Jerry's Coaching Philosophy
The Beautiful Game: "Joga Bonita" means to play beautifully. Unfortunately, in the youth division of soccer, playing beautifully means winning. It will be our goal to play soccer the way it is intended and to play at the top of our potential. That means that it will be our goal to not take short cuts in order to win but rather we will play in a manner that will help develop strong, sound, and competitive senior players. It also means that we will put ourselves in a position to win the winnable games and push the teams that are more advanced than we are at that time. Our focus will be to grow our talent! Our desire and intention will be to grow our talent at rate beyond that of our competition!
Total Soccer: One thing we will attempt to develop is the concept of "Total Soccer". Desmond Morris in his book, The Soccer Tribe describes total football (soccer) as the system in which any player can take over the role of any other player in the team. The positioning of the players on the pitch is not fixed anymore. The central striker comes back to midfield, the right winger goes in to the central position, the right back moves up to the right winger position and the right midfielder takes over the right back's roles. While I do not pretend to believe that a U15 youth team is fully capable of playing with such freedom and flow - it is my desire to develop players that can fulfill every roll necessary on the field. That does not mean that I will be constantly rotating positions but it does mean I will strive to develop players that are able to rotate positions.
My Coaching Philosophy: I set high standards for my players and teams and then I work extremely hard to develop players that can achieve those standards. Anson Dorrance says: "Some coaches are no longer willing to make the emotional commitment needed to motivate players to attain the standard required of them to compete successfully at the highest level." Training Soccer Champions, pg 20 (1996). My coaching philosophy attempts to balance the desire to produce top level players with the necessity to keep the players "having fun", interested, and injury free.
My Philosophy Regarding Scrimmages/Games versus Practice Sessions: First, I believe that kids need to "play more soccer" outside the structure and shadow of a coach, parent, or personal trainer (pickup games, street soccer, and fooling around with the ball on their own or in small groups). Secondly, I believe that the organized soccer should be focused on developing players and not burning them out for the sake of early success.
Most youth academies around the world recognize that a team should maintain a 5 practice to 1 game ratio. The idea is that the "team game" is an expression of what they have learned and the "team practice" is a correction and development process based on what goes on in the game. In a perfect world that means a coach would let his team play with little if any instruction, so the coach can get a true picture of the players' and team needs. For the sake of development and recovery, I strive for a ratio closer to 5:1 than the 1:1 ratio that most club teams exercise (considering the total number of scrimmages, outdoor/indoor league games, and tournament games in a year).
We will scrimmage from time to time, but I believe the players get enough games in a season (for learning purposes) and would rather use my teaching time more efficiently. Having said this, I also believe that some teams use tournaments in a manner that is harmful to the players' development. I love tournaments and we will go to tournaments; but, I recognize that tournaments require too much soccer with too little recovery. We will not do tournaments just for the sake of glory. We will use them for what they should be intended for: showcasing the players' talent, building confidence, and gaining experience.