Coaching expertise: It depends or an absolute

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Coaching in a blowout: Developing good habits

I refereed a junior varsity girls soccer game this afternoon, and it was clear from the beginning that one team was better than the other. The winning team played possession soccer and regularly strung 10+ passes together before a shot or turnover.  Read more

Negativity in sports among coaches and players

I referee a lot of soccer: Recreation, club, and high school. Nearly every week, if not every game, I am astonished at the behavior of the coach toward the players, and the players toward each other.

In many teams, it appears that there are pre-ordained scape goats. When something goes wrong, everyone yells at this player or these players, but when a different player makes a mistake, not much is said.  Read more

Whose game is it anyway?

This weekend, I refereed three under-9 boys soccer games (6v6) in a local tournament. At one point, there was confusion between the tournament rules and normal rules, so I stopped the game briefly to clarify with a tournament director. After roughly 10 minutes, the tournament director returned and changed the rules again. Read more

The Players-First Approach to Coaching

The old-school coaching style that I describe in The 21st Century Basketball Practice is a coach-driven approach to coaching. When I played, every coach use that style to some degree. Rarely if ever did a coach ask for our opinion. The coach decided, and we followed directions.  Read more

Appropriate time for feedback and criticism

During the State Cup, I was the assistant referee on an u13 boys game. The final was 12-1. The head coach of the losing team spent most of his time venting to an assistant coach directly behind me.  Read more

Matt Barnes and two styles of coaching

What is the job of a coach? At the professional level, an argument could be made that the coach’s job is to put the team into position to win. How does one accomplish that goal? There seem to be two approaches: One limits players in an attempt to reduce mistakes, whereas the other attempts to develop and expand players.  Read more

The cost of overcoaching

When I was younger and nobody took me seriously (before my books, PhD, and professional experience), I made two comments on a Yahoo! coach’s forum that generated plenty of derision from the other members. The first was that we should coach players as if we were preparing them to play pickup games on the playground. The second was that many coaches would have a more positive effect on their teams if they walked into practice, dropped a ball at center court, and left the building, allowing the players to organize themselves and scrimmage.  Read more

Treating players equally is unfair

In one of the many John Wooden books that I have read, Wooden wrote about his treatment of players. He said that to treat each player equally would be unfair because each player was different.  Read more

The effects of a coach’s reaction to mistakes

Last weekend, I refereed five u14 girls soccer games. In the opening game on Saturday morning, the host’s u14s played another local team. The hosts won 2-1, and all of the goals were flukes: a striker tried to dribble around the goalie, kicked it too hard, and scored; a fullback tried to clear the ball and it deflected off a striker and bounced over the goalie’s head; and a fullback and goalie ran into each other, leaving the ball at the striker’s feet.  Read more

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  • What Is A Playmaker?

    Who decided that a point guard has to be small? More importantly, what is a point guard? We expect a point guard to be a leader and have a high basketball I.Q. Why don’t we expect or challenge all players to develop this game awareness? Why rely on only one player? Read more →
  • The PBDL Concept

    English soccer academies wait until players are 11 to play full 11v11 soccer; in Italy, youth basketball players participate in skill-oriented clinics at 6-years-old, but start competitive games at 12. In the United States, kids play 5v5 full court games and compete for national championships when they are 8-years-old.

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  • Starting A PBDL

    The PBDL emphasizes learning and development. Presently, players and parents have numerous recreation options - leagues based on fun and equal participation, typically for beginners - and numerous competitive opportunities - teams focused on strategy, game preparation and winning. There are few true development leagues - until now.

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