Monthly Archives: February 2012

Objectively Charting Development: A Look Back at Winter Session II

Winter Session II

Disclaimer: This piece is written by SocMM Executive Director Nate Baker

Development seems to be the in-word when discussing youth soccer. Parents want it and coaches and clubs insist they provide it.

I believe people always are going to “see what they want to see”.  You can structure any picture of youth player development through a subjective lens.

Sadly within youth soccer, the objective measurement used to gage youth development is team wins and losses.   When development is sacrificed in the name of wins and losses, the youth player’s development is shortchanged for short-sided superficial goals.

Two questions emerge: How do we gage development and what should the focus of development be?

SocMM Winter Sessions Come to Close

Winter Session II (Older Group)

The winter sessions have come and gone, and it is hard to believe we had the privilege to teach/mentor more motivated players this winter than we have ever before in any previous seasonal session (37 participants).

It was only a year ago that Coach Nate and Ryan held the first SocMM Winter Session with 12 players, all from Coach Nate’s Freestate Soccer Alliance club teams.  This year we had motivated players at our winter sessions from five different MD counties (Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and even St. Mary’s County).  The word that “soccer means more” is definitely getting around!

We held three different sessions this winter.  Winter Session I and Coach Ryan’s Off-the-Ball training were both held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Day School (Glen Dale, MD) in the multi-purpose room with a more intimate setting for the smaller groups, while our Winter Session II had 28 motivated players participate in our new indoor soccer facility, Soccerdome 3 (Landover, MD).

In our Winter Session II, we tried out for the first time our “SocMM testing”, which tested the players’ on and off-the-ball capabilities.  We got a baseline by testing on Day 1, and then used Days 2-5 to get the players primed and ready for final testing on Day 6.

Our belief is that our curriculum greatly improves each player’s on and off-the-ball capacities, but we wanted to provide the players, parents and soccer communities an objective look on their improvement, and we are proud to announce that each player’s scores improved drastically from Day 1 to Day 6.

We also gave out to each player an end-of-session evaluation that went into great detail on what the player did well, what the player can improve upon and ways to improve moving forward.  Coach Ryan put together the off-the-ball evaluations and Coach Nate put together the on-the-ball evaluations that graded all players’ techniques, but each coach also graded the players’ psycho-social capacities.

At Soccer Means More, we understand that the game is more than just a game.  We intend to make the motivated player in your family a better player but also a better person.  We graded each player in four psycho-social categories: Work-Rate (Hardwork Barometer), Attentiveness (Engaged Mentally), Inquisitiveness (Asks Questions to Aid Development), and Self-Belief (Ability to React to Adversity).  The psycho-social elements of a player are greater indicators for us that a player will sustain success in the game long-term and will be able to take the psycho-social elements to other forums where they are conducive to success (i.e. the classroom, the community, the home). The great thing is that the psycho-social elements can be improved upon just like any technique on or off-the-ball.

In summation, we were so happy with the group of motivated players we had this winter who worked hard every session, and the families that allowed us the opportunity to train the motivated player(s) in their family.

If you didn’t get to train in the winter sessions and would like the opportunity this spring, please read up on our Spring Functional Sessions by clicking here.  We are already in the double digits in terms of sign-ups, and we are offering the sessions at our customary rate of $100 for the entire session (6, 90 minute training sessions).

You can also check out the official Spring Functional Session Flyer by clicking here.

Please feel free to contact the Soccer Means More team if you have any questions by clicking here.

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