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Training Session: Defending (Pressure/Cover Base) that Builds to Small Side Game

By Nate Baker I first want to thank the Arlington Soccer Association for asking me to be a part of such a cool initiative.  I also want to thank U-17 Arlington Strikers More »

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Champions League Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid

By Nate Baker I’ve watched the first leg in Madrid twice, and although I didn’t take notes, I was very interested in studying two managers who are considered the best in the More »

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SocMM’s New Vision

By Nate Baker It’s been a little over a year since SocMM held its last seasonal session (Winter 2013), and it has been about a year and half since SocMM held its More »

Nate Baker at the 2012 Fall Workshop

A Letter from SocMM: SocMM Cancels Summer Camps and Future Sessions

Note: The following is a first-hand letter from the founder of Soccer Mean More, Nate Baker Dear SocMM Family, When I started SocMM almost two and half years ago, my goal was More »

Summer Camp Weeks are Here!

SocMM Announces Two Summer Camp Weeks

SocMM is proud to announce two full-day summer camp weeks for the motivated player.  The camps will receive age-specific training that will improve each player both on-and-off the ball, while also including More »

SocMM Spring Program: Individual Training Programs for Motivated Players

 
Larry Mark (pictured) is one of the trainers

Soccer Means More is happy to announce our Spring Individual Training Programs. The individual training programs provide motivated players with an opportunity to train and learn from a SocMM Coach in a one-on-one environment.

These individual sessions are tailored to the player’s specific developmental needs, which will allow for more development to occur.  SocMM coaches, who have all played at very high levels, will be able to build up the motivated player in your family in the following ways:

-Technically: The player will have their on-the-ball techniques developed and perfected, so they can function at a high level.

-Functionally: The player will receive position-specific training that will allow the player to use skills learned and apply it in a game environment.

-Psycho-Socially: The player will learn coping mechanisms to help the player to focus and succeed at a high level.  The player will also leave sessions with more self-belief and self-knowledge after discussing the proper mentalities and ways to prepare with a coach who has played at the highest levels.   The player is not only getting a coach, but he/she is also getting a mentor, which is vital for development.

Each session’s duration is an hour, and the frequency of the sessions is determined by the player’s family.  The sessions will take place in Bowie, MD, but it is possible to have sessions at a different location if it makes sense for both parties.

We have several coaches who have played at the highest levels.  Our policy is to hear about your player (via email or phone) and then match him/her with the best coaching fit.

Below is our fee structure.  Individual sessions can include anywhere from 1-4 players at a time.  With more individual players involved, the total cost increases, but the rate per player decreases, so if there are a few kids on your club team who want individual training, it can be more cost-effective to train with a few players as opposed to just one.

Ferguson and Mark named Co-Executive Directors; Baker takes new role as President

 
Daryl Ferguson (pictured)

Soccer Means More is pleased to announce the promotion of its two lead staff coaches to the positions of Co-Executive Director .  Daryl Ferguson and Larry Mark, staff coaches from SocMM’s inception, will take the place of Executive Director and SocMM founder Nate Baker as he transitions into his new role as the first assistant men’s soccer coach at the United States Naval Academy.

“Two years ago, I started a community-based training company that aimed to be unique and help motivated children become better soccer players and people,” said Baker.  “In that time, we have held numerous seasonal sessions and three free workshops for the Prince George’s community, and I am proud of the impact we have made.”

“Daryl and Larry are passionate about the game, have a vision for the future and love developing motivated players of all ages.  They were the first two staff coaches that I brought in, and they will ensure that Soccer Means More continues to grow, and that is the most important thing.”

Coach Nate will still be a part of the program and will fill the new role of SocMM President.  In his new role, he will oversee the program from a far, helping with big picture issues, while leaving the day-to-day management and on-field coaching to Ferguson and Mark.

“Being promoted to the co-executive director is a huge accomplishment for me,” remarked Ferguson. “We have a tremendous coaching staff and front office, and I believe Coach Larry and I can help SocMM continue to move in the right direction…”

“As co-executive director I would like to help SocMM become one of the premier player development programs in the country,” added Mark.

SocMM will be announcing its spring and summer dates later this week.

The Half-Way Mark: A Look Back at the First Four Weeks of the SocMM Winter Academy

 
SocMM WA 5a

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

This winter has been cold, rainy, windy, snowy and at times, completely miserable…

But that hasn’t stopped our 20 motivated players from training outdoors with purpose all four weekends in January.  I believe the players have really bought into the idea that what we are pursuing is challenging but worthwhile.  The group is a very mature one that takes pride in their pursuit of getting better and rally behind the fact that not many people are out getting better when the conditions are not ideal.

Building the player’s mental resolve and building up their desire to improve is something that has truly came out of these sessions thus far, and will serve them well moving forward.

The Curriculum:

The first two weeks we focused on the players ability “running with the ball” through working on their dribbling, 1v1 moves and 1v1 turns.  We felt this was the place to start because each player was just going to train with their ball and develop their control and manipulation of the ball.

It was important to build a base of technical comfort on the ball, while giving the players techniques to help them develop.  Do you need other skills and techniques to be a good soccer player? Definitely, but we felt the first two weeks need to be focused around “running with the ball”.

Weeks three and four focused around passing and receiving and turns off the pass.  The first step was teaching the players proper first touch and passing techniques and then building off that by having the players have their first touch have a purpose (taking it across their body, away from pressure).  Then, we gave them tools to deal with defensive pressure within a game setting, and then would finish with a possession game that tested their new techniques in a fast-paced environment.  Week three was difficult, but we knew it would be.  Week four was much better because the players worked hard and pushed through some of the frustrations of trying to master some difficult material.

In their off-the-ball sessions, Coach Ryan has worked the groups hard. To this point, Coach Ryan has worked with the groups on their running form, explosiveness and agility.  The type of training is one of the unique things about our program, and as we move forward, the players will see how these off-the-ball techniques translate to the actual game.  The off-the-ball techniques can be abstract to the players at times, but in the coming weeks, I think they’ll really start to see how everything works together.

Finally, I have found the one hour free-play small-sided games, every Sunday, to be extremely fun to watch and a great ways for the players to put their new found skills into action.  We have tried to let the kids play with little coaching, and when they do something that we worked on the previous sessions, we celebrate it by being positive and encouraging them to continue to pursue that skill-set.  We will take breaks every twenty minutes and talk about some general things that can improve or some things they have done well, while always imploring them to be hardworking and daring in their play.

Conclusion:

We are in a great place half-way through the program.  Players of all backgrounds within the game have found their footing (no pun intended) within the program, and that’s extremely important.  The players have been fantastic, and I can’t wait to see how they continue to develop the next four weeks.

 

Ten Things We Are Thankful For

 
#6 The Free Workshops

2012 has been a fantastic year for SocMM, and now that we are coming to the end of the year, it’s important to look back and reflect on some of the things that we are thankful for.

Ten Things We Are Thankful For (No Specific Order):

1-Holy Trinity Episcopal Day School (HTEDS):

HTEDS has been the host of every SocMM event this past year except for one.  They have been a huge part of SocMM’s growth because they allow us to use their fantastic facilities and have been supremely hospitable despite SocMM being a company still in its infancy.

Without a place to call home, we wouldn’t have had the amount of success that we enjoyed this year.

2-Our Coaching Staff:

We started with four coaches (Daryl, Larry, Nate and Ryan) and now have build up our coaching family that much more.  This year we were able to incorporate Coach Biko Kujifi and Vassar Cates into our staff and our staff is better off for it.

Having a young staff with a strong background in the game allows the SocMM message to truly get through to the kids, and we hope to build on our staff moving forward.

3-New Partnerships:

For the Fall Workshop, we were able to do a few things we haven’t been able to do to this point.  First, we got a sponsor to help pay for the day.  SocMM parent Eric Davidson of Allstate came to SocMM with the idea this past summer, and we hope this partnership lasts us moving forward into future workshops.

Also, we are thankful we are able to start building a coalition of soccer clubs from the area that want to do right by the kids in Prince George’s County.  Bowie, Glenarden, Lanham and South Bowie Boys and Girls Club along with Glenn Dale Recreational Council helped spread the word within their communities about this past Fall Workshop helping us to achieve record numbers for attendance.  They also acted as vendors at the workshop making sure that every child who participated in the workshop would have a place to keep playing next spring. We hope to keep building on our new partnerships moving into 2013.

4-Building New Curriculums:

Interested in SocMM Winter Academy, But Can’t Make all of the Dates?

 
Shea Works on Her First Touch

In just over three weeks, SocMM will begin its third seasonal winter program, but for the time around, we will be conducting a 20-session program entitled the SocMM Winter Academy.  The program starts January 5, 2013 and ends in early March for motivated players ages 7-17.

We have garnered a lot of interest in the Winter Academy, but some people have voiced concern about missing some of the sessions due to prior engagements and potential conflicts.  With this article, we want to make sure we put to rest some of your concerns about committing to what should be an exciting winter program.

Reasons Why Motivated Players Should Still Sign Up Despite Potential Conflicts:

Last week we posted the article “Ten Reasons Why the SocMM Winter Academy is the Perfect Fit for the Player in Your Family” to give parents and players a look at why we believe the SocMM Winter Academy is a program that the player in your family can not afford to miss out on.

That being said, we understand that there will be times when your son or daughter will not be able to attend a session because of a conflict, and we want you to know that it is alright.  We would love to have every child attend every day of the program, but we know that is asking a lot. There are going to be conflicts, but with that inevitability in mind, we did the following to make sure players didn’t miss out if they miss a few sessions during the course of the winter:

1-Tuition: The cost of the Winter Academy is $225.  That breaks down to $11.25 per session, which is the lowest per session rate that we have ever offered and arguably the lowest rate per session you will find in the area.  We do this with the idea that if players do miss a session from time to time, the parents’ wallet won’t take too much of a hit.

2-Curriculum: We do believe our curriculum best prepares players to grow in the game, but what if your son or daughter misses a session? Will they fall behind the rest of the group?

Every one of our session plans are prepared and logged using soccer-specific software.  If your son or daughter is going to miss a session, we are more than willing to send the curriculum for that day through email, so the player in your family can work on the skill-sets that are missed on his/her own time.

If you sign the player(s) in your family up for a SocMM session, we know it is our responsibility to ensure development occurs, even if a player has to miss a session.

Conclusion:

We are so excited about the Winter Academy and believe it will be our best program to date.  We hope this article have eased any concerns about missing sessions.

If you are interested in registering, please click here.

If you want to learn more about the Winter Academy, please click here.

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