Mid-Season Success Story - 2 Week Turnaround
Amazing Improvement in 2 Weeks
U10 Girls became Brave, Hustle, Listen, Teamwork and Better Play
Daughter Goes from Below Average to one of the Best, Toughest Players in the League
Soccer Drill Produces "Amazing Dribbling"
Coupon to Save on Motivational Patches

There are 3 articles that discuss this soccer coaching success story. In order, they are 20 Tips to Quickly Improve Your Soccer Team , Mid-Season Success Story - 2 Week Turnaround and How to Turn Around a Losing Soccer Team in 3 Weeks. SUMMARY of the STORY: Coach M is a U10 Girls Rec coach. He contacted me after his team lost their first game 0-3. He was worried because in 2 weeks they would play a team that had won 14-0. He started using the SoccerHelp Program (our soccer drills, tactics and motivational patches) and tied the second game 2-2 . They then lost 0-4 to the team that was killing everyone else and in their 4th game everything came together and they won 3-1. The 3-1 victory was 3 weeks (20 days) after he started using the SoccerHelp Program. There are many good tips in these articles from both me and Coach M. If you have a U9, U10, U11 or U12 Rec soccer team they are worth reading.


Note from David: The Sept. 3 Newsletter was a letter from a U10 Girls coach and my recommendations. I turned that into an article name 20 Tips to Quickly Improve Your Soccer Team in 2 Practices at http://www.soccerhelp.com/soccer-articles/120903-Improve-Soccer-Team-2-Practices.shtml. Below is a progress report. As you can see, Coach M's team has made remarkable progress in just a few weeks. His first correspondence was just 6 days prior to the Sept. 3 newsletter and just 11 days before the Saturday game he mentions. SO, he achieved these improvements in less than 2 weeks.

He played the best team on Sunday that had won the week before 14-0, and played them very close.

Notice the importance of a great Stopper: "Our Stopper played most of the game and the other team scored two goals in the few minutes that she was out."

There is a good chance that Coach M's team will win the tournament at the end of the season.

As I mention in my letter -- "A problem you will face next season is that your team will become dominant and it will be better for you if the other teams improve too, or your matches will become too easy - I have seen that happen many times. The best thing you can do for your team, your daughter and your league is to get your League to start using the SoccerHelp program. You can see how much faster your team is improving relative to the other teams."

Coach M has a Great Idea about motivating Team Spirit - "the girls on the sideline want to earn the Teamwork patch and are shouting words of encouragement to their teammates on the field" and "after each game the girls that don't get patches are hugging and congratulating the ones that do"

The Shoulder Tackle & Strength On The Ball Game has really helped his players become brave. In an earlier letter he said -- "The Shoulder Tackling game is working beyond belief. Some of my timid girls are now amongst the toughest on the team."

Coach M also worked on Passing to Space -- "We used the Premium Pass to Space Run with the Ball and Shoot game which has worked magically. The girls are really starting to pass ahead of each other. In fact my two best players, made a comment that they really need to pass it way ahead of our starting forward because she is so fast, but if the other forward is in, they told me they should not do the same because of the speed difference."

He says about his daughter and the Dribble Across A Square Game (Improved) -- My daughter also wanted me to personally thank you for making her a better player especially a much better dribbler and a brave soccer player. She takes the Dribble Across A Square Game very seriously and does it before practice sometimes with a couple of the other players and also wants to win it which she does most of the time. She is CMF converted to CF. In both of the games, she displayed amazing dribbling. My proud moment was after two of our midfielders collided and were down for a little bit (they were not injured and got back up), she took the ball and dribbled past and around four of the opposing players along with the player who had been assigned to guard her (box and one technique) and passed it to our CMF who scored. Last year she rarely could get around one player. She was below average last year and now is one of the best players in the league. The other coach told me she is the toughest player in the league.

Motivation, Confidence, Enthusiasm, Enjoyment, Fun and Success - Notice the importance of Motivation and Confidence and how they contribute to Enjoyment and Success. As Coach M's players "buy in" to his coaching, they gain confidence and play better and enjoy playing more. You can tell that both Coach M and his players are enthusiastic and having fun. How often do you hear of Rec players doing a drill before practice. He says that his daughter "does it (the Dribble Across A Square Game ) before practice sometimes with a couple of the other players."

He concludes by saying: "I have never been this excited to coach in my four years of coaching."

Coach M isn't exaggerating about the Dribble Across A Square Game (Improved) . If you haven't already seen it, watch the video of a 10 Year old Rec player who has played the Dribble Across a Square game for 3 seasons effortlessly dribble through 6 defenders. Notice her composure in traffic, instinctive reactions, ability to split defenders, how she instinctively shields the ball in traffic, and how she sees open space and accelerates into it. There is a link to the video on Dribble Across A Square Game (Improved) or click this link www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNGjCCH9HCo

In case you want to try our motivational patches, here is a coupon for 5% off

fiveoff5


Hi David,

Thank you for your email. We played our Saturday game against a really good team not the top team. We got down 2-0 and came back to tie 2-2. The positioning worked well. Once our center forward got the hang of not going back on defense and CMF to stay out of the penalty box, we started to take over the game. We spent 90% of the time in our half of the field in the second half. The other coach became so concerned over our center forward that he put one player to follow her around, she still got free and set up the two goals in the second half to the CMF and LMF.

Now, about our game against the top team -- The score does not indicate how well we did. We did lose 4-0, but this team has been running over teams by double digit scores. I think you are right that if we played them later on this season we could win. We had several chances to score and our CMF and CF played well together. They have two of the best players on defense and the other coach told me that he has never seen a team get through them so many times. We just could not convert our shots. I am very happy that we have found a girl that completely gets the CF and Stopper position and two that get the CMF. Our CF can play CMF too because she can get around and go through defenders. Our Stopper played most of the game and the other team scored two goals in the few minutes that she was out. Our defense played very well. We have two girls that can dominate the position that needed a little rest because it was hot. I have a third defender that comes in to give them a break. The other team scored three goals on our first goal keeper who was good the day before but not thinking too well during this game. I think she had her friends and cousins watching the game which proved to be a distraction. Two goals were scored because she caught the ball in the goal well behind the goal box, we tell her repeatedly to get off the line in practice and in warmups. The other goal was scored because she kicked a goal kick that she was not supposed to and the other team scooped it up and scored the open goal. We pulled her out of the game and the other goalie did better only allowing one goal and actually learning from the first goalie's mistakes. The other coach told me that he will probably see us in the finals of the playoffs because he believes that no other team plays with that much heart and effort which something his team could learn from. The other coach also said that he can see our team getting better and better each game and by the end of the season, our teams will probably be at the same level. He told me that if we had put in our second goalie for the whole game, the score would have been 1-0, 2-0 at the most. I am still a little disappointed that we did not come closer.

The soccer patches are proving to be a major hit. I can see all of the girls are going 100% for loose balls and are displaying amazing teamwork together. The bravery patch is the most sought after and after each game the girls that don't get patches are hugging and congratulating the ones that do, something I have not seen this year. Also, the girls on the sideline want to earn the Teamwork patch and are shouting words of encouragement to their teammates on the field. My daughter told me after yesterday's game that the girls are talking more on the field and she is amazed at how the bravery patch could go to most of the girl's on the field. They do not back down from the ball and go to it hard. The shoulder tackling game and 50 50 game have helped a lot.

My daughter also wanted me to personally thank you for making her a better player especially a much better dribbler and a brave soccer player. She takes the Dribble Across a Square game very seriously and does it before practice sometimes with a couple of the other players and also wants to win it which she does most of the time. She is CMF converted to CF. In both of the games, she displayed amazing dribbling. My proud moment was after two of our midfielders collided and were down for a little bit (they were not injured and got back up), she took the ball and dribbled past and around four of the opposing players along with the player who had been assigned to guard her (box and one technique) and passed it to our CMF who scored. Last year she rarely could get around one player. She was below average last year and now is one of the best players in the league. The other coach told me she is the toughest player in the league.

I see the tide turning here. Another week of practice and some refinement on our positions and we will start winning. One of the things that I want to improve on is that our defense lapses once in a while and kicks the ball to the center. What is a drill we can use to make sure they never ever do that. Our defense players are great but at least once a game each of them does this which costed us a goal in both games. Also, we seriously are considering using only one goalie. The other girls who are good at goalie are my daughter, our CMF, and our best defender, so I don't want to take them off the field.

Also, needing to teach the girls to get in front of the goal or in position to take a shot. Too often we have our players watching our CMF and CF only to realize they are behind them and nowhere near the goal. We also can improve on passing to open space which I will do more of the pass to space game and would you suggest the three man direct wing game?

We will continue doing the dribble across the square a lot, great for conditioning and ball control, dribble and pass relay, should tackle game, 50 50 game, and pass to space. We also need to do the position walk through today or Thursday when all of the girls are there. We had a back to school night last Thursday and only eight showed up, but this week we should have all girls on the practice field.

Thank you for all of your help David, I have never been this excited to coach in my four years of coaching.

Best,
Coach M


Hi Coach M,

Wow!!! I think your team did great - you have really turned the corner in less than 2 weeks. Congratulations!. I agree with the other coach and think you will play his team in the finals. By the way, I am impressed that the other coach was so complimentary - he sounds like a good sport and a good coach.

I think you are on track and are already a great coach and will get better. I'm sure all the parents are amazed at the turn around. When you think about what happened in your games, it makes perfect sense - there is a "growth" curve. Things clicked for your team in the second half of the Saturday game and you were still getting the pieces in place in the Sunday game. I think if you had played the Sunday game 2 weeks later you would have won it.

Your team is becoming all the things a coach wants - brave, hustling, listening to the coach, doing their best, and team players - no coach can ask for more than that.

I can tell you from personal experience that in 10 years you will look back fondly on this season and so will your players.

Your daughter is very courteous. Please tell your daughter that Coach David said "Thank you". Also, please tell her that if she will keep playing the Dribble Across A Square Game (Improved) and to try hard in the Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race game to practice Aggressive Receiving and One-Touch play, and she will continue to improve. The Win the 50/50 Ball or be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking and Defending game will also help her. To become one of the best and toughest players in the league is fantastic and something to be proud of.

I am sending your daughter a free Mia Hamm DVD that I believe she will enjoy. There are 3 parts to it, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. It is unique because Mia acts like a personal coach (she talks to the girls like they are there) and is very inspirational. See the review and Detailed List of Contents minute-by-minute at www.soccerhelp.com/shshop/product_reviews_info.php/products_id/264/reviews_id/30+Mia_Hamm_Soccer_Secrets_DVD Please tell her that I said she can get some good tips from it. I also suggest you let her watch parts of the April Heinrichs Training Girls and Women to Win 3-DVD Set. Specifically, the sections about Goal Setting on DVD 1, Mental Toughness on DVD 2 and Affirmations on DVD 3. A Detailed List of Contents minute-by-minute is at www.soccerhelp.com/shshop/product_reviews_info.php/products_id/249/reviews_id/22

To answer your question about mental lapses, I have 2 ideas:

  1. Teach During Games - Recruit a parent or ask your assistant coach to watch the defenders and "Coach" them during the games. That is HUGELY helpful because it is a real game situation, which you don't get in practice. It will take a few games to teach your players to NOT kick the ball across the goal front. I DID THIS: Tell them to kick it ANYWHERE BUT across the front of the goal - kick it out of bounds, across the end line, across the sideline, ANYWHERE BUT across the front of the goal
  2. Shifting & Sagging - A good way to keep your players mentally in the game is to tell them that every player (including the Goalie) should be watching the play and "Shifting and Sagging" with the ball (side-to-side and up and back).

Your daughter will probably be recruited by select teams soon and could make a select team now.

A problem you will face next season is that your team will become dominant and it will be better for you if the other teams improve too, or your matches will become too easy - I have seen that happen many times. The best thing you can do for your team, your daughter and your league is to get your League to start using the SoccerHelp program. You can see how much faster your team is improving relative to the other teams. Obviously, the other coach (who sounds like a very good coach) was impressed.

Now that the parents see the results, you can probably get them to pay for the patches or get a few of them to "sponsor" the patches - that is typical. Your players are getting training from you that is very valuable.

Please let me know how the rest of your season goes - the feedback is very helpful.

Best,

David at SoccerHelp


More Tips for Coach M:

Hi Coach M,

Below are 3 drills to try that were recommended by coaches --

"We added the Push & Blast Off practice game to warm-ups late in the season. This helped them to understand how to get around a defender and to be quick by pushing off hard." Coach Corey, U12G whose team won their tournament

"My players love the soccer patches and are always eager to earn a patch. I am seeing amazing results from the patches and Premium soccer drills. Dribble Across a Square, the Defensive Footwork drills and Chips/Lofted Passes drills have helped my players and I see it in games. My U8 team just beat the best team in the league which last season beat us easily." Kevin, MD, U8 and U10, Premium member


Hi David,

Great minds think alike, I taught Push & Blast Off to my daughter last week and she liked it so much we taught it to the team on Tuesday. I will definitely try the defensive footwork drill and chip and lofted pass drill. Very good idea for today's practice.

We are going to do the walk through at the end of the practice and it looks like the girls are getting the shifting and sagging and defensive positioning. Quick questions, my stopper is fast and it seems like she doesn't let many balls go by, should I push her up more and in doing so push the CMF and CF up too. My CF should stay closer to the midfield line than the penalty box. Also, because our strongest girls are in the middle, we have a tendency to attack up the middle and do not get down the wings that much. Should I encourage my Stopper, CMF go to the corner more if it is open?

Thanks so much!

Coach M


Hi Coach M,

You will win a lot of games as long as you don't give up easy goals on breakaways.

Normally, I would let my Stopper Push Up to the halfway line and shift with the ball from side-to-side to turn the ball back to your attackers.

I would only let her come into the attack more in 2 cases because the farther she is into the Attacking Half the harder it will be for her to recover:

  1. If you are behind late in the game
  2. If you are 2 or more goals ahead.

Your 2 main attackers are your CMF and CF. Your CF needs to stay Pushed Up ALL THE TIME. The question is "How Far?" When the ball is in your Penalty Box, the CF should stay a LONG KICK away from the ball and shift from side-to-side with the ball so she is in position to win cleared balls that are cleared STRAIGHT AHEAD - she will get breakaways opportunities that way and that will keep the opposing Fullbacks from Pushing Up into your half of the field.. When your team is attacking in your Attacking Half, your CF and CMF need to work together to SUPPORT each other and that means staying within a pass of each other.

It won't do you any good to attack to the corner unless you are able to do something with the ball FROM the corner, and it doesn't sound like you are ready for that. You are seeing rapid progress - I would just keep it up. Some things take time.

RECOMMENDATION: One important thing you can work on with your daughter is looking for rebounds and positioning for them. I recommend you have your CF, CMF, RMF and LMF come before or after practice for 30 minutes and work play the Teaching Forwards To Be Opportunistic In The Penalty Box game.

The other thing to KEEP DOING A LOT is to play the Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race game and use it to teach Aggressive Receiving and One-Touch Play. Those skills will help your players score more goals. Think about it - what you want your attackers to do is to read the "line" of the ball and move to it or adjust their position (that will help greatly with rebounding) AND one-touch play is CRITICAL inside the Penalty Box. If you can teach your attackers Aggressive Receiving and One-Touch Play you will start to score LOTS of goals.

Best,
David

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