Saturday, May 25, 2013

Yes -- "Help Us Kick Violence Out of Soccer!"

Referees are essential for soccer. Here is a must read article for all soccer players, parents, volunteers, professionals, and spectators:


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Accreditation Matters

Did you know that AYSO is the only national youth soccer organization whose soccer coach curriculum is accredited? AYSO delivers world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives. Go AYSO!

For more on why accreditation is important in general, read the San Jose Mercury News July 17, 2011 article about unaccredited colleges.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Parents & Kids Emulate Coaches

Coaches are role models. Your parents and your players follow your example. If you practice good sportsmanship, so will they.

But if you complain about referees, yell onto the field, etc, so will your team.

So please be mindful that you, the coach, are the most important AYSO leader in the eyes of your team. AYSO provides free training so that you all can be the best coaches that you can be. Make us proud by modeling the excellent AYSO behavior we want your players and parents to follow.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

How to Encourage Young Goalkeepers

I'm currently an AYSO coach administrator for Region 64 and Area 2J and an Advanced Coach Instructor.

One of my coaches recently asked me: "Shortly after we assigned one kid to be the goalie in second quarter, the other party scored. the goalie collapsed, threw gloves and jersey on the ground and cried. We would like to avoid the situations that disrupt the game and cause a kid to break down, on the other hand, we also want to educate kids to handle adversity and defeats well, help them overcome their own weakness and build confidence."

Great question! This situation is one of the reasons that AYSO does not use goalkeepers until U10, and even then it can be hard for kids.

Here are some things a coach can to do:
  1. Tell the whole team that everyone should be a goalkeeper at least once during the season. To be a great soccer player you need experience in all positions.
  2. Publicly reward and acknowledge goalkeepers -- they are very special players.
  3. Let your players know that great goalkeepers are the best all around athletes on the field as they have to use every part of their body and be fast and agile.
  4. For a goal to be scored, it must have gotten by all the rest of the team before it got to the goalkeeper -- the whole team is responsible, not just the keeper.
  5. The entire team should thank the goalkeepers at the game.
  6. "Keepers first!" in the end of game handshake line.
  7. Have a real cool looking goalkeeper shirt and/or gloves.
  8. Remind your players that this is a game in which we are all learning how to win and lose gracefully -- this is good sportsmanship.
  9. Use positive coaching sandwiches: recognize what they did right, show them what will work better next time, then re-emphasize what they are doing right.
  10. If everyone has otherwise gotten equal playing time, favor keepers first if any have an opportunity to play longer than the others (first picks in playing 3 quarters after everyone has played 2, or 4 quarters after everyone has played 3)

Here is some additional advice from AYSO's John Ouellette. John is AYSO's top coach, wrote AYSO's soccer coaching curriculum, and got it accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education.

February 9, 2010

Question: "Now that we're playing with goalkeepers, I'm having a hard time convincing my players to take their turn in goal. What can I do?"

Answer:Young players might not want to take their turn in goal because they're intimidated about getting shot at, because they get bored during the lulls, or for the fear of public failure when the ball hits the net - or they are just plain afraid to play in goal.

Rotating goalkeepers frequently - a different keeper each quarter is optimal - is good for the players and makes it easier to convince them to take a turn, because they'll still be getting a good share of field play.

Stress to the keepers that it doesn't matter if they get scored on. Look them in the eyes with a smile and tell them, "Do your best, but no worries about getting scored on!"

During your practices, you can spend a little time letting players throw and catch. You can even play some team handball in spurts, which also works on teamwork and positioning for passes. These are fun activities and build their confidence to catch.

You might let them practice punting the ball in training. Kids seem to like punting and will look forward to doing it in a game. Punting also helps develop striking skills.

It's also good to let your goalkeepers take all the goal kicks. That's another thing kids like to do and could help encourage them to take their turn between the posts.

However, if a child is just plain afraid to play in the goal, don't force them to do it.

Finally, always greet your keepers quickly with a smile and high-five when they've finished their stint in goal.


Some comments about John's recommendations:
  • While John likes to rotate keepers every quarter, I find this logistically difficult and prefer to have each play a half unless a keeper is having a major issue.
  • At young ages, it is best to have 1 or 2 players cover the goal whenever a goal kick is taken because the ball can come back at the goal very quickly. The keeper should choose who takes the kick and direct the defense accordingly.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Positive Coaching -- it can even save your marriage!

Research and experience show that Positive Coaching works wonders -- for both your kids and your significant other. Being an AYSO coach and practicing positive coaching is good for much more than just your soccer team :-) AYSO is one of the easiest and best places for you to learn and practice this important life skill.

From "Master This Habit to Keep Your Relationships Healthy":

It turns out, however, that celebrating good news with each other may mean even more. Researchers who studied couples’ interactions say that the happiest pairs are those who respond positively to their partners' successes. “This was the strongest predictor of current and future relationship satisfaction,” says Shelly Gable, PhD, psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who led the study.

For the full article please see:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Joe Cannon -- Having Fun Again

A great article about Earthquakes goalie Joe Cannon appeared on the front page of the sports section of today’s (5/29/2010) San Jose Mercury News. It turns out Joe was suffering from poor performance the past few seasons because he was focused too much on trying to improve his reflexes, positioning, and the like. What made the difference for him this season was an attitude change. Joe said “I was just too much of a perfectionist. It was an eye-opening experience to realize that no mater what happens, you just have to enjoy it.” Joe is now on a roll with 4 consecutive shut outs.

This is an important lesson for all soccer players and especially coaches and parents – to get players to perform at their maximum – you have to keep the game fun!!!

AYSO and the Positive Coaching Alliance both recognize that fun is a critical element for players to give it their all and to learn the most. If the game is fun players are more willing to stretch and take risks. The more they stretch themselves, the more they are learning.

When parents and coaches take this approach to heart -- helping their players have fun while playing, they are guaranteed to see larger improvements in their players. And the parents and coaches themselves will have a lot more fun too!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If You're a Coach, Get Serious, Get Trained!!!

Coaching is rare chance to spend quality time with your kids and be a role model that your kids will remember forever. Time is precious. Our kids are precious. Seize the opportunity to become a coach and make the most of it by getting proper training!

AYSO offers the most thorough and well respected volunteer coach training program of any national youth soccer program in the US. Currently AYSO is the only national youth soccer program to get its coaching program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE). Most of the other accredited programs are all college level ones. Speaking of which, most people make sure they go to accredited colleges and universities because that accreditation shows that the college or university is actually a quality institution -- a respected authority has checked them over to verify that they actually know their stuff and deliver on it. So why settle for less when you can get the best with AYSO?

AYSO's coaching program is carefully designed to enable volunteer coaches to train their players effectively using age appropriate techniques and age appropriate objectives. AYSO's slim coaching manuals pack a lot into a very concise package. Between the manual, the in person training, the online training, and the regional, area, and national coach support staff, AYSO coaches have a wealth of resources to help them.

Additionally, AYSO's Safe Haven program is role model that is being copied by all ranges of volunteer programs that involve kids -- from sports programs to church programs -- because keeping both adult volunteers and kids safe is a top priority. Luckily an hour or two of Safe Haven training is all that it takes for coaches to be adequately educated in a practical set of operating procedures to ensure safety for all.