I attended the Coerver Youth Diploma Course in Arizona June 2015. Charlie Cook was the instructor. The same Charlie Cook who played for Chelsea and several other professional organizations. What a wonderful guy. He was free with his time and he allowed me to quiz him quite a bit.
This is a much different experience than a USSF course. I hold a National Youth License (fantastic course) as well as an E (2008) and a National D (2013). There was no assessment part of this course. The ratio of classroom time to field time was about the same, but the Coerver coaches run all the sessions. And, for every session, they had Coerver players present so you were able to see what youth Coerver players look like and how they respond to the activities. That being said, they still need participation from the coaches.
I absolutely fell in love with the philosophy. I am very picky about player evaluations and am generally unsatisfied with the level of focus paid to that aspect of soccer. For me, the first thing I rate in a player is how do they touch the ball. That is what I define as “technique.” The USSF courses are big picture course – helping coaches to run a team session. Coerver is laser-focused on ball mastery and individual skill, or what I refer to as technique (how you touch the ball). In fact, it is the foundation of their philosophy. Finally, I am among like-minded people.
So often I listen to coaches rate players based on obvious factors – speed and aggression. I call those factors fool’s gold, especially at the young ages. I appreciate those characteristics but, in my experience, those factors get nullified post-puberty if the kids are still playing. Yes, there may be some with truly special speed, but, for the most part, evaluating players on speed and aggression pre-puberty is lazy.
So, Coerver is concerned primarily with how you touch the ball. to help that, they believe in repetition with hundreds of different ball exercises. You can download the app for free. For $10, you have access to all of their moves. If your idea of getting you players to touch the ball better is juggling, Coerver has a whole new world of ideas you need to check out.
Here is the biggest advantage Coerver has over regular coaching sessions – in every other aspect in our “pay for play” youth soccer world, your player is trained within a team construct. Despite all of the “player development” talk that goes on, coaches are concerned with winning. If their team is not winning, the parents go elsewhere. If the parent goes elsewhere, they lose their paycheck. So, as a coach, while you may pride yourself on “player development,” you also have to perform for your employer (parents). Coerver doesn’t have that problem. Since they do not have teams, they are not bothered with team concepts in their sessions. The focus is on the individual. You are paying them to help your player improve ball mastery.
Here is a link to their site where they list the dates for the courses and itinerary. Coerver Youth Diploma