I have considered journeying a little ways along the coaches training
> just to have a better idea of where coaches (in general) are coming
> I'm not interested in becoming a coach but more knowledge is always a
> thing. And also to see how much of the LOTG is actually taught to
> and how it is done.
This article should just about be hitting the mail (probably today).
Please it is for your personal use only and the request is that it not
be forwarded to anyone. But, yes, sometimes it does pay us well to see
what the coaches are learning:
Ahead of the Curve
By Carl P. Schwartz
As Referee’s soccer coordinator, I do you more good trying to report
trends that might happen rather than write articles about what has gone
wrong on the field. Referees have long been encouraged to attend
coaches’ seminars and coaches’ licensing classes — to find out what
coaches are being taught. The National Soccer Coaches Association of
America (NSCAA) publishes the Soccer Journal magazine with insightful
articles for coaches and players.
The 1/09 issue of Soccer Journal had a piece by Jeff Tipping, NSCAA’s
Director of Coaching and Development. While Tipping wrote an analysis
of what should be learned from the international level, he wrote his
piece to educate coaches at the youth, high school and college level.
As referees, yo
u might be seeing something that stems from Tipping’s
piece. Here is a referee-oriented look at his article and what it might
mean to you on the field.
Lessons from EURO 2008. Due to the money, structure and advanced
coaching, what is done in Europe eventually spreads to the rest of the
• “Successful teams have a corps of attacking players that can operate
at high speed, under intense pressure and in increasingly smaller
spaces.” Dan Heldman’s piece in last month’s issue (3/09, Adjust When
Big People Play on Small Fields) and my piece in the 2/09 issue (“Hold
Your Own on Holding”) may give you tips to deal with these powerful
players. More and more, “The message to American coaches is clear —
technique, technique, technique …” according to Tipping. As referees,
we cannot let poor defenses use unfair tactics to shut down skilled
• “The analysis reinforced the importance of shape and systems.
Successful teams have a good balanced structure — disciplined in
defending and flexible when attacking.” Whether you are refereeing
4-4-2, 4-5-1 or 4-3-3, you need to know how to make adjustments in your
movements, in your sight lines and in your width and depth to deal with
those playing styles. (SOURCE OF 5/09 LEAD ARTICLE, HOPEFULLY FROM A
NISOA NATIONAL INSTRUCTOR)
** Note as of 12 March
- that article has been written and
from the feedback that the previewers have given us, it is one of the
best articles in the past decade for Referee soccer material!
• “Forty-six percent of the goals scored in EURO 2008 were from
counterattacks.” Get your repetitive sprints in during your workouts.
The days of “pounding out the miles” are pretty much over. You need
ladders of 20-30-40-50-40-30-20. You need a quarter mile, a 30-second
rest and another quarter mile — repetitively. You need to talk with
your assistants during pregame to let them know how they can best help
you: “If you see me more than 20 yards back, here are the two most
important things …”
• Progressive possession football. That is not keep-away soccer (such
as a team sitting on a four goal lead), but rather short, angled passes
and combination play. Think of the German national style of play. Six
or seven probing passes across the field and a far-side winger starts a
run to the mixer as a ball is lofted in for a header. You must spread
your vision and have an awareness of when that winger starts that run.
It will be out of your peripheral vision if you are constantly watching
• Restarts are no longer the king! With credit to referees, fouls are
being called when an attacker takes the ball toward the penalty area.
Defenders no longer want to give away=2
0a defensive-third foul and rise
and fall on the lottery of a free kick.
• “Attacking players were double-teamed more often than in other
tournaments.” Referees need to be alert that either or both defenders
may foul the attacker. However, the real key is that if A9 is being
watched by B2 and B3, who is on A8? You need to know where A8 is, so
that when that pass squirts out to the open attacker with space to the
goal, you know where you want to go to get the best angle for that run!
• “Teams have developed the ability to force opponents into predictable
areas of the field and then double-team and win the ball back and
counter.” For decades, that was exactly the strength of the U.S.
Women’s National Team. They were even strong enough to do it in their
own attacking end of the field; a concept known as the immediate
reattack. Bottle up a team near a touchline or the goalline and close
down all the passing lanes. Gets crowded in there, doesn’t it? You’ve
got to get viewing angles. You’ve got to get help from your assistants
(ah, again the pregame discussion). You’ve got to get off your diagonal
and get over there if a team shows that pattern of defense.
Off-topic, but related. In that same article, Tipping makes the
statement, “…, we must develop a culture and a way of thinking whereby
highly skilled and qualified coaches=2
0are assigned to coach the youngest
players.” And historically, where have assigners placed the weakest
referees? So, we thought a teen referee got “eaten up” by coaches
before. Imagine the carnage that could happen if a highly motivated,
intensely competitive, skilled, knowledgeable coach takes on that teen
doing his tenth game ever? Veterans, instructors, assessors — it’s time
to head over to the U-10 fields!
There is a great deal of information in here. Referee will attempt to
provide more help recognizing and dealing with styles of play. The
information is just now getting into the coaches’ hands, so it may be a
season or two before it filters onto your fields. Be ready. Sprint.
Talk to assistants. Recognize patterns. Take care of skillful strikers.
Recognize the open attacker with space.
Carl P. Schwartz is Referee’s soccer coordinator.