Nice goal @Futsal Euros

Futsal Euro Championship now underway until Feb 13. Watch live at www.uefa.tv.

THIS is world-class young talent. Pirlo surely would agree. How do we get to this in our country?

Your son or daughter is playing futsal this winter, right? It’s super fun!

Does player size matter? The FC Barcelona youth coaches’ perspective.

I spoke to two FC Barcelona youth coaches in Spain earlier today and asked them whether they take size into account when assessing youngsters. Their response: “Never”. We all know that size and athleticism matters if you want to win youth games. We’ve all seen those stronger, faster youngsters dominate games. Teams win this way. But size and athleticism are a weak predictor of longer term success in soccer and has little to do with true longer-term player development. It misses the essence of the game.

Failing for the Future

This post goes to the core of coaching quality and player development, and the problems that come from focusing on ‘winning’ instead of ‘competing’. I have posted about this topic many times before including here, here, and here. Failing for the Future is a term coined by Todd Beane, former professional player, coach, teacher, father, and blogger. He is the son-in-law of Johan Cruyff, one of the legends of the game. Here is his post in its entirety: My son failed this weekend and I was so proud of him for doing so. Unfortunately, while I was in awe of his courage his coach was screaming at him. Let me explain how the very same event can be a point of pride for his father and a point of disgust for his trainer. My boy sprinted down the right flank toward the goal as Jan, the left winger, centered a low driven ball toward the top of the box. Jordan beat

read more Failing for the Future

Mastery comes from trying. Let the kids try and fail, coaches and parents! Encourage it, celebrate it.

Another unbelievable youngster. Amazing artistry – the essence of soccer. There is no better foundation than skills.

Superstars that became great with the help of futsal. Your kid is playing futsal this winter, right?

Unbelievably skillful and creative youngster – enjoy!

Futsal season kicks off in a few weeks. You MUST join! It’s super fun and great for skills!

Really great clip – sit back and enjoy the magic. The lifeblood of soccer! (click on the HD icon on the bottom right for best quality)

100 ways to flick up the ball – share with your kids!

Unbelievable 8 year olds. We need to encourage skills and dribbling more and for longer here in the U.S.!

Quick passing isn’t enough

Some of my recent posts describe my concerns about too much focus on ‘quick passing & moving’ at too young an age. Coaches are trying to copy the Barcelona style of possession play and many parents are happy to see lots of passes being strung together and tend not to like the player who doesn’t pass quickly. But I’m concerned that this leads to one-dimensional soccer and doesn’t give the players what they need to creatively solve problems during games against strong, tactically smart opposition. I am concerned that we are not emphasizing enough a critical part of youth player development: creativity, technical skills, and risk taking, that, when later combined with smart passing and fast movement, leads to top-level, entertaining soccer. So take a look at this clip from Barcelona’s youth academy. These are ten or eleven year old boys. Watch carefully the many skills and soccer IQ used just in these ten seconds. Their toolkit is large already!

Creative, instinctive, entertaining