U10 Soccer Team Accelerates Technical Development with iSoccer Homework
I wanted to share a quick success story from a U10 team. Amazing how much you can improve with focused, effective time with the ball! Here is the coach in his own words – Thank you for sharing and writing this Coach Seth McMenemy! Scott, Founder of iSoccer
by Coach Seth McMenemy
I made a couple of interesting discoveries with iSoccer this past season with my U10 boys team that I thought I would share. I started using iSoccer homework to pick captains (an idea I got from other iSoccer users) and the starting lineup.
I didn’t require homework. I just wanted to tie self-motivation and extra effort to a clear reward and let the players have some control over the lineup. I didn’t expect that it would advance the players much because I assigned what amounted to less than 10 minutes per week. Half the players took to it and the other half didn’t. One discovery I made is that being a team captain or in the starting lineup doesn’t motivate everyone.
That was fortunate, because it helped me discover something more important: how much the homework can improve foot skills. At mid-season, it became clear that the kids who had been most consistent with homework were separating themselves from those who weren’t doing it. They were reacting to, coming-to, settling, controlling and passing the ball more naturally and beginning to look like more advanced players, while the rest of the kids were still chasing the ball and giving the ball up more than keeping it.
I started doing the homework myself, to test the theory. I play in adult leagues and I saw an instant improvement in the quality of my touches. It became clear to the parents the progress their kids were making. Kids who use to chase the ball, were now running with the ball at their feet and beating defenders. I heard parents at games say things like, “I didn’t know my kid could do that.” So, then I made a push for homework with all the kids. Everyone that started and stayed with it showed noticeable improvement in ball and foot skills within 2-3 weeks.
As they got better, they started doing more on their own and holding each other accountable. I hear the kids saying, “I didn’t see you on iSoccer this week. Did you do your homework?” Again, I couldn’t believe that 10 minutes per week could make much difference. But, I sat down and figured out that what I had assigned amounted to 700 – 1,000 touches additional each week and that iSoccer’s 20 second challenge format made those touches count.
Multiply that over a 10-week season and you have 7,000 – 10,000 touches and 90 minutes of accumulated and focused ball practice — so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.