International Soccer Training Approach
The Finger Lakes International Soccer Club (FLISC) is for players as young as 5 years old that are ready for a more technical training regimen, and whose parents want such a program for their child. Our training begins with the truly fundamental, essential skills learned by the very young players in Europe, Africa, and South America before they ever present to a formal coach or team. If the child has average or better physical, mental, and emotional development, they will excel with this more technical beginning throughout their playing career.
My interest and research has been in the International game of soccer, something we as a nation are still struggling to understand and play since WWII. In my 40+ years of playing, coaching, refereeing, administrating, physical training and rehabilitating youth, adult, high school, college and professional soccer players, both here and abroad, it became very clear that bad habits picked up in the early years cannot be unlearned later.
Safety must be the first priority of this and any sport.To insure this not only now but throughout their playing careers, these players will be shown how to handle the necessary contact involved in soccer so they don’t hurt themselves or their opponents. We will also discuss prevention and treatment strategies for the most common injuries that do occur. I have never had a player seriously or chronically injured in all my years of coaching, by design.
Priority is important. There are certain essential skills basic to International soccer that very young players must learn in certain sequence from their earliest exposure to the sport. Only in this way can they build their understanding of The Game, and develop the natural/instinctive performance of the skills necessary to solve any situation or problem they face on the field of play, now and into their future.
“Technical training” doesn’t mean the children won’t have “fun”,but it will primarily be the kind of fun that comes from learning and effectively applying new skills, as opposed to playing silly games or simply chasing the ball in a bunch with little if any rhyme, reason or improved understanding. Drills should be designed so the player recognizes the learning in actual game situations. ”Swarm ball” is not only inefficient learning in terms of time and energy; it destroys technique, forcing players to "kick and run" instead of using and improving skills. This guarantees that bad habits will be uncorrected and thus reinforced.
The players will be exposed to calisthenics and physical training,and will be expected to pay attention and behave as much as possible, given the natural limitations of their respective ages. Five-year olds, for example, are very quick learners, but do have more limited attention and retention. As a result, technical concepts must be broken down into smaller bites, and repeated frequently at first, to ensure learning.
While positive reinforcement will be the main approach to drills, practice and play, negative reinforcement has a place as well. For example, losing the ball when a player makes a mistake (e.g., an improper throw-in, fouling an opponent, being beaten in a drill or game by their opponent, etc.) is necessarily unpleasant, but it is not a psychological trauma for the average child. We use “public praise, private criticism” and the PNP (positive-negative-positive) approaches whenever possible with any player we coach.
Winning and losing are both important experiences in a child’s early development. As a general rule, we learn what doesn’t work when we lose; we learn what does work when we win. Luck sometimes plays a part, but over time, luck evens out, and we are left with the lessons learned.
We certainly learn by losing, either in an individual battle for the ball, or as a group in a game, and everyone loses at various points in their lives. Learning to lose with dignity, to know you have given your best and be proud of the effort, is important. Winning, on the other hand, is the best objective data we have to measure our status and progress relative to our peers, both as individuals and as a group or team.
To generate Healthy Competition, we recommend ending a team’s games with the same questions: 1) What did we do well? and 2) What could we have done better? Win or lose, both questions apply. No team or player is ever perfect, and no team or player is ever completely bad. These questions provide balance by encouraging after a loss, and controlling the enthusiasm after a win.
We encourage parents to attend practices whenever possible, and to physically participate in the training with their children. This is not required, but has proved very helpful for several reasons:
We look forward to meeting, sharing and learning with you and your children.
Yours most sincerely,
Dr. A. W. (Fred) Lucas, Jr.
President, Finger Lakes International Soccer Club
Announcements: Registration for Summer Clinic for Victor/Farmington 5-11 year olds now open. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Aug 3, 2017. (see above links for details and instructions).
Finger Lakes International Soccer Club
Where Greatness Begins