Clones pass the ball pretty much all the time

“They [many coaches] may be coaching individuality out of our kids with their ‘pass the ball at all times’ philosophy.”

Gordon Strachan, Manager/Coach of Scotland National Team, leading an overhaul of youth player development in Scotland.

Lifelong player and student of the beautiful game in Germany, England, and USA. Volunteer futsal coach and USSF referee.

4 thoughts on “Clones pass the ball pretty much all the time

  1. Having watched my son and his team go through their first season of travel soccer, I couldn’t agree more. Almost all the teams we play are focused solely on what I call tactical soccer (i.e, formations, “shapes” as they call them) and seem to be developing interchangeable players without technical skills. I never played soccer, but it seems to me the technical development is table stakes to playing long term. And then if you are not encouraging the kids to use the skills, what’s the point? Who really cares what the scores are at the younger ends of the age spectrum? Success should be about the players getting better and better and that involves taking risks and using the skills the coaches should be teaching. My son’s lucky in that he has such a coach even if the scores aren’t going his team’s way just yet. They will.

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    • Yes, technical development and creativity are absolutely essential for quality soccer. This includes not just fancy moves, but more importantly the right touch/control of the ball. You can spot the advanced technical kids even when they don’t make fancy moves because they look like they are moving effortlessly and with complete, tight control of the ball. They have the skills/touch/control to move past opponents, open up space for shots on goal, and solve problems more creatively. And the best time to teach those aspects of player development are between ages ~5 and ~12, with ongoing encouragement thereafter. And youngsters enjoy the game more when they are encouraged to do more than just quick passing. Thank you for your comment!

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  2. Agree this is kind of what it looks like our academies and YNT’s are taught as well…and doesn’t seem to be corrected or fully understood to be a problem.
    I can see a player thinking: “Get rid of the ball to a teammate, now I’ve done my job…”…uggh…

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    • Yes, and if the pressure to pass quickly and take no risks is too high and the team’s culture (which is ultimately driven by the coach) is too negative then the ball becomes a ‘hot potato’…

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