10 Great Reasons You Should Join a Football Team

epa05455405 Keagan Dolly (R) of South Africa in action against Zeca (L) of Brazil during the men's first round match between Brazil and South Africa for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Soccer tournament at Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia, Brazil, 04 August 2016. EPA/FERNANDO BIZERRA JR.

If you enjoy football, and having a kick about with your friends, perhaps you’ve never seriously considered joining a football team.  You might have thought that you weren’t good enough or were too old or too young.  These days there are many local teams, and if there isn’t one near you, why not start one up?

1. Improve as a player
If you’re a keen footballer already, you might be getting a bit frustrated with the people you play with. Perhaps you take your game seriously, and want to improve, whereas your mates might just see it as a bit of fun.

2. Play regularly
Playing football regularly will help you improve, and you’ll learn a great deal about the game.  You might even change position; you might have seen yourself as a defender, but the manager might see you as a winger, or a striker.

3. Exercise and fitness
Playing football will keep you fit and healthy, and if you take your game seriously, you might begin to think more about your body, and your diet. Lasting 90 minutes on a Sunday is a hard task, especially if you’re not used to it, and not in the best shape.  You’ll soon improve though, if you’re serious about your game.

4. Improve as a person
Becoming a regular in your football team will give you added responsibilities and will help you to mature.  You’ll have to turn up on time, and bring your kit, and be prepared for a training session or a match.  This can help you be more organized at work and at home.

5. Make new friends
Joining a team will be a great opportunity to make new friends, and benefit from their skills and experiences.

6. Not expensive
Football is a cheap sport to get involved in.  There’s no need to spend a fortune on expensive equipment.  As long as your boots are comfortable and you have suitable shin pads and gloves if you’re a goalkeeper, that’s probably all you’ll need, as the rest of the kit is likely to be provided by your team.

7. Work as a team
Working as part of a team will help you to play as a team, rather than 11 players.  You’ll need to follow the manager’s instructions during a game, and the coaching sessions will enable you to learn formations and tactics, as well as improve fitness and skills.

8. Achieve your potential
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a footballer, you’ll want to give it a go, and not wonder if you could have made it as a professional.  Joining a team will give you this opportunity.

9. Play like a professional
You might wear the same boots as your favorite player, and try and emulate them, especially if you play in the same position.  You might spend a lot of time watching other football, to help you improve, or have the same discipline as a professional, as you take the game seriously

10. Because you enjoy the game
If you didn’t enjoy playing football, you wouldn’t want to play it.  So if you’re playing for a team, and you’re not enjoying it, for whatever reasons, why not consider putting in a transfer request, and trying out for a different team?

You might not be the speediest winger with all the tricks, you might not get a hat trick every game, but as a player in the team, you’re just as important.  If you let the team down, you let yourself down.  If you take your football seriously then you owe it to yourself to be the best player you can be.

Who knows, you might even be spotted by a scout, become a professional footballer, and hit the big time!

If you want to learn How To Play Soccer properly and as part of a team, or just want amazing online Football Coaching, from a Premier League Club, then why not join the Everton Way? Use the same soccer drills and other soccer coaching methods as used in the Everton Academy?

The Base 5-3 Defensive Set For Pop Warner Football

19The 5-3 defense is one of the most popular schemes you will see at the youth football level. It is especially effective versus a run heavy offensive team and most teams run more than they pass in youth football.

What is the introductory player responsibilities of the 5-3 defensive scheme? This article will answer this question in great detail..

First and foremost, the base defensive package needs to be installed by the coaching staff. Every player who lines up anywhere on defense must have a complete understanding of all the responsibilities of every position in the base set. If you want to play defense for my team, you will learn this area early on. You will not be playing defense for our team if you do not understand two very simple concepts. Knowing where to line up and what to do are the two mandatory requirements a player must have to play on our defense.

Knowing where to line up is the first step and can usually be taught, to the players, from the information we get from our scouting report. Just covering the scouting report is not good enough since many teams may try to trick you with a different formation than they normally run, so every player needs to know how to line up on many different formations. Everything from the spread to an unbalanced line needs to be taught to the entire defense to assure no surprises on game day.

The second phase is a complete understanding of the responsibilities of all defensive positions. The players needs to know who is responsible for gap containment, outside containment or zone coverages. The entire defensive team benefits when everyone is aware of everyone else’s responsibilities. It is easy to pinpoint where the defense is “leaking” and we can correct the problem.

In the base 5-3 defensive scheme we have eight primary run stop defenders. We use five defensive linemen which consist of two defensive ends, two defensive tackles and a nose guard. Three to five yards behind the defensive line we have our three linebackers with the middle linebacker lined up over the nose guard and the two outside linebackers lined up behind the defensive ends. There are three defensive backs with the safety lined up 8-10 yards behind the middle linebacker and the two defensive backs lined up 7-10 yards outside the outside linebackers.

The crucial positions in this defensive set are the Nose guard, Linebackers and the Defensive Tackles. In our pee wee football coaching program, the Nose guard is responsible for the A gap. The middle Linebacker must cover the backside A gap as well as the B gap on both sides. Each defensive guard or tackle has either C gap coverage or the backside B gap. The balance of the defense covers the rest of the gaps down the line. The three defensive backs will drop into three deep zone pass coverage and the outside linebackers have outside run containment responsibility.

In conclusion, the 5-3 is a great basic defense to run at the pee wee level since it is designed to stop the run and most youth football teams cannot pass and must try to run the ball.

Warm Ups in Football

18PRE MATCH/GAME/SESSION ACTIVITY

“We must warm up!”

Warming up is often the first thought in coach’s minds. Planning as well. Planning usually forms 4-5 sections. Its regimental.

Planning templates usually lay out a warm up, technical introduction to the session, main body x 2, progressions and then a warm/ cool down with space for listing outcomes and evaluation (sometimes).

Since I started coaching I have had a fundamental issue with planning. listing outcomes is what the coach who is sat mostly alone when planning comes up with. There are no players (the customers) involved in the planning usually. The planning is all done away from players. Away from any player input. They simply aren’t involved and have no clue what the session entails until they arrive. How is this good planning? a builder plans without consultation, the house isn’t right. Its then changed from the original. The same with football.

Planning therefore should be an on-going process that players are involved in. the younger the players are involved in their own session programme then better. Maybe write it down but surely if we are to create a culture of player ownership then the pieces are paper are just that. Also, the reason many people plan is to create a catalogue of historical sessions, to sell maybe, to publish. Many plans are never returned to. How many coaches have given a plan to a child and asked them to take it home and add/ change etc?

It’s the same in schools. Planning is a major part of a teaching job. Why? So supervisors can justify to others what the lessons have involved. They rarely go and look at actual learning, just what theyre supposed to be learning. Again not developmental at all.

Trust is another major issue. People make people plan as they want to see whats being delivered. Not trusting them to be creative or come up with spontaneous ideas but to have and stick to a format. Again, not enhancing learning.

It’s an industrial, straight lined, factory floor way of thinking. Another word for it is manufactured.

Footballers cannot be manufactured. There are too many variables. Everyone plays differently, runs differently and so on. I believe people are looking for the perfect typing rather than have imperfect genius/ talent.

Bringing this back to warming up.

Children aged 5 go to primary school. Some walk to school, some scooter or cycle and some go in a car. Which one has ‘warmed up?’ is warming up actually relevant to anything we do? Or is it just a phrase that’s been over used and industrialised.

Pirlo recently quoted warming up to be something a coach uses to justify being there on the pitch before a game to make himself look good. He has a point.

Young children playing out. Some might ride a bike, play with a ball, jump/ climb walls and trees even climbing and sliding are forms of exercise. Have you ever seen a young person warm up before doing any of the afore mentioned activities? The answer is no!

A child of 7 plays out with friends, rides a bike for 20 minutes and then goes training and is told to warm up. A ridiculous idea. I have also never seen a young person pull a muscle riding their bike or climbing a wall. They therefore don’t need to waste time warming up, running laps and widths and stretching before playing football. Its wasting valuable game and practice time.

Many people also mix up warming up with the relevance of having a ball each. This again isn’t warming up, its improving skills required in the game. I have also never seen a professional footballer or a child for that matter replicate any static stretch to control a ball in a game or make a tackle etc. its not real to the game.

Psychologically as well a warm up becomes something players don’t want to do. Children ask to have a match. The reason is they know their own mind. Therefore as they turn up, put them straight into a game. 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, and so on until they are all there at the session. Once you get to 3v3 or 4v4 set up another pitch. They will soon set this up themselves as it will become a habit. This is also good mental preparation for playing an actual match. Each player will have their own mental preparation routine. You might not know this but they will. Don’t coach them in this period – let them play and let them socialise. They are actually ‘warming up’ anyway if you want to look into research reasons for doing so and believe them.

How many coaches then ask the kids, “from those games, what do we need to practice to improve our game?” each answer will be different. Then again as part of mental and technical preparation, they can go and practice the thing they’ve just mentioned. Groups may form or individuals may go practice. Let them go and set up their own practices, however young. They are now responsible for their own learning and developing their own self coaching skills.

So, the warm up has turned into a session without the kids knowing, without the coach planning and with lots of playing and learning. Then you might have a section you want to work on. Do your section, make it flow and ask them again through the session and what they want to go on to, how they can progress it and change the rules and expectations etc. Your planning outcomes therefore have never been better you just didn’t waste half and hour writing them down.

“But premier league players stretch and do widths of a pitch”

This is true! Can’t deny that. I still don’t know why though apart from having a mental routine. As Pirlo stated and if you watch players like Ronaldo they will practice things to get their mind in tune that they want to do on the pitch. Ronaldo practices the habits of dribbling and 1v1 tricks to beat opponents before every game, we all know he can do them but he has a routine that is for mental preparation more than physical. Hes firing up the nervous system to create his habits into confident movements. Something he does daily. Another reason that individuals must have time to focus on their own if they need to do this. Many warm ups are done as a team. A comment from an Afghanistan hero stated he didn’t stretch his hamstrings before running for cover from bombs and gun fire. He just ran. And he never got injured.

Maybe that links the mental factor of being prepared. Maybe muscle injuries should be more linked to poor mental direction and loss of focus and concentration. If you’re in the zone and your mind wanders, you are more likely to make a wrong turn or movement.

A coach must not feel they have to justify traditional views. What is best for your players, both team and individuals is more important than any sheets of paper and assessors.

We all know football is a dynamic game. So therefore people say use dynamic stretching. Lunges, squats, etc again are seen on tv screens. Some are done in a game for example a tackle might just about relate to a block tackle if one knee is bent. I’m not saying players should perform these movements in gyms for fitness reasons weekly but again can dynamic movements that happen in a game just be recreated by playing a game. If you watch players closely, some do warm ups to the best of their ability but I reckon most don’t. As you get older you do find ways to cheat. When the balls come out and you see the reaction of the faces of players its clear what they want. They immediately spring into action and again some players might do headers, sprints etc. this is for their own purpose, more mental than physical gain.

Following warming up, most teams then go back to dressing rooms and sit down for team talks. I have never understood this and as a player it was a chance to rest and relax after a hard slog of running, sprinting and so on. The problem then is you have to mentally psych yourself up again in the tunnel. The more mental prep you have to do the more mentally tired you surely become, the more chance of therefore losing concentration, the more chance of becoming injured?

Going back to young children. We have all been there. We played in the morning. The match, then we went home, had some food and guess what, went back out to play for 3-4 hours on the street/ field/ on bikes etc. I can never again remember any injuries following this type of activity. I can remember when cool/ warm downs became fashionable. Stretching after games, etc. I was 15 and I firmly believe it did more harm than good in the programme we were in. Think of this. Match, warm down, travel home. Next training two days later, warm up and stretch. So, that’s two lots of deep stretching before playing, having already elongated the muscles after the game. People then started getting injuries, feeling weaker and not being able to sustain running for long periods. It didn’t help with rest and recovery it hindered it. I saw the same in cricket with a bowler having bowled 20 overs on a Saturday and Sundays for years, not the fittest to look at but could sustain that no problem at a good level. He was then advised to warm down and got injured on the Sunday as he affected his habit and routine. A dynamic sport needs dynamic muscles surely and the brain to be thinking dynamically also, not changing the state to another way of thinking.

I have also been running sports camps for 10 years. Warming up for 6-7 hours of sports activity per day? I have never, done a warm up on a sports camp. We have done lots of technical practices and lots of varied games. The multi sport argument therefore comes into force. A bit like the child riding their bike and climbing the wall before playing football. Should they be told to rest or carry on? If they are doing it and are happy doing so then in their own mind they must be OK surely? Much of physical activity is psychological. If we allow kids to do things of their choice they will tend to lean towards play. Once the habit is restricted and adults take control and structure things in certain ways, these habits become affected.

What is Football Freestyle Good For?

17Regular people who have never seen football freestyle before almost always ask “what team do you play for”, “can you play football as good as you juggle” or “what is it good for, you can’t use that on the pitch”. So what is football freestyle good for?

First of all I want to make this clear to you… just because someone is an amazing juggler it doesn’t mean that he’s good on the pitch(I have meet a lot of football freestylers and in many cases they are also good at football). Also it’s the same if you’re a good football freestyler, you don’t need to be good on the pitch.

If you’re a footballer you probably are thinking something like “stupid people spending so much time for something useless”. If you are a decent football player and you’re serious with your football I believe that football freestyle is a perfect practicing method that will give you extra skills. It will improve your first touch, eye-coordination, ball control and so on. If you think about it, how come all the best players in the world today are familiar with some football freestyle tricks?

As I mentioned before I have played football with a lot of football freestylers and most of them are decent. That’s probably because their love for the sport, for some reason maybe they quit football but still want to kick the ball. Also some people just do some basic freestyle to improve their skills on the pitch.

Football Freestyle is only in its early days and it’s still very small. If you ask 10 people if they know football freestyle I guess that 8 or 9 will say no, in some cases even all 10 of them. Some people in the world does football freestyle full time, they’re not getting rich from it but they still have the opportunity to do what they love. So if you practice hard enough and are dedicated there is a chance for you to become pro.

I really hope that this sport will grow bigger and bigger during the coming years. I hope that this sport will be recognized all over the world, so if you enjoy this article maybe you want to pass it on to a couple of friends.

Best Youth Flag Football Strategies for a Winning Game

16Playing flag football is a mind game as much as it is a physical game. The strategies and the plans that the player needs to formulate actually make it an extremely difficult mind game. More so because the player is not aware of the strategy or plan of the player in the opponent team is gearing up. So there is always a firm focus on the game and whenever possible new strategies and plans need to be formulated to ensure a win in the game. So planning out some of the most strategic youth flag football plays is important for a sure shot victory in the game, especially when playing with teams that are considered winners and toppers.

Though it is said that the game of football can be scripted and practiced by planning out the strategies, this is sometimes not true as it is not possible to know the strategies of the other team. However, it is possible to gauge the game prior to the actual game and be ready with a smart move that can be made whenever the need arises. This is just one of the many benefits of scripting a plan and drawing out alternate plans and strategies before the game begins.

So, what are the Best Youth Flag Football Plays that people want to plan and strategize before the game begins. Some of them include:

1. This is a football play that cannot go amiss. The QB or the Quarterback accepts a snap and pretends to the handoff to the back that is running and does so keeping the ball in close proximity to his body thereby managing to hide the ball. The running back to pretend to have caught the ball and ducks pretending to protect the ball. It is at this time the Center manages to sneak and get the ball from the Quarter Back thereby taking it to the end zone.

2. The fake reverse strategy is another such trick that helps to win the Best Youth Flag Football Plays. Similar to the previous one, the Quarter Back takes the ball and pretends to throw it to the running back when the defense is pulled in close to the left as is the case for a common reverse. An easy pass to the wide receiver does the trick.

In both these cases, it is important for the Quarter back to be very natural in the ways the throw to the running is faked.

3. In this strategy, the Quarterback runs along with the half back, faking a pass, but as soon as they reach the wide receiver, the QB pulls the ball from the running back and passes it on to the wide receiver that should not move from his place.