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#84354 - 01/22/12 07:42 PM Re: Evaluations [Re: pelecosmos1]
realnice525 Offline

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 4
The evaluation wouldn't so much say why they didn't make it, it would cover how they can improve to get better.

#84377 - 01/23/12 03:36 PM Re: Evaluations [Re: realnice525]
Proff Offline

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 293
Don't give up realnice...I think this is workable. I just think you either have to have an assistant taking your notes while you speak, you ahve to record your spoken notes, or, you have to video tape the whole thing and take your own notes then.

I am impressed with your desire to make an impact with the kids though and I hope you do it and report back on your efforts. You could easily make a metric of skills that you are judging and rate the kids. iSoccer could be templated for that.

#84388 - 01/24/12 07:25 AM Re: Evaluations [Re: realnice525]
brazilfan Offline

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1584
Loc: Citizen of the World
Originally Posted By: realnice525
The evaluation wouldn't so much say why they didn't make it, it would cover how they can improve to get better.

The purpose of the try-out is to find players.
The purpose of a skills clinic is to improve performance and technical ability.

Keep the two purposes clearly in mind and separate.

If you want to help them improve skills, run a clinic.

Like the other poster said, the player who was cut and their parents are in no mood to listen to rhetoric on how they can improve.

You do not have the time to do a proper and thorough evaluation of each player in a try-out with 50 kids and a short timespan (1.5 hours at most).

If you're worried about covering your behind in case a parent complains why their son was not picked, an evaluation with a recommendation on how to improve will just incite them more and open a can of worms you don't want opened.

Sometimes saying less is better.

Run a scrimmage. Invite the parents to watch. With 50 kids, that's roughly 4 teams of 12 players or 6 teams of 8-9 players. The parents will quickly see who is skilled. The parents will also see who has the intangibles: drive, leadership, tenacity, perseverance, etc...

Do not run skills exercises. Anyone can look good performing skills, like a trained seal. You want to see and you want the parents to see who are the gamers. Who is tough enough, who is fast enough, who makes an impact on the field.

Evaluations, in this scenario, are a waste of time. You will need to be managing the game and the players.

Hope this helps.

#84389 - 01/24/12 07:41 AM Re: Evaluations [Re: realnice525]
brazilfan Offline

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1584
Loc: Citizen of the World
Originally Posted By: realnice525
I feeel like I have to explain to the players why they made the team or got cut.

Some coaches do, some don't.

But really, you don't.

At the end of the try-out, thank them for coming out. Say everyone gave a good effort. We will be making the cuts in a couple of days. Please see the website or check the bulletin board (or wherever you post the information).

That's it.

Sometimes, why they didn't make it is not due to lack of skills. Sometimes, it's sheer numbers and where they sit on the depth chart. If this guy was the 6th best midfielder and you are only taking five, then it's tough luck.

Or if you are only using a 3-back formation (ie. 3-5-2), then you only need 5 defenders or so and this guy was the 7th best defender, well, tough luck. He might be good enough to make it but you just don't need that many defenders, for example.

Or your division has a lot of tough teams and you are looking for grit, you might not need a silky smooth midfielder. You might need midfield enforcer-types.

It's all relative to who else is trying out and what you need depending on your formation, your system of play, your philosophy on ball movement, what you need to succeed in your league given the level and style of the competition, etc...

Does the kid fit in your overall plan?
That's the only question really.

Think about it.

#84396 - 01/24/12 11:59 AM Re: Evaluations [Re: brazilfan]
Proff Offline

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 293
Eh. The fact is, parents of young players in the US often don't have any idea what they are looking at.

I was under the impression that Realnice had young players, U12 or smaller. In that case...I can see the value in what he is talking about. If not for every player - then perhaps - for any player whose parents ask? Let them know you are willing to talk to them and give them help understanding their player's situation, if they want it.

All too often, parents have no idea how to help their own kids. They don't know why little Johnny, who is a great athlete, did not make the team, and if no one tells them, then they won't do one darned thing to help him get any better before next year. They will stick the poor kid back on his rec squad.

You don't have to do "skills sessions" to watch some U9s play and make note on a player "great speed, athletic, needs to work on first touch, passing, has potential". Which you can then easily relate to parents:

"Your daughter has the athleticism to be a strong player, but I feel that she needs to work on her ball handling skills before I could add her to my squad. However, I hope you do try her out for another premier squad, I would suggest one in division 4. There are many trainers in the area that can help her develop more quickly (see list below) this year, and I hope you will bring her back out next year."

That also gives you the nice option of partnering with some other providers like fitness trainers, skills trainers, goalie coaches, etc.

I am sick of seeing talented kids playing division 5 forever just because their parents don't know they could play in a higher division with just a little bit of help on the side.

All too often the D5 kid goes to try out for a D3 team at U9 and doesn't make it. The family has no idea why so they figure, oh well he just isn't that "talented". They don't understand how much coaching and hours spent training could impact their kid as a player, if they have the drive to do it in order to move up.

I run in to parents ALL THE TIME, who don't even know that there are different divisions! I know - those of us with a background in the sport can't imagine it - but it is true. I am always dumbfounded when this happens...but I hear it from parents more often than you would think.

#84440 - 01/26/12 07:14 PM Re: Evaluations [Re: realnice525]
brazilfan Offline

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1584
Loc: Citizen of the World
Originally Posted By: realnice525
The evaluation wouldn't so much say why they didn't make it, it would cover how they can improve to get better.

But remember, some things you can improve, others you cannot.
Here is an example of things I look for when doing selections for my school teams and rep teams.

Selection Criteria: Assessment of Ability and Potential

In assessing a player’s ability and potential, we look at a variety of attributes. Here is a listing of them:

Technical Attributes:

Crossing the ball
Long Shots
Long Throws
Marking/ Shadowing
Penalty Shooting
Set Pieces
Ball Technique/ Ball Control/ Touch

Physical Attributes:

Pace/ Overall Speed
Strength/ Power

Mental Attributes:

Aggressiveness/ Tenacity
Anticipation/ Prediction
Bravery/ Courage
Creativity/ Creating Chances and Opportunities
Determination/ Willpower
Flair/ Improvisation
Influence/ Leadership
Offensive Positioning (Running “Off the Ball”)
Defensive Positioning
Teamwork/ Propensity for Cooperation
Work Rate/ Work Ethic

The first set, technical, yes you can improve those with skills clinics and etc...

The second set, physical, you can enhance some of them slightly with training. For example, agility, jumping, balance, can be worked on but only to a limited degree. Strength and stamina can be worked on and increased too. But things like acceleration and pace are unfortunately God-given. You can't make a slow guy fast.

However, it is the third set, mental/psychological, where there's not much you can do. I know people will argue the point (and of course, there are always exceptions to the rule) but in my 20+ years of coaching, I have found that in the majority of kids, these are things you can't teach. They are born with them.

For example, vision, creativity. There are only a few Zicos, Ronaldinhos, and Ozils in the world.
Here are more examples.
Leadership. Wow.
Work ethic.

So, sure, you can say things from the first set, like Johnny's got to work on his crossing or his tackling. Take a clinic on this.

Or from the second set, yes, he can work more on his strength by doing weight work, or his balance, etc... Go to the gym. Take yoga.

But what about the third set, the intangibles? This is the most important category. Well, Johnny really has to work on his ... determination.
It would be better if Johnny was more of a leader.
If only he could improve his work ethic...

Sure you can work Johnny to death on his offensive positioning or his defensive positioning through drills but it will never be natural. He doesn't have the "instinct".

Same with positions on the field. Kids say, "I wanna be the striker". But kid, you have no instinct for attacking the net or knowing when to attack the net or positioning yourself to score.

I know a midfielder when I see it. I know a striker when I see it. I know a defender when I see it.

You can teach an average player to more aggressive but that's not them. I want the guy who's naturally aggressive, a bulldog by nature.

Anyway, long story short, sure, give them an evaluation. Will make them feel better perhaps. But the end result is the same. They are not on the team. And I suspect it is because they lack some of those intangibles in comparison to the ones you did choose.

Hope this helps.

And don't let the dipsy-doodlers impress you. That's why I advise against drills or skills. Put them in a game and you will see who's got the intangibles. Who fights for the ball. Who is a leader. Who has vision. Who has teamwork. Who is a bulldog. Who is "a player".

Here is an example:

A striker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hfhy68cPyTQ
(Hey, he's got all the attributes from the third set, except defensive positioning! Aggressiveness, yes. Willpower, yes. Improvisation, yes. Etc...)

A fighter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pr45hnkeg6U

Trust me, it's the intangibles...

#84446 - 01/27/12 09:46 AM Re: Evaluations [Re: brazilfan]
Proff Offline

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 293
Brazilfan, yes, it is the "intangibles", but I disagree that those are the "unteachables".

You don't think you can coach aggression or competitiveness? Argue that point with Anson Dorrance, and explain to him why his compettitive cauldron was doomed to failure because girls just couldn't be made to play aggressive soccer, it was against their better nature. Good luck! LOL.

You can create TREMENDOUS mental change in players by applying consistent mental practice in the same way you apply physical practice. MOST of what you list in your third section are SKILLS, not personality attributes.

The application of psychology to sport has been slow growing. It is expensive to hire a consultant, and most coaches have no background in it. Most coaches plan practice sessions with very little attention given to the mental habits that the players are developing at the same time they are developing foot skills.

Think of each mental skillset on a bell curve, let's take aggression...on one end you have the kid that comes to you with that genetic trait hard wired, and reinforced by years in a family that supported it. In the middle is everyone else, with mixed experiences and reinforcement, and on the far end are the people who are genetically hardwired to be submissive, and whose environment has supported their natural predisposition.

You would say that only the very tip top of the most aggressive could make great players. LOL, statistically very unlikely that those folks will also be fast, have parents that put them in soccer and can afford it, etc. No! In fact, at least half the scale are aggressive "enough". They can be coached.

Some players will come to you with strong natural traits that are easy to see and build on. For example, in leadership, you have the Alpha personalities on the high end of the scale. It is easy to turn that kid in to the team captain - but that doesn't always make them the best choice.

On the other hand, you may get a kid who is a natural empath, a little bit introverted but really game smart, very in tune with strategy and movement...he is in the middle of the curve - BUT with the right planning and practice, you CAN likely give that kid the skills to be the stronger team captain.

At some point in the bell curve there is a "threshold", and anyone with ability past that point can be taught. It is no different than physical skills.

The trouble is, this mental work takes years of practice and consistent effort, just like physical work. Coaches have to pay attention to it, and work with the sets of predispositions of every player, across many variables.

Our players now tumble through a system of coaches who work very little on what happens between their ears, and that is a mistake.

What you can do is to compartmentalize these skills by creating mental boundaries around playing, defining a new role/schema for them as "players" (in order to seperate it in their mind from their role/behavior as "daughter" or "student" or "friend" which is very often in conflict with what you want from them as "players"), much akin to the way actual field boundaries mark off the pitch from the rest of the world.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I will use Dorrance again, just because so many people know his stories. Anson did this with his girls. Outside of practice they were not execeptionally rough assertive girls, they were just your average kids...but his mental training taught them to turn on their aggression when they entered the pitch, and they did, consistently earning more cautions than any other team in their conference. Were they born natural brutes who came with a history of always playing that way? Nope. They were just kids whose level of aggression was above the threshold, so they could be coached.

So - I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with you on this. People, particularly under the age of 25, have exceptionally malleable brains and behaviors. Mental skills are dimensional exactly like physical ones, and can be developed and enhanced in the same ways, if you will only give mental training the same effort that you do physical training.

Just a thought - depending on your license, you have probably spent many, many, many hours in coaching seminars, watching videos, making every effort to learn about how best to train kids physically. You wouldn't do that if it didn't help you become better at coaching skills.

Have you spent even one hundreth of that time learning about child psychology, about motivation, about different types of learning theory, about sports psychology, or social psychology? If you have, then you are the rarity. Just give it a try...find a few books to read, a couple videos, keep an open mind and see if it helps you become better at coaching psychological skills.

#84524 - 02/02/12 09:20 AM Re: Evaluations [Re: Proff]
brazilfan Offline

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1584
Loc: Citizen of the World
Originally Posted By: Proff
So - I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with you on this.

Have you spent even one hundreth of that time learning about child psychology, about motivation, about different types of learning theory, about sports psychology, or social psychology? If you have, then you are the rarity. Just give it a try...find a few books to read, a couple videos, keep an open mind and see if it helps you become better at coaching psychological skills.

Thank you. I likewise respectfully disagree.
So we agree to disagree.

I'd have to argue that I have read my share of psych books, motivation books, and etc.. written by flunkies and flakes with a lot of mumbo-jumbo that sounds good and feels good. These are the feel good stories written to sell you a book.

Careful about psychology. They don't know as much as they pretend to, or are deluded into thinking that they do. Yes, I did take psychology in university but thank god, I didn't get a degree in it.

Motivation? "My New Year's Resolution is to lose weight." What happens?

Child psychology? I live it every day. My day job is schoolteacher. I teach them every day, all day. And trust me, a powderpuff is a powderpuff. Even as low as Grade 1 (6 years old), we know who are the "players". We see them on the playground, naturally, even before they get any formal training. It's easy to see who the strikers are, who the attacking mids are, who the defensive mids are, who the defenders are, and who the goalkeepers are. Even in Grade 1!!

For another example, even in Grade 1 or 2, some kids are always in the Office. And we work with them and still in Grade 8, they are always in the Office. Likewise, some kids are A students, superb at everything they do and it still holds true through high school and into university.

Sure, you have some (read "few") success stories of kids changing from D students into B students. It does happen but it is NOT the norm. Yes, I have taken some non-soccer kids and made them into soccer players. It has happened but it is rare. Usually, they need to have some kind of latent intangible that I can work with, like creativity, vision. And I mold the technical skills around it.

Sure, in some cases, at age 20, they can still change. Anyone can. Depends on them (determination, perseverance-hey, it's the intangibles again!) and you (based on your calculation of possibility of return on time and effort investment- like in finances ROI-return on investment). It's all about estimated possible returns.

A kid that likes to torment other kids, well you can try coaching him psychological skills. I know our Special Ed people do it all the time, day after day. Anything change? Not much. I'm not being pessimistic (at least not trying to). Just realistic.

I have taught long enough to see the patterns. I have coached long enough to see the patterns.

Kakas are born, not made.

(training/coaching/teaching just makes an already good product better)

In case you forgot, watch this:

Ronaldinho as an adult:

Ronaldinho as a kid (love this video):

Not much has changed...



"I didn't study; I live. You can't study these things; life teaches them to you. You don't find them in a book. I've read a lot of Socrates on page three of the Sun."

Eric Cantona

Former French footballer and captain of Manchester United
Voted as Manchester United's Player of the Century
Won four Premiership league titles in five years with Man United

#84533 - 02/02/12 03:22 PM Re: Evaluations [Re: brazilfan]
Proff Offline

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 293
Here is my "long reply":

So, what about women? 40 years ago they said all women were "powderpuff players". Coaches the world over laid on the floor laughing at the image of women playing with the aggression or passion of the men. Impossible! I doubt many would take that stance today, and only at their peril.

Women's "inability" to play sports was cultural, not genetic. Why not accept that may be the case for some other traits? Mindset and environmental reinforcement have a huge impact on physical ability.

You know...the thing about case study evidence is that it is always very convincing within the environment of the observer. We humans are flawed in that way...we perpetually find patterns that agree with our own theories, and we miss or discount the ones that don't. No offense to you personally, it is a well researched and accepted fact, intrinsic to our brain function. A very sensible adaptation, but not particularly helpful in understanding complex systems.

If you had gotten your degree in quantatative psychology(or any hard science based psych degree), then you wouldn't read the riff raff at the bookstore, you'd go read the actual studies and know what meets your standards for validation and what does not.

You have my sympathy, working in schools is very difficult, and very different, from coaching a premier team. You don't get to pick your class from a tryout. Instead - you DO get all the kids whose parents haven't done anything to prepare them to be on _any_ team, let alone an elite one. You don't get to teach what you think your class needs, instead you get to teach what some arbitrary panel of people decided your kids needed, from books a different panel designed (most of whom are politicians, not teachers), etc.

It doesn't work that well in the schools, and it wouldn't work well on a soccer team either.

On a premier team you should have motivated kids, with motivated parents who care enough to pay the bill and get the kid to all the practices, and those kids should all be above a basic threshold of athletic ability.

The population of kids on a premier team therefore, is a far cry from the population of kids in your class at a public school. At least in terms of experimental validity.

I assume you saw "Waiting for Superman" and if you are a public school teacher, cringed? Said "Wait, that is not fair, charter schools get to pick their students!" etc. LOL - as a premier coach, you are now the charter school. It's a whole different scenario.

Stay tuned for my short reply ;-)

#84534 - 02/02/12 03:39 PM Re: Evaluations [Re: Proff]
Proff Offline

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 293
COACHES please chime in with your esteemed years of experience...

Do you believe most players long term playing position can be determined by age 6 or 7 (as has been asserted by Brazilfan)?

That you can tell by first grade whether that kid will end up at age 18 as a striker, a wing, a keeper, etc?

I find this a fascinating statement, since so many great players have played multiple positions just during their pro careers. let alone as youth players.

Both my own kids play radically different positions than they did in 1st grade, so I admit, I am biased.

Send in your thoughts!

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