Friday, October 23, 2015

Players First! Part II - Coaching Development

Over the past two years, Prince William Soccer has adopted a philosophy of:
  • Players First! 
  • Club 
  • Team 
Our aim is to approach all decisions to be in the best interest of the individual players within the framework of team competition. We have introduced this approach in presentations and town hall meetings as a new way of tackling the player development equation.

In August 2015, US Club Soccer introduced its Players First philosophy "to help make the youth soccer culture more nurturing and holistic in the way it measures and values each player's experience."

The philosophy is based on five pillars:
  • Player Health & Safety
  • Coaching Development
  • Club Development
  • Player Development
  • Parent Engagement & Education
This five-part series will detail the programming and initiatives adopted by Prince William Soccer in each of the pillars.


Sport Session Planner
Prince William Soccer has made Sport Session Planner available to all of our select coaches to prepare, plan and share lesson plans and activities.

Every session by full-time technical staff is available in the PWSI library for all coaches to view and use. Coaches can also add each of their sessions to the library. As a result it has grown to nearly 300 sessions and activities since August and grows every day.

Attacking Principles Session

2+2v2 Possession

PWSI coaches also have access to the international session library which currently contains more than 16,500 sessions and the US Club Soccer id2 and PDP libraries to view what sessions are being used at the id2 events.

Video Analysis
PWSI has invested in a video system that allows for filming of games and training from 21 feet above the field. Each week the technical staff determines the setup for the camera system with the goal of providing access to as many teams as possible.

Game video is also being used to help coaches review matches and determine if training is having the desired outcome. Below is an example of the video we used for the 97 girls.

Girls 97 Video Session

Courage University - 2014 & 2015 Pre-Season Seminar
August 2015 was the second annual 'Courage University' pre-season coaching seminar. This event is aimed primarily at coaching education & development, but also at establishing our expectations and standards.

Former Washington Spirit (current Portland Thorns) head coach, Mark Parsons highlighted the event with a classroom and field session on Building a Team Identity.

View the 2015 Courage University itinerary

Courage University will expand to include formal coaching evaluations and feedback, including video analysis and self-evaluation. Developing our coaches is a priority in the ultimate goal of developing and preparing our players.

Raising Standards
As coaches we expect our players to maintain the highest standards of effort and respect. It starts with the coach. Maintaining the appropriate appearance is possible with our strong relationship with Nike.

Cell phones are not permitted during training. All sessions are expected to be planned and written and made available to the technical staff upon request. The implementation of our curriculum provides coaches with a direction while not limiting their individual creativity or the ability to address immediate needs and concerns.

PWSI 2015 Fall Curriculum

NSCAA Club Membership 
Prince William Soccer is a proud member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The NSCAA is the largest coaches association in the world. Membership provides many benefits including NSCAA branded training sessions, coaching education opportunities, individual coach memberships, as well as free and discounted registration to the annual convention.

In addition to sending full-time staff to the 2016 annual convention in Baltimore, boys director of coaching, Quan Phan will attend the Director of Coaching Diploma in December.

Coaching Education
Prince William believes coaching education is a critical component to player development. In the past two years, PWSI has hosted two USSF "E" Licensed courses and supported several recreational coaches attending various E and D licenses.

The following selected coaches have earned a National License in the past two years:
  • Mike Cullina - US Club Soccer / NSCAA "Director of Coaching" Diploma
  • Nate Gavin - USSF "D" License
  • Jeff Jones - USSF "C" License candidate
  • Miguel Meza - USSF "D" License 
  • Sol Mourtaza - USSF "D" License candidate
  • Quan Phan - USSF "A" License
  • Dario Pot - USSF "A" License
  • Adam Soos - USSF "B" License
  • Joe Soos - USSF "B" License
  • Lloyd Yaxley - USSF "B" & NSCAA "Advanced National Goalkeeping" Diploma

Part III - CLUB DEVELOPMENT - Coming Soon!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Players First! Part I - Player Health & Safety

Over the past two years, Prince William Soccer has adopted a philosophy of:
  • Players First! 
  • Club 
  • Team 
Our aim is to approach all decisions to be in the best interest of the individual players within the framework of team competition. We have introduced this approach in presentations and town hall meetings as a new way of tackling the player development equation.

In August 2015, US Club Soccer introduced its Players First philosophy "to help make the youth soccer culture more nurturing and holistic in the way it measures and values each player's experience."

The philosophy is based on five pillars:
  • Player Health & Safety
  • Coaching Development
  • Club Development
  • Player Development
  • Parent Engagement & Education
This five-part series will detail the programming and initiatives adopted by Prince William Soccer in each of the pillars.


Concussion Protocol
Beginning August 1, 2014, PWSI adopted concussion protocols that includes mandatory annual concussion certification for all select coaches as well as return to play standards. Concussion certification will become mandatory for all PWSI coaches, including recreational and classic coaches beginning January 1, 2016.

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy has mandated concussion baseline testing for all Academy players and we are working with local organizations to hopefully expand this baseline testing to all select players.

Sentara NVMC & Nova Orthopedic and Spine Care
PWSI's partnership with Sentara provides Certified Athletic Trainers for all home U.S. Soccer Development Academy and VPL/Virginia NPL. 

Additionally, Sentara ATC's are also on site for PWSI tournaments - DMV Premier Cup, Holiday Shootout and Icebreaker.

Our partnership with Nova Spine and Orthopedic and Sentara provide our members priority care access at both Sentara Lake Ridge and Nova Spine and Orthopedic (Dr. Layfield).

ACL Screening
This fall, approximately 225 female select players participated in ACL screening through Explosive Performance. These results will help the individual players/families as well as our staff develop strategies to lessen the injury rate of our players.

Injury & ACL Prevention 
Beginning August 2015, all U15 and older select teams and the Development Academy are required to adopt the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program.

The 15-exercise program was development by international experts from FIFA's Medical Assessment and Research Centre specifically for amateur athletes.

Part II will describe the areas PWSI has invested in the development of our coaches.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Rookie GK Sayings!

The Rookie Goalkeeping Sayings!

I love speaking to people who have never been a goalkeeper but are pretty confident they know what they are talking about, often it’s the guy in the commentary box who was a central midfielder who is claiming the goalkeeper should have done this or should have done that!
So us that have embarked on the treacherous path that is goalkeeping will have a quick giggle about things that are often said and misused. And often confuse younger developing Goalkeepers.
(I’m sure there are more if you think of more feel free to reply or tweet me @GKeepersUnited

1.      “You Should Never Get Beaten At Your Near Post!”
Image result for goalkeeper near post

The consequence of this is we now have our young goalkeepers completely over protecting their near post and leaving 6 yards of goal for the striker to shoot into. Growing up was I told not to get scored on at my near post- yes- but we must also remind the keeper when they have completely neglected the far post.

2.      “Don’t cross your feet when moving across your goal!”
Image result for goalkeeper shuffle

The amount of goalkeeper’s who are new to PWSI who try shuffling from near post to far post is unbelievable! When I first came into the club it was one of the major changes that I made within our clubs goalkeeping DNA. To move as quickly as we can over a long distance in a shuffle/side step just isn’t realistic! In my opinion anything over 2 yards of lateral movement must be a cross step.

3.      “Any cross in your 6 yard box you should deal with!”

Image result for goalkeeper catching a cross

       I am going to answer this by saying…..The entire 6 yard box is a pretty big area to cover! For example if a corner is driven in towards the corner of the 6 the GK is never going to get there! The type of delivery and where and how much pressure is coming from should be a better factor of where and when to come and collect a cross.

4.      “Stop using your feet to make a save!”

Image result for de gea footSome of the criticism David De Gea got for this and still gets for this I feel is unjustified at times. The reality is any save is a good save, I feel there is definitely situations for a GK to use his foot to keep a ball out especially when it is a quick low reaction save. You often see GK’s trying to kick their feet away to get their hands to the floor…your feet are already there just extend to the ball (when it’s a reaction)

5.      “He’s gone with the wrong hand”
Image result for goalkeeper top hand save

This one I’ve heard a lot on TV recently – the goalkeeper is full stretch, the ball is heading towards the top corner and the keeper shoots his top hand out to the ball when the co commentator says – he has gone with the wrong hand! Thanks for that incorrect analysis guys!

Thanks for taking time to read any feedback and comments are welcome

Lloyd Yaxley

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An old fashioned shooting drill

What do you see in this simple shooting drill?

This is what I see:
- long lines
- lots of inactive players
- unrealistic situations
- unprepared coach

This is a very unrealistic situation because never in a game would a player pass the ball to a coach and have him/her set the player up to shoot the ball. Long, stagnant lines should be avoided. There are no lines in a real game situation, training exercises should replicate the game. Players should constantly be moving and participating in movement with and without the ball that replicate the real game.

I’ve seen this drill over and over in practice settings and pre-game warm ups. This drill has been passed down and replicated by many coaches and parents over the years. Unfortunately this drill does not benefit the players in any way. My challenge is for coaches to imagine and create more exciting drills for the players, drills that promote movement and activity, drills that replicate the real game, drills that can ultimately benefit the players. Our job as coaches is to help develop the players to the best of our ability, lets not get lazy and resort to something we saw someone else do a long time ago.

Quan Phan
Boys Director of Coaching
Prince William Soccer

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Being The Best - Starts At Training

Being The Best – Starts At Training 

What do all the best athletes have in common? What is it that makes Michael Jordan the best Basket Ball player of all time? How is it no one has come close to breaking Wayne Gretzky’s records in the NHL? Why is Christiano Ronaldo able to do the things he does with a soccer ball?

Image result for michael jordan quotes

1.      Raw Talent
2.      Maintenance of their bodies (rarely injured)
3.      Hunger for Success.
4.      Mental Toughness
5.      They train harder than any other player on the team.

Raw Talent
Raw Talent is a bit of a myth, it goes back to the nature vs nurture debate (are you born with a talent = nature or are you trained and developed into being able to do certain things = nurture) I honestly believe in a bit of both. You are obviously born with a certain body type and with slow or fast twitch muscle fibers (some peoples bodies are born built for endurance and others for Speed)
Michael Jordan being 6 ft 6 obviously helped a little in his ability to be able to dunk a basketball but training his body and his muscles the movements and steps it takes to create space, hold off defenders and dunk the ball only aided his natural born ability.
There are definitely some traits of physical and technical aspects it takes to play a certain position. This can relate to goalkeeping. If you are 3 ft tall probably being a goal keeper isn’t the best idea, but if you are 3 ft tall and can jump the height needed to play the position and extend as well as a 6 footer then you have a chance. So even if you are a “shorter” goalkeeper just make sure you can out jump as high as the 6 ft 4 guys!

Body Maintenance
I will list 10 pretty successful goalkeepers in the past 10 years. Manuel Neuer, Edwin Van Der Saar, Gianluigi Buffon, Iker Casillas, Peter Schmeichel, Jens Lehman, Oliver Kahn, David Seamen, Victor Valdes and Joe Hart.
Out of those 10, all who have been successful in a variety of ways, ask yourself when have they had a period of time when they have been injured? Or a season where they missed a lot of games?
Lucky you might say, or they play on the best teams so they don’t have as much to do! All of the above goalkeepers excluding Neuer, Valdes and Hart who are on the younger side – the other 7 played or are continuing to play into their late 30’s which is amazing! Training everyday throwing their bodies around the way us goalkeepers do is not an easy thing!
Stretching is key- Yoga is often popular amongst the top level goalkeepers, keeping them flexible and their muscles loose. And this is stretching before and after training. The other part of maintenance is what they are putting in their bodies to fuel them. Good diets and constant hydration especially whilst training. If you are dehydrated you are at a higher risk of muscular injuries. Hydration starts from the moment you get up.

Image result for oliver kahn trophyImage result for buffon trophyImage result for casillas trophy
Image result for david seamanImage result for joe hartImage result for van der sar trophyImage result for jens lehmann trophyImage result for victor valdes trophyImage result for neuer trophy
Image result for oliver kahn trophy
Hunger For Success
Why are the best that ever played the game the best? They strived to be the best, they always have their eyes to the future. One championship just makes them hungrier for another.
In training do you compare yourself to the other keeper? Are they making saves you can’t or haven’t been making? Are you consistent with your handling?
Start striving to be better than your piers- work on your weaknesses rather than hiding from them. What do you need to change in order to do what they are doing better? These are Questions the Best would ask themselves.

Mental Toughness
Every Goalkeeper and every player all have made mistakes. The best brush the mistake off, get their head down, finish the game then review it at the end of what they could-a should-a would-a!
Does their one error then turn into 3 or 4 errors, I see it all the time, someone misjudges a cross. That then results in the next 5 crossing decisions and executions being erratic! You are still thinking about the cross that happened 20 minutes ago!  Forget it and move on!
Dealing with pressure is a big aspect and the higher up the level you go the more pressure that is coming your way. Buffon leading up to the last world cup was discussing Penalty Shootout and he said that he expects himself to make at least one save and so does everyone else- he is putting that pressure on himself. Do you want to play in front of 20,000 people screaming at you? Do you want to play on the biggest stage in front of 100,000 people and millions of people watching at home? Daunting right!! But the Best want that pressure and absorb it.
Mental toughness also relates to set backs – How do you deal with losing in the Final? How do you deal with being put on the White Team instead of the red? How do you deal with being told you’re not good enough?
If you are dropped from the red team do you get mum or dad to write an email into coach? Or do you look yourself in the mirror and say OK this is a setback I’m going to work to get better. People are always going to tell you you’re not good enough. PROOVE THEM WRONG, set your goals high and prove all the doubters wrong.

Work Ethic
The best work harder than everyone else! This point is the meat of this blog. When team mates talk about the best players they played with, you often hear them say they were always the last off the training field, they always wanted to do more.
I have been fortunate enough to work with one of the best female goalkeepers in the world over the last 2 years and if you have ever been to see Ashlyn train this point sums her up. She always wants more. Every goal she concedes she wants to know what she could/should have done differently for it to be a different outcome.
In pre-season when she was returning from knee surgery I guarantee she worked harder then every other player to get her back into match speed. And iron out some habits she had in her game. In the team gym sessions, she leads by example. Why? Because she wants to be the best.
If there is an area you are not great at, work at it, become an all rounder! I hate it when you ask a coach what their goalkeeper is like and their answer is “she’s a good shot stopper!” I could put my dog in goal and it would hit him and stay out a few times! A shot stopper is not playing at the higher level! Can you claim a cross? Can you kick with both feet short and long? Can you hold balls when struck at pace? Are you brave? Do you make assertive decisions? BE THE BEST AT EVERY AREA.
The Best always train at the speed they are going to move at game day. When you’re doing a training exercise are you teaching your body certain speeds and footwork to do depending on the situation? Create Muscle memory, so when that ball is on the end line and it gets cut back and you have to move one side of your goal to the other you don’t have to think open my shoulders, eyes on the ball now get into my cross step footwork. If you create this habit and speed in training then it will become natural to just move across your goal and speed and balanced.
Image result for cristiano ronaldo quotes

In conclusion what I want from each goalkeeper in the club is the desire to be the best, desire to succeed and hunger to accomplish individual goals. When we train we do not have a lazy attitude, we train at the speed we are going to move when it comes to making that save when it counts.

Thanks for taking your time to read my thoughts, I would love any feedback-
You can tweet me @GKeepersUnited.

Thanks again Lloyd Yaxley