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NCSA SPRING 2020 SEASON / COVID-19 UPDATE

April 16, 2020

 

To NCSA Clubs, Coaches, Managers, Players, Parents, Referees, and our NCSA Community:

As we have communicated previously, the Board of Directors of the NCSA continues to hold weekly virtual meetings to assess the evolving impact of COVID-19 on our soccer lives.  We have committed that as decisions are finalized, we will communicate them to you.  We continue to monitor and follow the directives of federal, state and local government authorities as well as the governing bodies of soccer entities under whose authority we play.

As the “stay at home” and social distancing requirements continued, NCSA continued to postpone the start of the season and considered several options for shortening the season.  Our intent has always been to maintain an opportunity for the children to resume a sense of normal activity when and if safely permitted.  We developed alternate plans to start play anywhere from May 10 through May 31 depending upon circumstances.  We determined that a minimum 5 game schedule required us to start play no later than May 31 in order to finish before the July 4th weekend.

The now likely closure of schools through the end of the current academic year makes all of these scenarios very unlikely.  We also realize that many parents are fearful of placing their children into a situation in which social distancing cannot be accomplished, even if schools are reopened.  In this time of great uncertainty, we are hearing that parents want the certainty of knowing that they do not need to make this choice for their children.

In order that we can start to look forward, and putting the health & safety of our players, parents, coaches, managers, referees, and entire NCSA community first, we have decided on the following:

SPRING 2020 SEASON CANCELLED

NCSA Spring 2020 season is officially cancelled.  However, all passes issued will remain valid.  If circumstances permit (fields are open, teams have sufficient players), NCSA will support typical forms of play (tournaments, friendlies) as well as creative methods of getting the children on the field (host a festival on one or more fields among NCSA teams, combining multiple levels within an age group or multiple age groups to have sufficient players, 11v11 teams playing 7v7 or other small sided).  Please understand that in order to be a “sanctioned” event to which passes and therefore insurance applies, arrangements need to be made through NCSA to sanction the games and assign the officials.  IF YOU WISH APPLICABLE LIABILITY INSURANCE AND SECONDARY MEDICAL INSURANCE TO APPLY, the “event” (game, friendly, scrimmage, whatever you call it) must be sanctioned by NCSA and players and coaches must be carded, even if normal “team” rules are relaxed by NCSA for such an event; per USSF, only a USSF Referee Assignor may assign officials to the event.  NCSA will absorb all costs associated with scheduling the game and officials, but the teams will still pay the officials.  Standard timetables for scheduling will not be applicable, but don’t expect to get sanctioning/officials on 2 hours advance notice.  We believe it is highly unlikely that this will be allowed to happen this Spring, but if safely permitted by state and local authorities as well as the governing bodies of soccer, we will do our best to make this available to our soccer community.  If this becomes a possibility, NCSA will provide more guidance.

FALL 2020 REGISTRATION

While many still hope that some youth soccer will be played before the Fall, we all need to plan ahead.  We recognize that some predict that even Fall play may not occur.  Clubs may be faced with difficulty in determining who can or will play and if teams should be registered.  Teams moving from smaller format to larger format (7v7 to 9v9 and 9v9 to 11v11) are also challenged with the need for more players for the team roster.  NCSA is committed to working with all clubs to solve these concerns.

We all look forward to getting back on the field as soon as possible once it is safe to do so.  NCSA will serve its clubs with as much flexibility as possible to help everyone get through this unprecedented event.  It is our sincere hope that everyone stays safe and healthy and that we maintain our shared desire to Enjoy the Beautiful Game as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

NCSA Board of Directors

 

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April 8, 2020

Dear NCSA Clubs, coaches, players and families;

In these challenging times the Board of Directors of the NCSA continues to hold weekly virtual meetings to assess the evolving impact of COVID-19 on our soccer lives.  We have committed that as decisions are finalized we will communicate them transparently with you.  In our most recent virtual meeting held last evening the following decisions were made:

NCSA Cup

With the uncertainty of when New Jersey and New York schools may reopen, and potential scheduling conflicts with NCSA league games and potentially other spring sports, the NCSA Board of Directors is cancelling the Spring 2020 NCSA Cup.  All teams that registered to compete in the NCSA Cup this spring will be refunded 100% of the entry fee back to the credit card used when registering.  Please allow 7-10 days for this credit to appear on your account.

NCSA Scholarships

The Board of Directors of the NCSA is pleased to announce that we are bringing back our scholarship program for high school athletes looking to move onto post-HS education.  Details of the scholarships and how to apply will be released later this week and posted on www.ncsanj.com and sent to all Club Presidents and team coaches.

NCSA Spring Season

The Board of Directors continues to monitor announcements in both New Jersey and New York as they pertain to the potential lifting of current “shelter in place” directives.  Further, we have developed and will continue to modify plans for an abbreviated Spring Season.  Clearly as the weeks pass, the odds of having a spring Season are reduced.  For this reason we will continue to meet on a weekly basis and modify plans accordingly.  If at any point there is more clarity around the start of a Spring Season or the possible need to cancel the Spring Season, we will communicate those decisions timely with all clubs.

Please stay well and stay safe.

Regards,

NCSA, Board of Directors

 

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April 2, 2020

 

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE NCSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

COVID-19 Update: 4/2/2020

Clubs, Coaches, Managers, Players, Parents, Referees, and our NCSA Community,

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the communication from our local, state & federal government about social distancing, along with guidance from US Club Soccer, NCSA is extending its postponement of all affiliated soccer activities through at least May 1.

Our primary focus continues to be the safety and welfare of our players, coaches, referees and the soccer communities we serve. We hope that a safe return to soccer is not too far away and we will continue to monitor this situation. We remain determined to try to get the kids back on the field as soon as safely possible. We commit to our clubs, players, coaches, parents and referees that we will continue to communicate our plans as decisions are finalized.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we wish all of you good health and safety! Please continue to follow all government guidelines to help fight this pandemic.

Stay safe,

Dennis J. Burns President

Northern Counties Soccer Association

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

March 27, 2020

 

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE NCSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

UPDATE BASED ON LATEST NEWS FROM GOVERNOR MURPHY

COVID-19 Update: 3/27/2020

  

Clubs, Coaches, Managers, Players, Parents, Referees, and our NCSA Community,

Given new information released yesterday afternoon from Governor Murphy concerning current, tentative timelines for consideration of opening schools, our anticipated start date of April 19 looks unlikely. Undoubtedly each day or two there will be more information that may provide more clarity on the status of the Spring season. As stated in our update n 3/25/2020, the NCSA Board is meeting (virtually)on a weekly basis to review all factors and plans for the spring. We are determined to try to get the kids back on the field as soon as safely possible. We commit to our clubs, players, coaches, parents andreferees that we will continue to communicate our plans as decisions are finalized.

In the meantime, please stay safe and follow all government guidelines to help fight this pandemic.

 

Stay safe,

Dennis J. Burns

President

Northern Counties Soccer Association

 

 

March 25, 2020

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IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE NCSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

START OF SEASON POSTPONED TO APRIL 19, 2020

 

 

Clubs, Coaches, Managers, Players, Parents, Referees, and our NCSA Community,

 

With the increase in cases of the COVID-19 virus in the New Jersey and New York area and based on the guidance we have received from local health agencies, NCSA has postponed the start of our season to April 19, 2020. We are in unchartered waters with this global pandemic and hopefully over the next few weeks we can begin to get back to a new normal. The safety of our players, coaches, parents, referees and our NCSA community are our number one priority. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation and will send out additional alerts as needed to keep you all informed.

 

Details concerning the rescheduling of games will be communicated directly with Club Officials. We will not be processing requests to schedule games until the league has communicated with clubs the specific process that will be used.

 

It is our hope that in the coming weeks we will have more clarity on the entire situation and be able to provide more updates on the status of the Spring season.

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GAME CHANGES and GAME SCHEDULE INFO

Game Changes must be submitted through the club representative via our on-line game change function. All changes (placing games on the schedule and taking games off the schedule) must be submitted no later than 11 am Monday for upcoming weekend (Saturday or Sunday games). All changes for other days must be 5 days in advance - for example, scheduling or moving Friday games must be submitted by 11 am Sunday. Coaches -- DO NOT EMAIL GAMES CHAIRS ABOUT CHANGING GAMES!

HOW DO I CHANGE A GAME?

That depends on its current listing and the reason. While NCSA Rules specify all the requirements, this is a "plain language" explantion of NCSA Rule Section 5.3 and all its subparts:

What if the game is a TBS or otherwise not currently scheduled? It takes the two coaches to AGREE on a date and time with field being designated by the home team's club. The agreement should be in writing (email). Either team's club rep can submit the requested date. To avoid a late submission fee, the request must be submitted at least 5 days in advance (Monday 11 am for following Saturday or Sunday play); amount of late fee increases as submission is later and later. See Rule 5.3.7

What if the game is scheduled already? Then it depends on the reason for postponement.
If the reason is STATE CUP, this is known well in advance and the request to mark the game TBS(SC) must be submitted by the Club Rep 5 days before the game is currently scheduled.
If the reason is FIELD CONDEMNATION due to WEATHER, there are strict timing rules on the teams' obligations, including possibly playing at the Vistor Team's field being required. But if the condemnation is less than 24 hours before game time, which is more typical, then a coach must notify the opposing coach and the Games Chairs (preferably by Club Rep for all that Club's games on that field to minimize communications). See Rule 5.3.6 for full information.
If the reason is ANYTHING ELSE (other than rare exceptions in Rule 5.3.1), it is considered a change for CONVENIENCE under Rule 5.3.8. Such a change requires AGREEMENT of both coaches for a SPECIFIC date, time and field submitted together with the request to postpone. The postponement can not be to a TBS for later scheduling. Again, the timing rules require specific advance submission with added fees for late submision and a change fee which varies in amount.

Moving a Game "Earlier in the season" was developed especially for high school-age teams who wish to move their June games earlier in the season so they have players before exams, proms and end of school activities interfere. Moving a game earlier fora $10 fee does not constitute moving a game "earlier in the day", "by a day" or earlier "by a week", but by several weeks or a month, as explained during Club Rep meeting.

Coaches often ask for fee waivers and exceptions. Games Chairs have heard all these excuses before. Except for extreme situations such as death of a player/parent/coach, there are no extreme circumstances permitting waivers and exceptions. The full procedure for submitting game changes is contained in Rule 5.3.9.

WHAT DO I DO IF OPPOSING COACH DOESN'T RESPOND TO ME IN ORDER TO RESCHEDULE GAME?
1. First step if opposing coach doesn't respond to you is to have your club rep contact opposing club rep to try and reschedule game.
2. If that doesn't work, contact your NCSA Division Commissioner.
3. Always keep email chain for proof of date time line.

WHAT DO ALL THOSE ABBREVIATIONS MEAN?

TBS means "To Be Scheduled"
The letters in parentheses after the TBS let us know the reason for the TBS.
TBS(L) means "League" - for example, all 3/22 games are listed as TBS(L) as we do not expect clubs to have fields open by that date. Games can be played before 3/29 opening date if weather and field conditions permit AND if proper rescheduling is submitted by the CLUB REP.
TBS(H) means the Home Team requested not to play on that date, perhaps because of a school vacation impacting number of players available, or some other event preventing fielding a team.
TBS(V) means the Visiting Team requested not to play on that date, for similar or any reason.
TBS(B) means Both teams requested not to play on that date.
TBS(F) means the Field is not known; perhaps the home team had a field permit taken away or had some other conflict preventing the scheduling of a time and field.
TBS(R) means Rain or any weather condition prevented the game from being played.
TBS(SC) means State Cup for one of the teams caused a postponement.
TBS(MBOS) only occurs in a top level full-sided flight of 8 teams; in such a flight, after the first 7 weeks of play, whether the round robin of games is completed or not, an additional 3 game round robin occurs within the top 4 and within the bottom 4 teams - these games are designated MBOS for Matches Based On Standings.

F1 is the default field upon original scheduling - they remain as F1 until a real time and field is first assigned.

TBS games are NOT scheduled games; all TBS games carry (or should carry) a designated time of 12:00 am (midnight) or 1:00 am (which time is assigned simply allows the games chairs to track who entered the data) - only games that have a real time and a real field (CLUB-Field Name abbreviation) are games that have refs assigned and only those games may be played.

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IMPORTANT RULES AND CHECKLIST UPDATES FOR COACHES

Updated NCSA Rules of Competition for the Spring 2016 season have been posted to the NCSA website.  Below is a short summary of some of the most notable changes.  NOTE: This is NOT a full account of the changes so please be sure to review the full Rules of Competition documents online here before the start of the season. 

Team Rosters:

3.5.b NEW Verification and Watermark Procedure of Official US Club NCSA Roster

This update in procedures was announced previously and the full procedure outline is available online (copy this link into your browser: http://www.ncsanj.com/formsView.cfm?form_id=190 )  Please be sure that your team has a watermarked roster to utilize for the Spring season.  The deadline for submitting a roster for use for a weekend game is Thursday at 9pm.  Your game will NOT be played if you do not have a watermarked NCSA roster. 

 

Coach Passes:

3.6.a US CLUB SOCCER guidelines

Each coach must have a valid pass for each club they coach/train/manage within NCSA.  (Example: If a coach is involved with two different NCSA clubs, they will need two passes, one for each club.)

 

Heading and Head Injuries:

5.10.9: NCSA will adhere to the U.S. Soccer recommendation, and US Club requirement, to eliminate heading the ball with all U11 and younger teams.  When a player deliberately heads the ball in a U11 and younger game, an indirect free kick (IFK) will be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. 

6.9.1: FOR ALL AGE GROUPS: US Club Soccer requires the immediate removal of any player who sustains a significant blow to the head or body, who complains about or who is showing symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion. That player will not be permitted to play again unless cleared by a Healthcare Professional as defined in the rule.

 

Red Card Player/Coach Suspensions:

3.5.b  When a player or coach is issued a red card, all coaches in that game (including any red carded coach) are responsible (a) to notify the club’s president and club representative of the red card and (b) not to permit that red-carded player or coach to participate in any NCSA game until the decision by the Games Conduct Committee (GCC) is issued and the suspension is served.   (Reminder: A red card carries a minimum one game suspension.)  Per rule 8.2.5, Suspension of player or coach is for all on-field NCSA sanctioned activities until the suspension has been satisfied for the team which they were carded or the team they were coaching/playing or misconduct occurred at time of suspension.  (Example: If an individual is a coach for Team A and Team B and is suspended with Team A, they are not permitted to coach Team B until their suspension has been served with Team A.)

Referees and the league will be checking game documents to be sure that suspended players or coaches are not participating. The penalties for being caught using a suspended player or coach are serious. 

 

Players Playing Up:

4.5 TEMPORARY "PLAYING UP"

If a player has played up to the same team four times, the player is then bound to that higher flight/age team for the remainder of the season and must be removed from their original lower flight/age team US Club NCSA roster and added to the higher flight/age team US Club NCSA roster in which they played up more than the 3 times allowed.  You must remove them from the lower flighted roster, add them to the higher flight/age team, and submit a new roster to the league for watermarking.

 

Game Changes:

5.3.8 Changes to Original Schedule

There will be a $50 dollar fee charged to the requesting team for changes to the originally scheduled game date and time, or a re-scheduled game date and time, submitted within 5 days to 7 days prior to the currently scheduled or rescheduled date, whichever is earlier; the fee is $20 if submitted 8 or more days prior to the currently scheduled or rescheduled date, whichever is earlier, except as set forth above in sections 5.3.4, 5.3.5, and 5.3.6.

 

Field Closings:

5.3.6 Local Field Condemnation

It is no longer mandatory to move to opponent’s local field but is permitted per guidelines in the rule.  Additionally, it is mandatory to play on alternate home field at same starting time or 30 minutes before or after originally scheduled game time with at least 3 hours’ notice. 

 

Referee Checklist:

In addition to the updated Rules of Competition, an updated Coach Checklist has been posted online.  It is very important that coaches follow each step so that games can be played and teams/coaches are complying with all league policies and procedures.  The document can be found online here in the Forms Download section of the NCSA website.

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Instructions for Coach Menu After Log In

There is a new left side menu. There are 2 “parent” menu choices labeled PERSONAL INFORMATION and TEAM MANAGEMENT. Clicking a parent menu item will display the sub-menu choices discussed below. Just above the left side menu it should say “Welcome” and your name. If you have multiple roles, this is where you would switch roles.

PERSONAL INFORMATION – Edit Password

This is the section where you modify your password. Remove all black dots. You must type in the assigned password in the "current password" section.

PERSONAL INFORMATION – Edit Personal Data

This is the section where you edit your address, phone numbers and one email address. Remember to hit “Save” at the bottom. You are not permitted to edit the name.

TEAM MANAGEMENT – Match Day Form (MANDATORY for EACH team)

EACH team must submit its own Match Day Form.

First, if you coach multiple teams – either as head coach or assistant coach in NCSA records, there will be a drop down box listing those teams from which you select the team and then click “Get Games”. If you coach only one team according to NCSA records, your list of games will appear when you click the menu item “Match Day Form”. The Match Day Form is required only for NCSA games.

Second, the entire list of games will appear for the team selected or the only team you coach. The game number in the left column is in blue and is able to be clicked from any time before the game through 24 hours after the game. After that time, you may no longer edit the Match Day Form; however, the right column will display “View”, which may be clicked to view the completed form. IMPORTANT: WAIT UNTIL 1-2 DAYS PRIOR TO THE GAME TO CREATE THE MATCH DAY FORM SO ALL REFEREE INFO IS INCLUDED FOR THAT GAME.

Third, once you click a game number to create a Match Day Form, a form “wizard” displays to guide you to completing the form:
(a) The name of a coach listed in NCSA records as coaching this team will be pre-populated into one of four spaces for coaches – coach names can be removed and replaced – you may add names to a total of 4 permitted coaches per rules – this procedure will eliminate the illegible names on a majority of previously submitted forms;
(b) You must then answer if any players are playing up – it is preset as “no” - if you change it to “yes”, a section will appear for you to list the player’s name, the player’s pass number, uniform number (enhancement in process) and the team from which the player is playing up – again, this procedure will eliminate the illegible names previously written on US Club rosters (you may NOT write names on US club roster forms any longer) – the “add another player” lets you add additional players playing up according to NCSA rules - the teams listed (playing up from) in the drop down are only those teams from which a player may play up – this will eliminate the numerous situations where players improperly played for a team. IF A TEAM IS NOT LISTED IN THIS DROP DOWN, THEN A PLAYER ON THAT TEAM MAY NOT PLAY UP TO YOUR TEAM.
(c) When you are done, remember to click “Save and View/Print” and a PDF version of the form will appear for printing – note that the form will have extra lines for writing in players who are recruited last minute to play up - we understand coaches are accustomed to seeking additional players on a last minute basis and those names, pass numbers, uniform numbers and team playing up from must be entered for the referee – for this season, we are permitting/requiring coaches to return to the form WITHIN 24 HOURS of game time and you MUST add players who did in fact play up on game day. How do we monitor compliance? Referees will report if any players played up and if so, how many. A report compares the numbers reported by coaches and referees and lets us know where they do not match. If you find that you improperly used a player to play up, report it immediately to your division commissioner – your reporting of the infraction will lessen any penalties that would apply.

Fourth, there are many new features on the Match Day Form:
(a) The upper left section is already completed based upon the game number listing date, time, field, teams and flight – this solves the issue of often incomplete information.
(b) The officials’ names are printed on the form provided they are already assigned – for that reason we recommend that you WAIT until Friday to print a form for that weekend – by that time, 98% of all matches have been assigned and accepted.
(c) The upper right portion listing game times, size of ball and referee fees now contains a highlighted section for the flight of the game.
(d) The upper right also displays which team is providing this Match Day Form – EACH team provides one – the delays typical to incomplete and unsigned forms should be solved by each team providing a form – if you do not have your form, referees have been instructed not to permit the game to proceed per NCSA rules.
(e) The coaches are listed here based upon what was recorded by you.
(f) The players playing up are listed (name, pass number, uniform number, team) and you may hand write such information for this season – remember to go back to complete the same information online within 24 hours.

TEAM MANAGEMENT – Score Entry

Scores are no longer reported via external websites or via email or telephone. The same rules apply as to who reports the score (winning team, home team if a draw), but both teams have the ability to enter a score. The same 4 hour rule applies, but for now the ability to enter a score ends after 24 hours. While we are tracking timeliness of score reporting, at this time we are allowing additional time without fines. If you miss the 24 hour window, contact your division commissioner.

NOTE: Games do not show until after they are played.
(a) Enter scores for each team.
(b) If a team was not at the field with minimum number of players within 15 minute of game time, click “yes” and indicate which team (rare situation).
(c) If one of the officials did not appear, click “yes” – this allows us to follow up with officiating crews to determine who was missing and why.
(d) You may enter a short comment for the division commissioner.
(e) You may enter scores only once – if a score is wrong, email your division commissioner.
When done, click “Save” – this will take you to the short Match Evaluation page. We hope you will complete it at that time, but if you are pressed for time, you may return to it later.

TEAM MANAGEMENT – Submit Match Evaluation

Click the game number in the left column to access the evaluation form. There are 3 short, simple sections to address pre-game issues, match level and an overall evaluation of the officials. The first 2 sections allow for comments. If you wish to make comments about an official, you must complete the Detailed Referee Evaluation. We hope every coach will take the time to complete this section. You can go back and view it late by clicking the “View” link in the right column.

TEAM MANAGEMENT – Detailed Referee Evaluation

Click the game number in the left column to access the evaluation form. For a game with only 1 official (small sided), there is only 1 section to complete about the only referee. For a game with more than 1 official, there are 3 sections to complete about the center referee and both assistant referees. Each section allows 2 places for comments. We hope every coach will take the time to complete this section. Once you answer questions for a couple of games, you will see how quick and simple it is to help the league by providing your feedback. We used actual comments from coaches during Spring 2011 to discuss coach/club concerns with referees in Fall 2011 pre-season meetings. You can go back and view it late by clicking the “View” link in the right column.
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Let the Game Be the Teacher

Let the Game Be the Teacher: A Whole-Part-Whole Approach to Practice

 

by John O'Sullivan March 12, 2020

Reprinted from Soccer America Youth Soccer Insider

 

The following is an excerpt from John O'Sullivan's latest book, "Every Moment Matters: How the World's Best Coaches Inspire Their Athletes and Build Championship Teams."

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When I began my soccer coaching journey, I was frustrated by the way U.S. Soccer* instructed coaches to build their practices. We were told to start small, one child or two per ball, and then build to larger, more complex activities before finishing with a game. I tried this at first, but I found that it looked great on paper but did not work in the real world. If you have ever coached young children, you know what I mean.

They don’t all show up on time. They show up in various states of readiness. They do not need a warm up. And if you start with a small activity that needs lots of explaining, as each subsequent child shows up, you end up explaining the activity multiple times. The kids who show up late have little incentive to hurry across the parking lot as they certainly did not sign up to stand in lines. They showed up to play.

I have always believed that a whole-part-whole approach or, as it is sometimes called, play-practice-play, is a far better method — especially for children 12 and under. Whole-part-whole essentially means to let them play a game first, break it down to a teachable component in the middle, and play again at the end. This solves multiple issues.

First, it does not matter when kids arrive as you only need two to get your first game started. Once your numbers get big, you can break into multiple games. Children tend to run across the parking lot and harass their parents to get them to training on time when you play first. And, playing first does wonders to work off the excess energy that tends to come along with young children who have been sitting in a classroom all day and were handed a sugary snack on the drive to training. Plus, they signed up to play the game, and it’s easy to make sure that they get plenty of game time when they start and end with some sort of game.

There are those that disagree with this approach, arguing that you have to start small and build to larger concepts, but that line of thinking demonstrates a misunderstanding of the difference between technique and skill. This is not to say that we cannot use breaks in the action to do some fundamental movement or stability exercises or a few reps of an isolated technique, but they can be interleaved with the games. You can also modify games, such as attacking and defending multiple goals or altering the shape and size of the field. And you can also do some coaching during these early games, focusing on the theme of your training session so that you are already drawing attention to the topics you are going to cover that day.

Thankfully, U.S. Soccer* and many other sporting governing bodies are now recommending a whole-part-whole approach to practices, especially for our youngest athletes.

As children get older, they certainly need more movement and flexibility/stability in the beginning of training in order to prevent injury, but even professional soccer players play rondos, and basketball players do shootaround activities, albeit not at full speed. Just think about it this way: the kids are there to play, and the more playing you do, the more engaged they will be. The game is a wonderful teacher.

* U.S. Soccer Grassroots courses: Five things to know about play-practice-play.

* * * * * * * * * *

(John O'Sullivan is the founder of the Changing the Game Project and the host of the Way of Champions Podcast. His latest book, Every Moment Matters: How the World's Best Coaches Inspire Their Athletes and Build Championship Teams, from which this article was excerpted, came out in December of 2019. It is available in paperback and Kindle.  His previous books are, Is It Wise to Specialize?: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Early Sports Specialization and its Effect Upon Your Child’s Athletic and  Changing the Game: The Parent's Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids.)

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