Posts Tagged ‘Fun’

The effect of mixed messages on player performance

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Early in an u11 boys soccer tournament championship game, with his team trailing 1-0, a fullback went to take a goal kick. Up to this point, the goalie had taken the goal kicks, but he could not kick over the first line of defense, and the parents on the sideline near the goal kicks were anxious. The players sensed the anxiety and yelled at the biggest player, the fullback, to take the kick. (more…)

Youth sports: What has changed and what needs to be fixed?

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Every day, I read another article that is critical of youth sports. Identifying the problems is easy, but few of these articles make real, practical suggestions for the solutions, and I am unsure whether the solutions that are offered would make a practical difference and alleviate the problems.  (more…)

The pool, post-game fun, and youth sports

Monday, July 20th, 2015


Playful practice with Jahlil Okafor

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015


The Players-First Approach to Coaching

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

The old-school coaching style that I describe in The 21st Century Basketball Practice is a coach-driven approach to coaching. When I played, every coach use that style to some degree. Rarely if ever did a coach ask for our opinion. The coach decided, and we followed directions.  (more…)

The effects of a coach’s reaction to mistakes

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Last weekend, I refereed five u14 girls soccer games. In the opening game on Saturday morning, the host’s u14s played another local team. The hosts won 2-1, and all of the goals were flukes: a striker tried to dribble around the goalie, kicked it too hard, and scored; a fullback tried to clear the ball and it deflected off a striker and bounced over the goalie’s head; and a fullback and goalie ran into each other, leaving the ball at the striker’s feet.  (more…)

Complexity and Small-Sided Games

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

At halftime of a recent college game, two youth teams played at halftime. The children were tiny, and the crowd loved it, and everyone went crazy when a player finally scored as they were leaving the court after 10 minutes. In 10 minutes of fullcourt 5v5 basketball, more children face-planted by tripping on their own feet than made a shot! (more…)

Fun, Play, and So Many Questions

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

USA Volleyball’s John Kessell and USOC’s Peter Vint circulated this video, with Vint tweeting “I love everything about this!” Am I the only one left with questions? (more…)

Confidence and Motivation

Monday, December 10th, 2012

One goal (duty) of a coach should be to increase the team’s motivation. In Sven-Goran Eriksson On Soccer, the authors suggest that motivation is a function of self-confidence – when a player loses confidence, his motivation wanes. (more…)

Offseason Training Improvement

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Due to my schedule and the team’s schedule, we did our pre-regular season testing this week. These tests measured improvement since our baseline testing, roughly five weeks ago. In addition to basketball workouts, the team has trained four times per week: two times per week in the weight room and two days of conditioning. No workout has taken more than one hour from start to finish. If we had more equipment, the workouts would be closer to 45 minutes, but we are limited by the number of plyo boxes, medicine balls, squat racks, etc. We have had only one workout that included more than a mile of running in total volume; almost every conditioning workout was between 1200m-1600m of sprints, with no effort longer than a 100m sprint. (more…)