Author page: Philip MacDonald

SenseBall…The Football Training Revolution

senseballLooking to improve your touch on a soccer ball?

In order to have more time on the ball and to have the essentially slow down for you need to have the best touch on the ball. The best and most elite players have a great touch on the ball. This allows them to play the game and make better decisions without having to spend time controlling the ball and reacting to situations around them.

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Soccer Secrets to Better Decision Making

Unlike many other sports where set plays are drawn up and practiced in advance in the hope of implementing them in game-time situations (with stoppage play), soccer is a game of decision making where the majority of the decisions are taken by the players on the field in real time with no stoppage play. In a 90-minute game, the game will constantly evolve based on where the ball is on the field and what scenarios are presented to the players. A coach’s job is done in the weeks and days prior to the game, not during a game. Therefore, players need to have a well-developed soccer IQ in order to make proper decisions in split seconds over and over again. With that being said, how do you develop your soccer IQ? Below are certain strategies you can try-out with the aim of improved decision making in a game-time situation.

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Looking to take your coaching skills to the next level?

Depending on what province or state you are in there are different approaches to taking your coaching certifications to the next level. In Ontario, The Ontario Soccer Association, offers numerous courses which range from introductory classes which include Soccer For Life to more in depth certificates such as your provincial licenses A, B and C amongst others. Each certificate ranges from a two day session to much longer. There are also different forms of evaluations depending on the certificate you are enrolled in. That being said, do not be intimidated by these programs. The courses can all be attained in a relatively short period of time by those willing progress in the sport.

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Alex Ferguson : My Autobiography

I’ve been reading Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography and wanted to shed light on this book. But before I begin, much has already been written about this book and the wave of interest has gone by for many. However, a great deal can be learned from this man who won so much over his career and managed some of the biggest personalities in world football.

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Impacting your way into a team

You’re playing on a new team with new players, a different coach and they play a different system. Now you have to force your way into the line-up. How do you do it? Unless you’re a clinical goal scorer and can impact the game greatly, you’ll likely play where the team asks you to play. And yes, this could be in a position where you’re greater strengths are not as highlighted as before. This does not have to be a bad thing but now you have to do your best to understand your teammates, your opposition and communicate this as a unit. Here are three ways you can do so:

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Do this in order to play at the next level…

Over the years, I have worked with all kinds of kids in soccer and the comments that I overhear at times are surprising. Many feel that they are on their way to professional careers in soccer. The «big show» if you will. Nothing is wrong with dreaming. And if you’re going to dream you might as well dream big. Yes some players are good but it goes far beyond that to play at the next level. In terms of planning your soccer future it is so very cliché but one must have other career options in their back pocket and that can start with a solid academic base. And if you don’t have that academic base it’s not the end of the world either. There are always options.  

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Managing expectations in high pressure situations

A famous sports psychologist beautifully illustrated the physiology of what happens when we are under pressure.  Place a 12 foot long 2 X 8 piece of wood on the ground, and ask one of your players to run across it. What happens? That player doesn’t even think twice.  He or she says, “No problem,” and runs across the board with ease and enjoyment.  Now take this same 2 X 8 and raise it 8 feet by stretching it across two ladders and ask that same player to run across.  What happens?

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Winning is everything…or is it?

Winning is everything in soccer…or is it? Of course winning is important in soccer. After all, you want a competitive team that can go as far as possible in all competitions. But when it comes to kids between the ages of 10-14 in particular, I believe that player and team development is far more valuable to the learning experience than simply winning a game.

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Individual talent versus having a soccer IQ

After recently playing with a variety of new teams in a new city, I was surprised of the level of talent floating around Canada. More and more players are learning skills on their own and practicing tricks they’ve seen online. Not that long ago players had to learn tricks other ways but now thanks to youtube and other such social media tools, this footage is more readily available than ever before. However, what has also become more clear is we are developing many individually skilled players that have little to no idea how to play the game as a team.

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A step in the right direction…

The Ontario Soccer Association has taken a step in the right towards putting a greater emphasis on player development at the youth level. Changes will be mandatory at youth level soccer for 2014.

Mandatory implementation for the 2014 season include the following:

*         No promotion and relegation from U12 and below     

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