Player / Coaching Development

Soccer coaches play a major role in the shaping the lives of young people in Saskatoon. Coaches are in a position of responsibility and authority. Besides training soccer players to become better players, athletically, technically and mentally, soccer coaches have a responsibility to be leaders and role models in our association and community.

Players and parents will look to our soccer coaches in SUSC for guidance and leadership. Therefore coaches need to constantly stretch themselves to be as good as they possibly can be. To be better in soccer training sessions requires a coach to fully understand what the roles, qualities and skills of a good coach are, along with that are the areas I would like to focus on, these can be accomplished by utilizing the following:

  1. C.S.A. coaching certification. SUSC strives to have all our coaches trained in the age appropriate certification course they are coaching (Learn to Train or Soccer for Life). My hope would be to have in two years all our present coaches to a certified level of the Community Sports Stream with a possibility of having the technical staff working toward or have already obtained a B Part 1 level.
  2. Our U6, U8 and U10 development camps will look after our community level entrants with the skill type rotational format that has been embraced by our Technical Staff, (age appropriate coaching). I will run some of the sessions with the coaches and a hand out will be given following the practice, then the session will be repeated at the teams next session for familiarity by that teams coach, this process should continue throughout the season.

The same principles will then apply for our SUSC coaches but they will be focusing more now on small game coaching with still an area of Technical work applying the topic of the session.

For Clarification purposes the following will apply to our sessions:

  • A Technical session will be one that has no opposition and the difficulty of the topic will be affected by size, speed, pace, target etc, based on how the players grasp the task effectively, but we will not progress for the sake of progression.
  • The skill component will be on with opposition, direction and or targets.
  • The functional component which now we can do will be one that takes place in the area of the field where the player works and only the main and secondary players will be involved ie. working with wide players and getting crosses into the box.
  • The all important small sided games it has to be directional, (and please use goal keepers) we can bring out either Technical or Tactical points as well as our principles of play, for Assessment preparation I will be expecting our coaches to work with one team with one topic e.g.;1v1 defending.
  • Squad practice that will help us work on individual, group or even unit elements of the game.
  • Learning by guided discovery

Because we do not have a full size field indoor for the phase of play we need full width but reduced length and we should be able to work on some areas of group or unit team work, also in the summer months the outdoor field will work nicely and obviously for the 11 v 11 game that will have to be left for the outdoor then we can tie it all together with player role and responsibility within a group setting looking at the thirds of the field.

Along with the above I have been doing as some observed "Game Analysis Game" coaching which I feel helps greatly in the fault correction process.

Below is a breakdown on what I feel we need in bullet form:

  • Analyzing the receptive qualities and soccer training skills required for successful coaching and providing positive examples to help you understand and respond to the needs of your players
  • Evaluating the coaching performance
  • Player and Coach assessment
  • How soccer training sessions should be geared towards the age and ability of the players, how they are progressed and when do we progress
  • We examine the specific skills needed to be a competent soccer coach in the SUSC organization, if that be community or Club
  • Look at how a coach can develop, improve and use these soccer training skills that are demonstrated in our player development sessions
  • Help you to understand how you can become better leaders and role models for the players.
  • Planning soccer training sessions
  • Preparation for the soccer training session
  • Coaching within the training session

Most coaches will have opinions, beliefs and principles about the effect soccer training has on players and how it can benefit and improve them, not only as individuals but also within the framework of a team.

My intention for winter training will be for all coaches to use Futsal as the base game.

As a follow up to the C.S.A. Coach Certification Clinics that have been conducted we will continue to do the following in a mentorship type environment:

  • We will examine and discuss what are soccer training principles and beliefs and the impact they can have on the way you coach.
  • Before you coach and organize a group of players for soccer training or matches, you need to be able to organize and prepare yourself personally as a coach.
  • I will provide examples and discuss the kinds of roles and responsibilities a coach may have to undertake in a soccer training session.
  • One of the main purposes of soccer training sessions is to help players enjoy themselves, learn and improve as individuals and within the framework of a team, so that they can become better players. We will examine and define a number of different soccer training methods and styles that might be employed by coaches and how you might employ them to help them improve as soccer coaches.
  • Our coaches should seriously consider their own behaviour, attitudes, discipline and principles if they truly wish to be considered positive role models. I will discuss and provide positive and negative examples of soccer training principles and behaviour and this I can do not only in a training environment but in game situations also so that we learn how to act in those situations.
  • All coaches want to ensure fair play and promote this to players and parents. I will discuss and provide examples of codes of conducts for coaches, in the form of video and power point presentations.
  • Another key responsibility of soccer training is ensuring the health and safety of all your players at soccer training and matches. We will provide practical examples of what do in the event of minor injuries and accidents in soccer training, how to handle major incidents and how to ensure the health and safety of your players at soccer training and matches. I believe that when we had the sport science component part of the licensing and educated coaches on what energy systems to train i.e. Strength and Conditioning, along with Technical and Tactical Development of our players there was a greater understanding about what areas to train at what time of the season we were in along with the prevention of overtraining and its effects.

SUSC is entering a new era one that has a very proud part of DEVELOPING players for our Club/Province/University and even yes NATIONAL TEAM players, along with keeping them in the game, making it a game for life for all levels both male and female. My intention will be with the help of all parties to bring those great days back by developing coaches and players alike. I need us all to be united. We do not need negativity. There has to be communication but let's make it positive. Yes there will be opinions to make events better I want to hear that, but to me not held as a grand show to maybe showboat one's self. I cannot and will not have those individuals part of the team we have no time for such trivialities. The people we need are those who truly want to be part of a group to "DEVELOP" our youth as best as possible. The wins will come but not at the expense of development. We need to make this our focus at all levels and along with our Saskatoon Youth Soccer Board of Directors who along with their President has to display strong leadership in building a plan for the development of our game. At present I have some grave concerns with the reduction of players playing in our city. With a plan and a budget presented then our much respected Technical staff at SUSC and the other 4 zones can develop the TECHNICAL program with consistency and continuity across the city, until this happens I will continue to drive ahead in our zone developing the coaches and players alike.

We should be able to achieve great things in Saskatoon United Soccer Club, and as old saying goes, ”Build it and they will come”.

Huw Morris

Technical Director
Saskatoon United Soccer Club