of this great ability I would have been a far better professional player than I was.
Now, as the game gets much faster, players MUST think, move, pass, position, and transition much more quickly and have the ultimate ability to make much faster and more accurate decisions than before.
Soccer Awareness training does this and more, and it also develops SELF THINKING players who are not coach driven; but coach guided, and within this, they are allowed to make mistakes without criticism; but rather; encouraged to learn from them.
Therefore Soccer Awareness training is a very positive experience for all players, they are empowered to self-determination on the field, they are encouraged to offer their own opinions even from 7 years old.
They are always only “guided”; not told; to decide for themselves, when, where; how and why they do things on the field, what I call the SKILL FACTOR of technical development.
This produces; in time, much more Soccer Intelligent; self-confident and successful players than all other coaching styles combined.
To be successful and produce the best players you can; the coach and player have to have a two-way relationship; that in time is led more by the player than the coach, which perhaps is a rather new concept to the game of today in the USA.
Tips for Youth Soccer Coaches and Youth Soccer Players:
- Keep Possession: If players chase for the ball a long time they get frustrated and commit fouls. So keep possession and force this upon them
- Develop Play From The Back: When it is on to do so to help maintain possession of the ball and not rely on a 2nd ball pick up
- Pass and move movement off the ball is a major part of our team development
- Form triangles and diamonds of support all over the field, creating open body stances and increasing peripheral awareness
- Inter-Change Positions: Offensively and defensively cover for each other
- Create space for your teammates; not just for yourself, Play for the TEAM
- Attacking Fullbacks: Using Width in Attack Offense is the best form of defense
- Keep a Very High Line Defensively: Squeeze opponents into their own half of the field
- Pressure Opponent’s High Up The Field: Winning the ball back 30 yards from the opponent’s goal is better than 80 yards away
- Counter Attacking and Quick Breakaway: Developing different ways to counter attack
- You need skillful players to make this all work We have the raw material so let’s develop today’s youth players to be the best they can become. That is one of the responsibilities of a coach!
This article was originally published earlier.