A recent email (April, 2011) from a SoccerU customer / coach.
note: We received this email and asked Bill if we could share
it, unedited. Our thanks to him for such a thorough, personal
review and passion for good coaching / training.
Coach V and Staff,
I wanted to commend you on what I believe is the most
comprehensive teaching video series I have ever seen for any
sport. I am a father and a youth soccer coach and have
a successful career in law enforcement. I love my job, but about
two years ago I fell in love with another “job” that is crucial
to society. It is the job of being a father and coach. I
decided to coach my daughter’s youth soccer team. For background
– I was always an athletic kid but I wasn’t the best at soccer
mainly because I never understood the game or had the proper
coaching on the basics. Even as a young kid and teenager, I was
very dialed into the fact that the towns that had the best high
school teams were the ones who had the best youth programs. It
wasn’t any surprise to me that this translated into every sport
– wrestling, baseball, etc. I always thought that when I had
children I would do something to better the youth programs in
the place where I lived.
I conduct quite a bit of training for my job and I am certified
as an instructor. Whenever I teach a class to other law
enforcement officers I always have a lesson plan and organize
the class down to the minute. I thought – instruction for
little kids is kind of like teaching a bunch of cops. You are
often dealing with know-it-alls, boredom, and skepticism. So I
began looking for the proper things to do. I began looking for
information, reading books, and trying to find whatever I could
get my hands on. Interestingly there is a lot of info out there
but not all good. I started picking up books like - Coaching
Soccer for Dummies, The US Youth Soccer coaching manual, several
books by Ron Quinn, the head coach of Xavier’s Women’s Soccer
team - like The Baffled Parent’s Guide to Great Soccer Drills,
Success in Soccer magazine and browsing soccer related websites.
I even began emailing people that I probably had no business
emailing. I routinely send correspondence to the US Youth
Soccer Coaching Director - Sam Snow and he actually has been
gracious enough to email me back with answers to my questions.
In my desire to learn I asked a lot of questions and in two
short years amassed quite a bit of information. I wanted to put
together a lesson plan. What is it that kids in my town should
be learning – age appropriately – at a certain age? Clearly, I
thought, that information is out there. Well what I found is
that it is and it isn’t. I met a local collegiate coach in my
town who has coached many small Division III colleges and has
been published in “Success in Soccer” once. He is a nice man
and always willing to share information. He turned me on to the
programs in the country that he felt had some of the best
websites and most well regarded youth programs. I contacted the
guys who are the Directors of Coaching for Massachusetts Youth
Soccer, Virginia Youth Soccer, Idaho and a few other locations.
Many of these guys were gracious to provide information but it
was all generic - nothing of substance like I really wanted.
Then during the beginning of this past soccer season, I was on a
business trip in Virginia Beach surfing the web. Then, I
“Googled” soccer training or some other familiar phrase. Up
popped the Soccer U series. I started reading about it and
became interested. I liked it so much I ordered right from my
hotel room. You have to understand the significance of this to
me. I don’t order anything without thinking about it for days.
I make no fast decisions. But that night I ordered it
impulsively and without much thought.
I want to tell you that I think it was the best purchase I have
ever made. So many of the things discussed in the video make
perfect sense to me. It has helped me to organize my training
this year. Furthermore, I set up a weekly two-hour Winter
Training program for a bunch of U8 and U9 girls and used the
concept of touch stations for our girls. We run touch stations
for 40 girls for the first 30 minutes of practice. They all hit
15 touch stations each. I use many of the touch stations you
suggested but also found others that I like that maximize
touches (for example a four touch move – like tap –tap – pull –
push). After the touch stations are complete, the remainder of
the practice lasts another 90 minutes. For the next 60 minutes
of the remanding 90, they go through three different lessons
with coaches which are prepared in advance and the lesson plans
are sent to both the coaches and parents the week prior. We
focus on things like “Hop and Load”, “Ball-Peek-Ball” – the
Superman technique for controlling the ball with the body and a
bunch of other concepts you highlight. I even created a set of
prerequisites, which may be a good idea for you in the future –
meaning before we teach receiving the Ball (Pillow and Plank) we
make sure they understand “Hop and Load”. Just a thought. This
way people have a better understanding of what should come
when. The last 30 minutes is a small-sided scrimmage.
The amazing thing is I have been providing a parent with a
clicker each week. I have them click how many times the child
touches the ball. Of course the more skilled players are more
efficient – therefore touching the ball more - but the numbers
have been impressive no matter which level the player may be.
We have averaged 2,300 touches per child each week for a
two-hour practice. Approximately 1,900 to 2,000 of those
touches come within the first 30 minutes. I have found that the
information displayed in your video series is correct – a
typical soccer practice gives a player 300 to 400 touches on the
ball. When you discount our 30 minutes of touch stations - the
last 90 minutes of our practice reflect what a typical soccer
practice would be like – thereby confirming the 300 to 400 touch
theory for a normal soccer practice.
I know you don’t need affirmation that your methods are correct
but I wanted to share them anyway. I appreciate the hard work
done on this video series and look forward to additional
segments you will hopefully put out. I even look forward to any
coaching seminars that you may conduct. I know that I and my
fellow coaches that are disciples of your techniques would
gladly mount up in a car and take a road trip to wherever you
I wanted this to serve as a testimonial. Please let me know if
you would like anything else in terms of information. We have
practice this evening and will be running two more sessions.
This is week 10 – we are running a total of 12 weeks. The
translation is that these kids are getting well over 25,000
touches on the ball for this 12 week training program. My hope
is that we raise the level of skill.
On a side note, I just got done reading a book entitled, “The
Talent Code – Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How,” by
It is a fantastic book about how talent in children is created
through deep practice and the growth of myelin in the brain. It
also talks heavily about igniting a spark in a community that
fosters a talent hot bed. It specifically focuses on coaching
and the importance of coaches that know the right thing to say
and do and when.
I think that many of your philosophies and training examples tie
in very nicely with this book. If you haven’t read it – it is
I welcome any correspondence.
Thanks for everything.
Mullica Hill, New Jersey