Soccer Articles

Things We Should Not Say

by Tony Earp, Senior Director

As a coach, the more I learn about how players process and perceive the information I provide them throughout the year, the more cautious I am about what I say. Many comments that are very commonly heard on the soccer field probably should not be said (for the most part) to a player while they are learning to play the game. Although I will still catch myself saying some of these things from time to time, I have made an effort to stop myself before these comments leave my mouth.

On the surface, many of these seem fine, but when you really think about how a player would hear these comments and process them, there may be better ways to communicate our point.

You’re really talented!

It is nice compliment to give to a player, but it is the wrong message to send. Telling a player, or anyone, that they are talented, can lead them to believe they are just naturally better than most. Although the player may be a talented player, you should recognize what the player has done to become talented. A better compliment to a player would be, “You have worked really hard!” Instead of just recognizing that the player is good, you put the focus on what the player did to achieve that level.

Why is that better? If a player believes they are just “talented”, this is just something they are good at, the first time they are put in a situation where they begin to struggle and do not have much success, how will they react? If they feel they are just talented, they may immediately feel defeated and think, “Well, I guess I am not as talented as I thought.” A player who has been complimented on their work rate and focus would probably be more likely to enjoy the struggle and know that if they just work harder, give themselves more time; they can reach that level as well. In short, that player will be more likely to work through a difficult situation versus just give up when their “talent” is being challenged.

What are you doing!?

When do most players hear this? Yup, right after a mistake. As if the player is going to turn around and say, “I was trying to make a mistake and give the ball away to make it harder on my team to be successful in the hope you would yell across the field and single me out.” In short, this is a common reaction of a coach which does NOTHING to help the player. If you have ever coached, you have probably said this before. I know I have. If our goal is to teach, this is the last thing that should be said to a player.

Instead, something along the lines of, “Next time, can you get your head up a little quicker so you can see your options?” The player does not need it highlighted a mistake was made. A player needs information (coaching) to help them be more successful next time. Coaching is not about just recognizing a mistake is made, but more importantly, helping the player correct it and learn from it.

You know this! I taught you that!

Well, obviously not. Unless the player is doing it, you have not taught it. In addition, not only does the player obviously not understand what you are asking them to do, now they also may start believing they are not smart of enough or have the ability to understand it.

Put yourself in a player’s shoes. When was the last time you were clearly confused, and maybe even a little frustrated, because you did not understand something? Think about that time. Now, how helpful would it have been for someone one to walk up to you and say, “Hey, you know this!” I would assume this would either make you more frustrated or more confused.

I think this would be more helpful for a coach to say to a player, “Remember in training when we worked on…. Well, this is a great opportunity in the game to try…..”

In the end, if the player is showing signs that they do not understand what you are asking them to do, find another way to explain it so the player can understand.

You Can’t do that!

Unless they are breaking the rules of the game, I am not sure if this statement applies much to the game of soccer. The players who we enjoy to watch the most are the players who do things that nobody else has the guts to do, and most likely, would be something a coach would tell a player NOT to do if it did not work the first time.

When players are young, they have to be given the opportunity to try and do things that might not work right away. They need to fail and learn from it. Just because they cannot do it now, does not mean the player may not be able to do it in the future (if given the chance to try).

Let young players experiment in games and try to do difficult things. When they do not work, the player will learn more from being able to try it and fail than from a coach explaining what to do or not to do on the field.

That is not good enough!

Although you are trying to motivate the player to pick up their level of play, I am not sure if this is the best statement to do it. A simple fix would just to make the statement positive versus it being negative.

“You CAN do better than that!”

After hearing this, a player will be much more inclined to try to do better. Instead of just being told what the player is doing is not good enough, you are letting the player know you feel they can do better.

By simply saying “it is not good enough” can make a player to feel the coach believes their level will never be good enough. When people know you believe they can accomplish more, they are much more willing to at least try to prove you right.

If you do that again, I am taking you out!

I left this for last because it is the worst thing a player can hear during a game. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I hear it. Really, if a coach ever says this to a player, they should just take the player out of the game right away, because from that point on, the player will be too scared to do ANYTHING in fear of making a mistake, so the coach will end up taking them out anyway.

A fear free environment is necessary to help a player learn to play the game. Fear is the adversary of creativity and enjoyment. Two critical aspects of learning anything! As soon as the player is scared to fail, there is no point for them to play anymore.

If you are not sure if a child is playing scared, here is a very simple test. Every time a player makes a mistake, what does the player do? If the player keeps playing, that is a good thing. If the player makes a mistake and immediately looks to the sideline at a parent or coach, the player is playing scared. Why? Because they are looking to the sideline to see if an adult is upset with them.

It is important to always choose your words wisely when communicating with young kids and athletes who are trying to improve. Although you may be trying to get the right message across, the delivery of the message can be the reason why it is received or rejected by the player. Just changing the way things are said, what is said, and what is not said, can have a long lasting impact on the players you coach.

Tony Earp
Tony Earp

Director Tony has a Masters in Education from The Ohio State University, is a State Certified teacher, and is a USSF C License coach. Tony was a standout player both academically and athletically at The Ohio State University, earning multiple honors both on the field and in the classroom. Tony's achievements included 2nd Team All Big Ten in 2001 and 2002, serving as Captain in 2002. Tony was named Most Inspirational Player in 2001 and 2002, as well as achieving Scholar Athlete status in those same years. Tony was a member of the 2002 MLS Draft Pool. After playing, Tony was a history teacher at Licking Valley High School in 2005 and at Dublin Scioto High School in 2006. In 2007, Tony Earp accepted a position at SuperKick as the Director of Soccer Training where he continues to serve as the Senior Director of Training managing programs, establishing training curriculums, and coaching athletes. Tony was the Head Coach for Hilliard Bradley High School boys soccer program in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Tony is a Director for Classics Eagles FC and is the Director of the SuperKick Classics Juniors Academy. With 10 years of coaching experience, Tony has developed a reputation of being a coach who motivates players to expect more from themselves and creates a training environment conducive to developing high level players.

Posted by Administrator on Thu, 7 Aug 2014
tags:

If it is Important to You

by Tony Earp, Senior Director

How do we prioritize what we do each day? All of us have things we are forced to do, and all of us have things we want to do. With limited amount of time in a day and so many things to do, it is impossible to do everything. I came across a quote by Dan Gable which I think helps put things in perspective on how to prioritize:

“If it is important, do it every day. If it is not, do not do it at all.” – Dan Gable

I am sure we all have something we tried for a little while and then stopped doing. We told ourselves, “I am going to do this every day.” It was probably something we thought we would enjoy, make us feel better, be healthier, or improve our lives in some small or large way. When we stopped, normally the excuse is that there is just not enough time. There are too many other things that need to get done. In truth, that is not the reason.

When something is truly important to you, you will do it every day (or most days). If it is not important, then there is no way you will stick to it. Honestly, if it is not important, than why waste your precious time doing it?

Applying this to soccer, this is an honest question all players must ask themselves. If soccer is something that is very important to you, then you should practice it every day (in one way or another). If it is not that important, than that is ok, but that has to be something you are honest with yourself about. You play the game, but you cannot overly concern yourself with your level of play, which team you play for, or your overall success on the field. Why? It is really not that important to you, or it is at least not important enough to take up that much of your time. That might sound like a bad thing, but it is not. It is just how you have decided to prioritize your interests.

Yes, I am sure everyone is concerned about their performance and obviously want to do their best, and any player can give their best each time they step on the field. How important that is to you will determine if you do what is necessary to actually impact your level of play and chance to be more successful on the field. Soccer is a sport, a great sport, that is fun and helps keep you healthy and fit. It challenges the mind and allows kids to be part of a team. These are all awesome reasons to play the game, and frankly, the only reason any kid (or adult for that matter) needs to play the game. This is the main reason why most kids will play the game.

But some kids may have dreams and aspirations to play soccer at a more competitive level or be the next “Messi” when they grow up. For those kids, the game is more important to them. It is not more important to the parents or their coach. It is more important to the player. The player wants to do more and wants to see themselves get better. Maybe the game becomes important enough that they play or do something in regards to soccer every day. This is usually true about the people we read books about and watch movie portrayals of their lives, not just in sports, but all aspects of life (business, art, science, music, etc..). These people had a slight obsession with something and it became something important enough that they would do it every day devoting a large portion of their lives in pursuit of their dream. Many more people who we do not know about do the same thing, but never reach their dream or get to that desired level. Despite falling short, I like to believe that they still enjoyed the journey and spending the time doing what they loved.

As an adult, with so many responsibilities, it gets harder to stick with things that are not very important. For example, I really want to learn a second language. I bought Rosetta Stone and made a promise I would spend an hour a day working at it. Not a long time, but I lasted for about two weeks, and at this time, I have not spent anymore time on it. Frankly, I have to make a decision if learning a second language is that important to me or not. If it is, there are no excuses and I need to find an hour a day and stick to my plan. Or perhaps my goal of an hour a day was too lofty, and I set myself up to not reach it. Maybe I should have started with a more moderate goal. Spending 15 minutes a day may have been more manageable and perhaps I would have stuck to it.

One thing nice about being a kid is the average kid does not have as many responsibilities as an adult and probably a little more free time. With this free time, a child can have many “important” things they do every day to explore new ideas, develop new skills, and stretch their ability in any area desired. I am the last one who would advocate for a child only playing one sport at an early age. I think kids should play many sports, try different hobbies, and explore many interests when they have the time to do it. What is important to them will change with age and will change a lot, but that experience allows them to have a better idea of what will be important to them later on. As they get older, their time will become more and more limited and they will need to begin to choose which activities are the most important. What will they later in life that makes up a part of who they are? There will not be enough time to do it all, and if they try to do it all, how well will they do any one thing? Normally, when stretched too thin and there is too much on our plate, something will suffer and not get the needed attention.

In the end, we all need to find the important things we do that makes us happy and help us grow as people. We do it because it makes us feel better and we do it because we want to be better at it. It can be anything. For players who aspire to play soccer at a high level or just play because it is fun, soccer may be one of those things. Soccer is something they want to do as it makes them happy, not only when they are successful, but simply because they get to do it and like how it makes them feel.

Tony Earp
Tony Earp

Director Tony has a Masters in Education from The Ohio State University, is a State Certified teacher, and is a USSF C License coach. Tony was a standout player both academically and athletically at The Ohio State University, earning multiple honors both on the field and in the classroom. Tony's achievements included 2nd Team All Big Ten in 2001 and 2002, serving as Captain in 2002. Tony was named Most Inspirational Player in 2001 and 2002, as well as achieving Scholar Athlete status in those same years. Tony was a member of the 2002 MLS Draft Pool. After playing, Tony was a history teacher at Licking Valley High School in 2005 and at Dublin Scioto High School in 2006. In 2007, Tony Earp accepted a position at SuperKick as the Director of Soccer Training where he continues to serve as the Senior Director of Training managing programs, establishing training curriculums, and coaching athletes. Tony was the Head Coach for Hilliard Bradley High School boys soccer program in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Tony is a Director for Classics Eagles FC and is the Director of the SuperKick Classics Juniors Academy. With 10 years of coaching experience, Tony has developed a reputation of being a coach who motivates players to expect more from themselves and creates a training environment conducive to developing high level players.

Posted by Administrator on Wed, 23 Apr 2014
tags:

Can you Keep the Ball?

by Tony Earp, Senior Director

It is the number one question. A player must have the technical, tactical, physical, and psychological ability to keep the ball when a pass is not immediately available and under pressure. Keeping the ball can be done by dribbling into space, turning away from pressure, shielding, and being able to move the ball quickly between both feet to never allow the defender a chance to touch the ball away. A player must have excellent control of the ball under pressure, tremendous foot speed, and use their body efficiently to protect the ball from the defender and create space from the defender. Simply, if the defender cannot reach the soccer ball, the defender cannot take the ball.

Composure (being relaxed) is very important with trying to keep the ball. When players panic, they rush and make bad decisions with the ball, normally trying to FORCE it through a defender or into an area of the field they have no support. Instead, if the player is confident on the ball, the player can quickly move it comfortably between both feet, and use their body to protect the ball, the player can give themselves more time and space with the ball to make decisions and find a good option. Doing this allows the player to maintain possession of the ball, and a teammate time to get into position to support the player with the ball before it is turned over. As soon as a player has the ball, it is easy to tell how comfortable the player is with the ball. Does the player tense up? Stand too upright? Lose their balance? Look rushed or unsure of what to do next? Does the head go straight down and stay there.

Being able and willing to play in any direction at any time is another key to keeping the ball. Players need to be able to change direction while moving with the ball using different parts of the feet. Often players play in one direction; directly to goal! Although I love the desire to get to goal, straight ahead is often not the easiest way to get to goal as defenders are taught to defend the “dangerous” area of the field which is normally in the middle of the field. This requires a player to be able to move in any direction with the ball at a moment’s notice. If a player feels limited and has to go forward, it is much easier for a defender to win the ball. When moving away from pressure, the ball needs to be cut into an area the player can protect the ball with their body and ideally to the other foot farthest from the defender (similar to dribbling a basketball). This is often when players will lose the ball. Although they change direction quickly, the ball is cut into an area that the player cannot protect it with their body and the defender is able to step between the attacking player and the ball. Players tend to dribble with their dominant foot even if it is closer to the defender. The ball must be put in an area where it is difficult for the defender to reach it.

Here is where the player must be effective at using their body, especially with their arms, to hold a defender off their body and away from the ball. It is critical the player on the ball stays low, keeps their feet shoulder width a part to provide good balance and making it hard to push them over while keeping the ball on the foot farthest from the defender. The attacking player needs to use their body to keep the defender away from the ball to prevent the defender from physically being able to reach the ball. When players shield the ball, they should keep their hips lower than the defender’s hips, use their arms to make themselves bigger, to control the defender, and to try to create space from the defender to turn as soon as they can.

It is hard to keep the ball when under direct pressure with little room to play. Players have to be exceptional at protecting the ball with their body and continuously move to hold the ball for just a couple of seconds. With this in mind, players need to be more physical while trying to keep the ball. Often, playing aggressive is only thought about when a player is on defense, but being physically aggressive is just as important when the player has the ball. My challenge to players is can they physically control the defender and not allow the defender to push them off the ball. Can they be just as physical on the attacking side of the ball? Being a physically tough player on the ball can frustrate a defender very quickly. This frustration can cause a defender to lunge at the ball or give up an unnecessary foul. Both of which make keeping possession of the ball easier.

There are physical and technical differences in all players. Some will be more physical or technical than others. Players need to figure out, based on their strengths, how they can protect the ball from a defender while working on improving their weaknesses. Bigger players will be able to hold off defenders with more ease and may not have to move the ball as quickly, while smaller players, who are not as strong, need to use their bodies very efficiently and keep the ball moving quickly to avoid a long physical confrontation.

In a game, a player rarely has to try to hold the ball for an extended period of time, but being able to hold the ball briefly provides more time to make a good decision on the ball to help avoid losing possession. The more players think about moving in all directions with the ball versus just straight ahead and use their body efficiently to protect the ball, the more success they will have keeping possession of the ball in games.

Featured Video

Diamond Dribble Play Video
Tony Earp
Tony Earp

Director Tony has a Masters in Education from The Ohio State University, is a State Certified teacher, and is a USSF C License coach. Tony was a standout player both academically and athletically at The Ohio State University, earning multiple honors both on the field and in the classroom. Tony's achievements included 2nd Team All Big Ten in 2001 and 2002, serving as Captain in 2002. Tony was named Most Inspirational Player in 2001 and 2002, as well as achieving Scholar Athlete status in those same years. Tony was a member of the 2002 MLS Draft Pool. After playing, Tony was a history teacher at Licking Valley High School in 2005 and at Dublin Scioto High School in 2006. In 2007, Tony Earp accepted a position at SuperKick as the Director of Soccer Training where he continues to serve as the Senior Director of Training managing programs, establishing training curriculums, and coaching athletes. Tony was the Head Coach for Hilliard Bradley High School boys soccer program in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Tony is a Director for Classics Eagles FC and is the Director of the SuperKick Classics Juniors Academy. With 10 years of coaching experience, Tony has developed a reputation of being a coach who motivates players to expect more from themselves and creates a training environment conducive to developing high level players.

Posted by Administrator on Wed, 23 Apr 2014
tags:

Youth Sports Reality Show

by Tony Earp, Senior Director

Like many people, I enjoy sitting down and watching The Bachelor when it is on each year. I feel fine admitting that I watch that show, as I know exactly why I find it so entertaining and baffling. It is ABSURD! It is that absurdity that makes me set my DVR each week to make sure I do not miss a second of the ridiculousness that is sure to unfold. From the people, comments made, fights, “problems” and just about everything else, it is very far outside of the realm of anything that could even be mistaken as real life. The thought I have all the time while watching is… When would this be OK in ANY other circumstance? One guy openly dating multiple women who A) know about it B) live with one another and C) act like they like one another (sometimes) would NEVER happen outside of this television show, and that is ok, it is TV so it is expected and fun to watch.

For some reason though, youth sporting events can turn into their own version of the Bachelor or have the feeling of a reality show because it seems some people tend to lose a grip on reality, perspective, and what is really suppose to be going on during a game. You watch and get that uncomfortable feeling when you really want to change the channel or look away, but you cannot stop watching the spectacle that is unfolding right in front of you.

People’s actions, which seem to be tolerated and accepted as normal at a youth sporting event, would be seen as immature, irrational, delusional, and borderline dangerous in most other social situations. Why do certain people seem to step into some type of warped alternate universe when sitting on the sideline of a youth game? An alternate universe when it is ok to scream at the top of your lungs irrationally at a kid. An alternate universe when it is ok to degrade another adult with constant badgering of their job performance. An alternate universe where the result is a life altering event for all involved. An alternate universe where self respect is a distant second to winning.

When I am at youth sporting events and I watch the behavior of some parents on the sideline and some coaches working with the kids, I often have the same thought I do when watching the Bachelor. When would this be tolerated in any other circumstance? Are these people really like this all the time? I feel like that would be an exhausting way to live. Flying off the handle anytime something does not go your way and deciding the only way to resolve the issue is by screaming at another adult or a child. Is this how these people are at work or around the house? When they go to the grocery store, do they rip into someone who accidentally bumps into their cart? Are you serious! Open your eyes! I am never coming here again!

At home or at school, would it not look a little strange, and probably be frowned upon, to constantly bark instructions to kids as they do any task? Picture a kid walking to their class and an adult following them yelling,

“Walk faster. Hurry! You’re going to be late. Get a drink at the water fountain. Hurry before that other kid gets there! Oh, come on you could have gotten there first! Do you want a drink or not!? You got to want it more! You’re faster than that kid. Ok, find your seat! Really, that is where the teacher has you sit?! That’s not where you can do your best. Get your pencil out! Look, the teacher is writing something on the board. Write it down! Faster! That word is spelled wrong! You know the E is silent! Erase it! That is not how you erase! Raise your hard! Answer the question! Seriously, that was your answer?! You know that was not correct, we went over that last night for an hour! You need to focus!”

Again, this is something I would expect to see on TV as part of show, but would be pretty shocked to witness it go on in real life. Although, you will commonly hear a very similar chain of dialogue from the sidelines at a game from an adult directed to a child.

Sometimes at youth games I look around for a camera crew half expecting to see one. At times, I am convinced a reality show is being filmed and the more theatrical people are, the more likely they will be renewed for one more season. If Toddlers and Tiaras can have a show, why can’t we?

I am just waiting for TV executives to figure out that sidelines at youth sporting events may be some of the greatest undiscovered entertainment out there. Friday Night Tikes may be just the tip of the iceberg. If you have some time, check out YouTube for adults behaving badly at sporting events and you will be amazed, or sadly maybe not, by what you find. Honestly, it is pretty entertaining (not for the kids or adults who had to deal with it). You will be watching and thinking the same thing as me, “This can’t be real?!” Hopefully your reaction is not, “I do not see why this is a big deal. Clearly the official missed that call.”

While kids are competing and trying to enjoy playing a sport, adults cannot be allowed to take over the game with behavior that would not be tolerated in any other circumstance. To this day, I have never seen or heard of a situation where a parent or coach lost control and it was justified. After all is said and done, no one is ever standing around saying, “You know I am glad that parent constantly screamed at the referee. The referee would have continued making the wrong calls if that parent did not speak up!” or “I am glad the coach was screaming at the players the entire game. It made the game more fun for them.”

My college roommate would always say, “Win with pride and lose with dignity.” He played this way on the field and expected others around him to approach the game the same way. From his teammates, coaches, and his parents, he believed any game should never turn into anything other than a competition decided on the field. Some things are out of our control, but we are always in control of how we respond and act. Since we are in control, we need to hold ourselves accountable for how we respond. As an adult at a youth sporting event I would judge my actions based on the following question: Are my actions making this a safe and fun environment for the kids to play?

There are so many awesome things that can be done in sports that cannot be done in other circumstances. When was the last time you did something and everyone huddled around you cheering? When was the last time you made a mistake and you had an entire team of people tell you, “You’ll get it next time.” How often do we get to work hard with a group of friends to try to accomplish something you could not do on your own? These are the things that should be celebrated at youth sporting events. These are the things that are uncommon in our everyday lives that do not get to happen very often. It is the break from reality that the kids DO NEED. Our only job as adults is to make sure the kids get to experience those things all the time, as in the future, when they are older like us, it will not be something that happens every day.

So in the end, maybe youth sports should be an escape from reality, but for the kids, not the adults. As adults, we have the responsibility to live up to our responsibilities while letting the kids get the opportunity to experience being a kid. Let us leave the “crazy” for the reality shows we see on TV where the people are paid to lose sight of what is really important.

Featured Video

Push Pull Forward Back & Pull Side to Side – Single Foot Play Video
Tony Earp
Tony Earp

Director Tony has a Masters in Education from The Ohio State University, is a State Certified teacher, and is a USSF C License coach. Tony was a standout player both academically and athletically at The Ohio State University, earning multiple honors both on the field and in the classroom. Tony's achievements included 2nd Team All Big Ten in 2001 and 2002, serving as Captain in 2002. Tony was named Most Inspirational Player in 2001 and 2002, as well as achieving Scholar Athlete status in those same years. Tony was a member of the 2002 MLS Draft Pool. After playing, Tony was a history teacher at Licking Valley High School in 2005 and at Dublin Scioto High School in 2006. In 2007, Tony Earp accepted a position at SuperKick as the Director of Soccer Training where he continues to serve as the Senior Director of Training managing programs, establishing training curriculums, and coaching athletes. Tony was the Head Coach for Hilliard Bradley High School boys soccer program in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Tony is a Director for Classics Eagles FC and is the Director of the SuperKick Classics Juniors Academy. With 10 years of coaching experience, Tony has developed a reputation of being a coach who motivates players to expect more from themselves and creates a training environment conducive to developing high level players.

Posted by Administrator on Wed, 8 Jan 2014
tags:

Finishing

by Tony Earp, Senior Director

Finishing and striking the ball on goal is one of the hardest things to do in the game. Most players do not have enough technique to strike the ball consistently the way they want to have a better chance to score a goal. This does not mean just striking the ball hard with the laces. Most players overtime learn to strike a decent ball with this part of their foot as they develop and get older/stronger/more coordinated. Ball striking, and being a good finisher, requires being able to hit the ball in many different ways to get the ball to do many different things.

When it comes to striking the ball, I always refer to golf as I feel many of the principles are the same. Try to play a round of golf only using your driver. Great golfers are skilled using different clubs and hitting different types of shots. Most soccer players try to score only with their driver, and sometimes it is the right “club”, but there are many other times when they needed to try a different shot to score.

The players focused on the proper technique to strike a ball with the laces, outside of the foot, inside of the foot, and to chip the ball. There is not going to be a lot of improvement in any one of these areas unless players practice to do them on their own (before practice, at home, etc…).

A player should start with repeatedly striking the ball at a wall using different parts of the foot hitting different parts of the ball. This allows for a lot of repetitions with both feet and different parts of the foot. Although a shot is broken down into three pieces 1) Approach, 2) Point of Contact, and 3) Follow through, I tell players the point of contact is the most important. All influence the quality of the shot, but unless the player hits the right part of the ball with the right part of the foot, nothing else will really matter. The approach and follow through help the player be more consistent in this area, but in a game, it is rare that at game speed, under pressure, with limited time, that a player can strike a ball using “textbook” form and technique.

For this reason, here are the main points I want players to focus on:

  • Head is down at the point of contact. Like a novice golfer, players tend to pick their head up to quickly to try to see their shot.
  • THINK ABOUT the position of their foot. They have to do this at this point. It needs to be something they are focusing on through the shot. Most of the time, players swing the leg through and are focusing on other things. For me, this is critical to keep the foot in the right position. Until it is natural and can be done subconsciously, it needs to be a point of focus.
  • See a small part of the ball to hit, not the whole ball. Have a very specific spot to try to hit and try to hit it. Often players are just looking at the entire ball and do not give themselves a point of reference for contact.

I know there are other coaching points like do not lean back, do not reach for the ball, follow through and land on your shooting foot. All valid and great coaching points as not doing these things make it harder to hit the ball properly. With that said, it is possible to hit a very good shot on goal to score while not doing those things but it just makes it harder.

Players cannot just WANT to be better at finishing. It takes a tremendous amount of practice and time. Often, the better finishers in a game are also the players who have the most control of the ball and are creative. These players have the ability to make the ball do what they need to, and the players are willing to try shots that others do not to try to beat the goalkeeper. While most players are nervous to do anything except hit the ball hard (I was one of these players), the creative player does not mind trying to chip or bend the ball around the GK when needed or just simply pass the ball in the corner with the inside or outside of the foot.

Featured Video

Striking with the Laces Play Video
Tony Earp
Tony Earp

Director Tony has a Masters in Education from The Ohio State University, is a State Certified teacher, and is a USSF C License coach. Tony was a standout player both academically and athletically at The Ohio State University, earning multiple honors both on the field and in the classroom. Tony's achievements included 2nd Team All Big Ten in 2001 and 2002, serving as Captain in 2002. Tony was named Most Inspirational Player in 2001 and 2002, as well as achieving Scholar Athlete status in those same years. Tony was a member of the 2002 MLS Draft Pool. After playing, Tony was a history teacher at Licking Valley High School in 2005 and at Dublin Scioto High School in 2006. In 2007, Tony Earp accepted a position at SuperKick as the Director of Soccer Training where he continues to serve as the Senior Director of Training managing programs, establishing training curriculums, and coaching athletes. Tony was the Head Coach for Hilliard Bradley High School boys soccer program in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Tony is a Director for Classics Eagles FC and is the Director of the SuperKick Classics Juniors Academy. With 10 years of coaching experience, Tony has developed a reputation of being a coach who motivates players to expect more from themselves and creates a training environment conducive to developing high level players.

Posted by Administrator on Fri, 8 Nov 2013
tags:

LATEST NEWS

SuperKick Summer Camps!

Join Our Email Newsletter →