Monthly Archives: August 2012

What We Can All Learn From “Chicharito”: The Importance of Psycho-Social Development

 
"Chicharito" Javier Hernandez

Note: The following is an article written by SocMM Executive Director Nate Baker

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored 20 goals in his first campaign at the age of 22 (2010-2011) helping lead Manchester United to the Premiership title and a Champions League final against Barcelona.  He scored 12 goals in all competitions last season even though injuries kept him out for a majority of the year, but this off-season, Manchester United made some big moves in the transfer market with the most notable addition coming in the form of 29-year old Dutch International Robin Van Persie.

Pundits were confused with the signing because there are so many forwards already in the team including Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Dimitar Berbatov and Chicharito, so obviously there was going to be some world-class strikers who would become upset by the news that the club went out and added to a group where they probably thought they were already set, but not Chicharito.

ESPNFC.com published today an article entitled “Hernandez: I’ll fight for United Place”.  Below are a few of the quotes that caught my eye:

“There is competition for places, but you always have that. I had that in youth teams when I was growing up and we have it here now because you need a big squad of players.

“There are only 11 places each week and you need to do your best to get one of those places, but it’s great to have that competition because it means every player will have to raise the level of their game.

“The gaffer has the decisions to make, but for me, I just focus on doing my best every day in training and in every game so I can help my team-mates get closer to achieving our targets of winning the league and all the competitions we play in.”

After reading those quotes, put yourself in Chicharito’s boots.  Would you share the same outlook and approach? And for the coaches out there, do you think one of the star strikers on your youth, club or even pro teams would share the same outlook?

Fall SocMM Functional Training Session Dates Announced; Registration Now Open!

 
2012 Spring Functional Session Team Picture

After the success of last spring’s functional training sessions, SocMM is proud to announce that it will be providing another series of functional training sessions this fall for the motivated player.

The sessions run for 90-minutes every Sunday afternoon starting September 16th and finishing October 28th for six weeks (no session October 7th because of Columbus Day Weekend) at SocMM’s home field at Holy Trinity Episcopal Day School.

For those who weren’t with us last spring, functional training is position-specific training that provides elite development both on and off-the-ball.

An outside back and center midfielder are both players within a team, but the skill-sets needed for each position are very different.  Everything from the type of passes they make (on-the-ball) to the types of runs they consistently make (off-the-ball) can be different.  The purpose of the functional training sessions is to teach players position-specific techniques that they will be able to apply in the game with their club or school teams.

SocMM Announces New Staff Coach: Biko Kujifi

 
SocMM's newest addition: Coach Biko Kujifi

Soccer Means More is proud to announce the addition of Maryland-native Biko Kujifi to the SocMM Coaching Staff.  It is SocMM’s goal to build a young and passionate coaching staff that has goals of developing the next great soccer players and people, and Biko fits that profile perfectly.

Biko started with SocMM last spring.  He made his SocMM coaching debut during last Spring’s Functional Training sessions, but he was also involved in two SocMM community initiatives, which included a free-clinic for Broadneck Soccer Club (Annapolis, MD) and being a coach at the SocMM Free Spring Workshop (May 12, 2012).

In addition to his work in the spring, Coach Biko was also a key contributor in SocMM’s success this past summer.  Biko was a coach during SocMM’s first ever summer day camp in the organization’s history helping mentor and teach 24 motivated youth soccer players.

The Start of the European League Seasons + Access to Numerous Games in the US = Great Opportunity for Player Development

 
Robin Van Persie Could Make is Debut on Monday for Manchester United (3pm ET, ESPN2)

What are you doing this weekend?

Coach Nate and every one of the SocMM coaches will be finding time to catch a few European soccer matches since the season starts this weekend in the some of the biggest leagues from around the world.

There are 70 games on television this weekend that can be viewed in the United States, and this is a great way for players of all ages to improve their “soccer brain” by studying the game.

Below is a link to Coach Nate’s newest blog post that provides a listing of all the games this weekend along with some thoughts on how important it is for players to watch games as often as possible.

Coach Nate’s Corner: “The Start of the European League Seasons + Access to Numerous Games in the US = Great Opportunity for Player Development”

Enjoy and have a great weekend and enjoy the games!

The Importance of Juggling in Youth Development

 
Juggling

Juggling is the easiest way logistically to work on and develop a mastery of the ball, and it is maybe the most difficult skill to learn how to do consistently well.

So in this country, you will find a lot of players who are bit older who can’t string 20 juggles together, but also can’t consistently string passes together.  Excuses vary.  Some people don’t see the point, and some have succumbed to the fact that they aren’t a good “juggler”.

Juggling is a very difficult skill-set.  It requires focus, a clear mind and hard work with tons of reps, but it also forces us technically to improve a lot of things: first touch, ball-striking technique, creativity and our ability to manipulate the ball.

But what do I mean “ability to manipulate the ball”? A lot of times when you watch a player juggle, they are spinning in circles reacting to wherever the ball goes to hopefully continue the streak of juggles.  If done properly, juggling forces you to put the balls in spots where you want the ball.  I always tell the players to “manipulate the ball, and don’t let the ball manipulate you”. If you alternating feet every juggle for example, then your juggle should go across your body slightly to set up your other foot.

I’ve created a juggling curriculum for my U-11 team and will build a juggling curriculum for future SocMM sessions.  I will give the players options to freestyle (use either right of left foot) or alternate feet; use just their predominant foot, or just their weak foot, incorporate high juggles, catches, spins into it, while steadily raising the mark for what they are expected to able to achieve.

Below is a video we threw together awhile ago to give some ideas for how to improve juggling mechanics and build off the base the player has already developed.

 

The great thing about juggling is all it takes is one player and a ball, so with the motivated players in your household or team, have them set goals, reach them and then set new goals.  You will quickly see that other areas of the game slowly improve as the player’s ability to juggle improves.

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