Fall Season 2012 - Game 8

Today's game can be summed up on one word.....DUDE!!!

The lineup took a little bit of a shift today because the team was short three midfielders due to injuries or other commitments.  To overcome the deficit in the middle, several of the boys stepped their games up in a BIG way and carried the team to a solid 7-2 victory over a very talented and well coached Skomor team.  They had a very good offense. 

Let's look at the highlights:

  • Ben....AWESOME!  You were a big reason as to why the defense pitched a shutout in the 2nd half.
  • The midfielders and forwards did a better job of working together today.  they showed a lot of trust in completing passes to each other.  This is important because in my offense, the point of attack can come from either wing position just as much as from the striker. 
  • The forwards were very effective and staying up and attacking their defense up the middle.  3 of the 7 goals came from the strikers today.
  • Offensively there were at least 6 crosses into the middle for shot attempts.  At the start of the season, those crosses rarely existed.  

Overall, the boys played a complete game and the coaching points from past practices are showing up in games.  My favorite part from today was how well the boys rebounded the shot deflections from the keeper or the post.  They even capitalized on this with the 3rd goal of the game by Tommy.  Great work. 

The Hawks gained 6 points this weekend from both wins, when the score is posted, the boys will be in 2nd place with two games to go.  The boys control their own destiny.  If they win out, they win the Fall division crown. 

Looking good! 

Up next, we will practice on Thursday to start getting ready for next Saturday's rematch with Pegasus (kick -off at 3:30 PM). START TIME FOR PRACTICE HAS BEEN PUSHED UP TO 5:30PM.  Coaching points will focus on better ball clearing from the defensive third as well as continuing the effort to build that midfielder/forward relationship.

See you all on Thursday. 

Fall Season 2012 - Game 7

The boys delivered a gem today.

They apparently like playing on the longer field.  That is something to keep in mind for the Spring season when the field gets redesigned.  The bigger field really plays to our strengths.

The boys did a lot of good things today.  The wing midfielders stayed wide and were VERY aggressive today on the offense.  4 of the 5 goals in the 2nd half today were scored by a wing midfielder.  The forwards stayed up and waited for the ball to be delivered to them and were extremely good at transitioning to offense.  In my opinion, the key to today's victory was how the defense kicked into a higher gear and went into shut down mode in the 2nd half and allowed just one shot on goal in the final 38 minutes of the game.  They were an immovable object today.

I especially liked how more of the boys paid attention to the game and really focused on how they could get involved. I will never get upset if the boys stay in their positions or do not make a good pass.  That tells me they are mentally in the game, which is a BIG part of playing.

We could fine tune some things.   I still would like to see more lead passes from the midfield to the forwards to create more scoring chances.  The strikers are made up of boys with a ton of speed, strength and great ball handling skills.  Building the relationship between the midfielders and forwards may be just a matter of time.  

Up next, we are back at the practice field tomorrow to get ready for Skomor.  The coaching points will be mostly around building that trust between the forwards and midfielders, but ultimately, just keeping them at the top of their game.  Practice will be shorter than usual.  We will finish up at 5:15 PM. 

I feel good about today's effort.  We have seen considerable amount of improvement with the team game.

Fall Season 2012 - Game 6

First off, how cool was it to see that big hawk buzz the field during the 1st half of today's game.  Welcome home, mascot!!

Even though the boys needed yesterday's humbling experience, they also needed today's game to remind them that they do have what it takes to compete against other great soccer teams in the division. 

They played their best game today.  Here is how:

- The teamwork today was the best I have seen.  The passing game was effective.  Most of the boys kept to their positions and trusted that their teammates was going to get their job done.
- The defense really is very underrated.   We have had a lot of success in the 1-3-2 formation.   Tyler, Alex and Noah did an outstanding job of defending against Leon's transition offense, and the midfielders all have done a great, great job of getting back to support.
- Speaking of the midfielders, in recent weeks my focus has been on getting these boys comfortable with their positions as well as their roles on the the field. They are responding well.  These kids are smart.
- They do not fear taking shots on goal.  Having the confidence to unload a shot on goal when in the area is a good thing.  Sure they miss a lot of shots, but over time those misses will get adjusted. 

My favorite part is that more of the boys are starting to drink my kool-aid.  The majority of the team is starting to understand the basics to my philosophy of playing soccer.  They hustle to every loose ball.  They defend most opponent's possessions regardless of where they are on the field and they are starting to figure out how to work together in moving the ball up the field.  (They know that the midfielders are extremely important in this movement).  There was a lot less bee-hiving today.  All of this contributed largely to today's success. 

Great win today!!!

Fall Season 2012 - Game 5

The boys needed a game like today.  Results like today show the boys where they are and what they can become.  The Magic is a program that focuses hardcore on advancing their boys in the game of soccer way beyond expectations anyone typically has at this age.  Sure it would have been great to deliver a winning result against that level of competition, but there is so much more to gain from what we saw today.  After all, it is about developing these boys into future greatness, not be the greatest today. 

It is a shame that we do not get the opportunity to play the Magic again this season.

We could talk about areas of improvement (forwards staying up, midfielders staying in their positions, finding those passing lanes).  I want to focus on the positives today.  I could not be more proud of the way the boys played in the 2nd half today.  They settled into their positions better and really put some good offensive pressure on the Magic's stellar defense.  Defensively, they really did a good job of keeping the ball out of the middle and minimizing their number of shots on goal.

I have not seen the boys play a better 30 minutes than what we witnessed in the second half today.  I was told afterwards that the 2nd half score was 2-2.  The effort they gave is really something they can build from. 

The good news is that we have another game tomorrow and today could not have been a better way to get the boys ready.  Game time is at 3:30 PM, please at the field ready to go by 3:00 PM.  (Black jerseys, white shorts, white socks with the black logos).  Our opponent is another team that parallels the Magic to some degree in terms of experience as a team and in their ability to control the ball. 

See you all tomorrow. 

Fall Season 2012 - Mid-Season Recap

No games this past week. 

The boys have four games under their belts.  These next games are going to be exciting as we get to watch our sons mature as much on the field as off it.

It is still impressive to watch how these boys respond in a moment of adversity during a game.  In three of the games played, they have trailed on the scoreboard well into the second half and come back to salvage either the win or the tie.  These boys do not quit.  I cannot wait to see what these boys do the rest of the season.

While my interests remain to teach these boys as much about soccer as I can, it is still important for them to have fun playing regardless of the final score.  I cannot emphasize that more.  Win or lose, there is so much that the boys can learn from the experience of this game.  They learn self-confidence, leadership, how to trust one another, and the ability to learn from a short-coming.  When things go well, they learn how to celebrate with dignity and pride.  Even at 6-8 year olds, those positive messages are remembered for life.

For me, success is measured by the boys' eagerness to learn more and finish U8 soccer wanting to play U9 next Fall.  

Fall 2012 Season - Game 4

Today's game was the biggest test of adversity the boys have faced all season.  Pegasus is a team that executes the fundamentals of soccer VERY well.  I now understand why they have been competitive in every game they have played thus far.  To come away with a tie against a team like that says a lot about the athleticism and perseverance that these boys have. 

Once again, we should all be proud of these boys for their effort and their refusal to lose today.  That sequence late in the game that ultimately set up Graham's break away goal was awesome.  Not only did the Hawks score the tying goal, but they believed that they could have won the game if there was just a few more minutes on the clock.  Believing in their abilities is a great sign of confidence. 

Games like the one we played today can be a great measuring stick as to where the team really is and shows us the opportunities for where we can improve.

The exciting part about our schedule is that the Hawks get to face Pegasus again on our home field in week 9. 

Up next, we are back on the practice field to start prepping for the Chicago Magic.  The coaching points will focus on the basics to playing positions, defensive clearing without panic, lead passing from the midfield and field awareness.  Developing the passing game remains top priority.  Upcoming practices will appear to be unorthodox compared to recent weeks.  The boys have the athletic instincts to play the game.  I want to give them more knowledge to go with those instincts. 

Like many of you have said, these boys are inches away from becoming a great team.

Have a great week.