Technical Manual Released by US Youth Soccer

From Sam Snow, US Youth Director of coaches, here is the Skills School Manual.  If you ever wonder what the technical teaching points to dribbling, passing, trapping, shooting, defending, here you go.  Very specific with excellent diagrams. I like to describe it this way:  “Technique” is how to do something, while focusing on “tactics” focuses on when (and why if you are a good coach) to do something.  Too often, we focus too much on the “tactic” side of soccer at young ages rather than the “technique.”  Here is an introductory quote from the manual:

During the first fourteen years of a young player’s career the coaching

emphasis must be on technique. The actual execution of a movement is

always in the realm of technique. The challenge of “when and why” to use a

movement is one of tactics. In this manual the focus is the “how to”; that is

on technique. Technique is the body’s mechanical execution to affect the

ball; for example receiving, catching, shooting, dribbling, deflecting, etc. It

is one of the four components of the game and leads to ball skill. Skill is

being able to execute a technique under the pressure of opponents in tight

space and most likely on the move. Without ball skill a player cannot

execute tactics. Some players will:

o be able to do a technique in an activity but fail to apply it as skill when

under pressure from opponents

o be competent with the ball but not outstanding

o be technical but not skillful, while others will be skillful but not


o be capable of executing some skills against one level of opponent but

not another

Players gain more trust and respect for a coach who can help them improve

their technique. The result is confident use of new skills in matches.

Motivated players spend time working on their skills. Players will appreciate

the importance and thrill of learning new techniques and refining existing

ones if the coach creates the proper training environment. Then the players

begin to equate fun with improvement.

Novice coaches often find themselves in a Catch 22 at training sessions.

They can influence young players by helping them develop techniques, but

some coaches don’t know enough about the techniques they are teaching to

offer relevant advice.

Skills School Manual  Great Manual.  Enjoy.

Instructors in white – Sam Snow (left), Gary Williamson (middle), Neal Ellis (right)

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