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Philosophy Friday

September 7th 2018
“You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places that are undefended.”  
- Sun Tzu, (The Art of War) 
"Most coaches switch from learning one skill to another skill either within practice or from one practice to the next. This approach bestows a little knowledge of a lot of things at a low level. However, when learning the most creative and difficult neuromuscular skills needed for deceptive dribbling and finishing, the importance of recognizing the efficiency of “Massed and Concentrated Block” practice versus “Distributed and Varied Skill” practice cannot be underestimated. Concentrated Block versus Varied Skill refers to sticking with one skill for a number of practices versus jumping around from skill to skill. 
 
When learning the complicated movement patterns inherent within moves to beat an opponent, it is important that the distinct parts of each move are broken down and performed separately until they can be performed with great technical efficiency. These components should then be combined one by one until the whole movement can be performed seamlessly. All else being equal, as in the attempt to learn a totally new and unfamiliar move, it is best to start out with massed practice and stick to the one skill for the whole practice session. Then as the move starts to become reasonably familiar, gradually switch to a more distributed, or broken up, practice approach where a number of moves are refined within the same practice. 
 
Soccer has six basic field skill areas as follows:   Dribbling  Shooting  Passing  Receiving  Tackling  Heading.  
 
Accepted coaching philosophy is to teach these six skills successively with each practice dedicated to a different skill. This is varied skill practice at its worst. Each time the player comes to practice he is beset with a completely new set of movement patterns before he has come close to mastering those worked on in the previous practice. By the time the skill worked upon in the last practice comes around again six practices later, he has lost all but a small residue of the neuromuscular skill acquisition pattern learned during the previous performance of that particular skill and has regressed to a point only slightly higher than the first time the skill was worked on. The “Concentrated Block” approach will focus on one skill area for a number of weeks. In each practice the player builds rapidly on the movement pattern acquired in the one before. Through years of experimentation I have found that 8 to 12 weeks of concentration upon one skill area i.e. dribbling or shooting, favors maximal skill acquisition. "

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Luke Westling


"Coach Luke was our very first HappyFeet intern and one of the most enthusiastic coaches I've ever had the pleasure of training. He has the BIGGEST heart of anyone I've encountered in my lifetime, and told me all summer long how much he loved his players. Come back to coach with us anytime, Luke! And teach my coaches a thing or two in the process." - Coach Lexxa, HappyFeet Director, 2008 & 2009 Legends Coach

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Philosophy Friday

August 3rd 2018
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
- William A. Foster 
  "The mind has an infinite capacity.  Therefore the “programmer” has a vital role and fundamental responsibility to maximize the creative capacities of the pupil. This applies to all learning environments and it is essential that parents and older children examine and understand the vital importance of what is being taught in all learning arenas including soccer. Your mind is “the computer” and you are being “programmed” by a coach. If you are programmed with positive information the results will be positive and worthwhile. If you are fed negative information, the results will be negative and you will be destined to fail. Wise men and philosophers through the ages have disagreed about many things but they are unanimously in agreement on one point, we become what we think about! 
  That is why you must focus primarily on the creative offensive part of the game. If you focus on the development of tremendous individual skill you “input” the finest data into your computer (mind). If you are focused on solving the more difficult problems of how to beat a player and score, you will easily develop the simpler team skills of creating space and passing to a teammate. If you are focused on developing the mental attributes necessary to develop fantastic individual skill and make big plays, you will develop a tremendous self-concept and phenomenal soccer confidence that will carry over into other arenas in life. More than anything you must develop the creative soccer mind. No matter what physiological limitations you may have, you can still develop the mind of a Pele. Creative thinking is not the sole domain of the fast player. The reverse is actually more often the case because slower players can’t rely on their athleticism to win the battle. "

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     
     

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Philosophy Friday

July 6th 2018
“Many people know so little about what is beyond their short range of experience. They look within themselves--and find nothing! Therefore they conclude that there is nothing outside themselves either.”  
- Helen Keller  
"Only when players have experienced long-term practice in the high-risk stages of the Legends approach can they hope to interact with creative harmony and unity. Getting to this point in the developmental process involves constant loss of possession and negative statistical game results. However, without these essential possession and statistical risks and negative game results there can be no ultimate reward. One cannot discover new continents and enjoy new horizons without leaving the comfort of the home shores, encountering the occasional storm and experiencing regular setbacks. When playing with creative unity and harmony the coach and players are not sure how things will work out, what the result will be or whether they will achieve their statistical goals. However, they will experience the reward of constant improvement and their play will confuse, intimidate and frighten their opponents. In the tradition of Brazil they may, as they mature, lose the odd game to a lesser skilled or less creative opponent, but it will be the exception rather than the rule. 
Players trained to enter the “Zone of Altered Consciousness” through the Training Soccer Legends method will enjoy vastly improved vision and greater motivation generated by a higher level of mutual learning and perception. As with most processes of discovery this will, in turn, result in further learning and perceptual development. Most teams experience little creative harmony and unity due to the training methods employed by their coaches and their regimented interaction with teammates. They have been rote brain washed into a safe yet stilted passing and receiving approach where individualism and risk are sins of the highest order. Such players reach a point of inertia where they are totally dependent on their teammates and individually inadequate. Their self-concept and spirit breaks apart on the barriers to creative development erected by their win-oriented coaches. "

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     
     

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Philosophy Friday

June 1st 2018
"The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught. He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept."
- John W. Gardner 
"Creation and reaction have the same letters. They are anagrams. Each step along our journey we are faced with a choice either to create or react. Many coaches teach their players to spend the whole game reacting. Like defenders playing against a skillful team under pressure they react. In life we react to circumstances, headlines, events, family problems and challenges. However, there’s a better way to exist. This encompasses choosing ones path, planning ahead and adhering to the plan. It demands a conscious choice to create. Creation occurs when we envisage, predict, plan and act. Great coaches grasp that setting goals, developing a vision of the future and establishing a curriculum that achieves the ultimate objectives, saves time. Yet most coaches change their practice content and plan weekly based on what occurred in the previous game and their desire to win quickly. Great coaches who think about development strategically are able to picture a range of actions that guarantee the achievement of the long-range goal. The vision developed leads to the teaching of creative techniques, tactics and strategies that the players will need and use at the very highest levels of performance. Great coaches are future focused and will work strategically by investing their efforts in the development of players who are individually capable of playing at the highest levels and collectively capable of making a positive contribution to the future success of any team they play for. Failing to have a long-term creative curriculum and falling into the trap of reacting dissipates focus and energy on trivial items, mistaken agendas and hopeless crusades. The coach who does this becomes a dabbler and wastes time on the trivia instead of solid, well planned, rewarding personal and team growth. "

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Isabella Brooks


"Isabella always gives her best effort and does it with a big smile on her face. She isn't afraid to try new skills in practice or games. She has been fun to coach this spring! " - Coach Annedee
     

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Philosophy Friday

May 4th 2018
“Offer the enemy a bait or lure him; feign disorder and strike him.”  - Sun Tzu, (The Art of War) 
"The smaller practice field puts great pressure on a player to make quick, composed, shooting, dribbling, passing and receiving decisions. The technical performance of these skills has to be nearly perfect to be successful at the highest level. Because the pressure in a reduced size crowded practice area is far greater than that of the outdoor penalty area the "Transfer of Training" benefits from the practice environment to the real game are maximized.  
 
When a player has been trained in practice to do the most difficult skills at the greatest speed, transferring this ability to the real game becomes relatively easy. When the coach continually focuses on and demands the most difficult techniques, all other techniques become relatively easy to perform. Therefore, if a player has been trained to overcome greater technical and tactical practice challenges than those encountered offensively and defensively in the outdoor penalty area during a game, he will be more likely to enjoy subsequent game success in that part of the field and is guaranteed to be effective between the penalty areas where the physical and psychological pressure is reduced. 
 
This is because positive transfer of training from the most difficult skills in the tightest areas, to the full game, is maximal. While transfer of training from the easier skills with expanded space and time, to the restricted spaces of the penalty area, is minimal. "


- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Liam Cousins


"Liam is a fearless dribbler and true competitor! He brings his A game to every practice and match. His smile and attitude make him an extremely coach-able player. " - Coach Christhian
     

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Philosophy Friday

April 6th 2018
“Consciousness is a phase of mental life which arises in connection with the formation of new habits. When habit is formed, consciousness only interferes to spoil our performance.”  - W. R. Inge 
"Individual Compounding: One of the most resounding justifications for a dribbling approach to coaching soccer is provided through analysis of the subsequent behavior of supremely confident dribblers in pick up or scrimmage situations. If duration of time in possession of the ball is selected as the criteria for statistical assessment, these individuals are the dominant players. Therefore, dribbling development compounds because a greater percentage of each and every soccer situation involving one ball and a number of participants will be enjoyed by those players with more refined dribbling abilities. In more basic terminology the same player who, prior to an intensive course of dribbling, enjoyed 25% of total time on the ball in a four-person scrimmage will most definitely enjoy a greater percentage of possession after learning to dribble the Legends way. This extra time on the ball pays greater dividends in skill acquisition and compounds into an even greater percentage of possession. The benefits of this all too logical observation do not end here because, just as one year’s investment interest will compound itself in following years, this type of skill development compounds itself in any subsequent group activity with a soccer ball.  No other of soccer’s skills has this compounding effect because they are all reception or release based. Therefore, the incidence of their occurrence is, to a large degree dictated, by both opponents and teammates. 
 
Small Group Compounding: An additional compounding affect occurs in any situation where a few players trained to be very creative, self-confident dribblers play together. Players trained together to dominate the ball deceptively will enjoy more cumulative possession in small-sided environments. This is because they are more skillful and able to hold individual possession until ready to take a shot or make a pass to a teammate. Because they don’t have the ability to overcome defensive pressure less skillful players force passes and lose possession. Even a small extra percentage of ball possession in small group situations will compound itself and guarantee even greater skill acquisition later on.  Examples of small group situations where players trained creatively from the same team could play together are 3 v 3 tournaments, pick up games, school recess, high school and state select practices. Therefore, because of the small-group compounding factor, the “Training Soccer Legends” coaching approach provides a significant benefit even when playing or training in other soccer environments. 
 
Team Compounding: The logical progression is where a whole Legends team enjoys a significantly greater percentage of individual and cumulative time in possession than a team encouraged to pass quickly or play long-ball. Any player on a team with a whole squad of players trained to hold the ball with deception under pressure until the time is right for a pass or shot, will enjoy more ball possession and far greater development. "


- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Davis Infante

 
"Davis comes to practice everyday with the hunger to succeed. It's fun to watch his Messi like touches as he dribbles down the field. Davis is a joy to be around, and always has a smile on his face! " - Coach Thomas
     

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Philosophy Friday

March 2nd 2018
“Only dead fish go with the flow.”  -Malcolm Muggeridge 
"To use a dietary analogy, in much of modern day soccer we are being fed a menu of rice and potatoes. The fare is extremely bland. Where is the spice to tickle the taste buds? In the family kitchen you can fix the hunger problem quickly by cooking rice and potatoes because they are cheap, hard to mess up and fill a hole in the belly. However, rice and potatoes satisfy limited nutritional needs and without something to spice them up are very bland. So it is with soccer! Modern day coaches, fueled by the desire to win today, adopt the quick fix mentality towards achieving the extremely short-term win objective. They waste much of their precious training time doing such things as conditioning the athlete without a soccer ball. This type of training involves long, middle distance and short burst/reaction training. Many utilize circuit and weight training in the teenage years. There is no denying that this type of training has some carry over benefit into soccer, however, if we are to give any credence to the S.A.I.D. principle of physical education, (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands), all of this valuable time needs to be replaced with constructive practice spent with a ball. 
 
In simple terms this lack of ball work is normally a function of ignorance and fear. It is ignorance of the ways in which to develop soccer brilliance through a system of practice development designed to promote maximum technical skill, tactical speed, psychological growth and fitness simultaneously. It is also ignorance in the shape of selfish ego serving desire to get the statistical win rather than the ambition to develop each individual to the maximum of their potential. It is a function of fear because it takes a great deal of courage to ignore the critics, be an original thinker and back ones’ beliefs with action. "

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
 
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Bryce Richardson

 
"Bryce is a great kid with insane focus for his age. He is always willing to accept the responsibility of having the ball at his feet and makes solid, brave decisions every time he has possession. Bryce never lets the score effect his work rate; win, lose, tie...he always giving his best effort. "
- Coach Lexxa & Coach Thomas
     

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Philosophy Friday

February 2nd 2018
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”  - Andrew Carnegie
"When properly understood, creative team unity and harmony are two of the most important components of the “Training Soccer Legends” philosophy. Putting all the individual brilliance together to create a team of truly unique individual creative talent and team cooperation is the ultimate objective. The highest forms of creative unity and harmony utilize the four “Training Soccer Legends” soccer components of creative technical, chaotic tactical, specific physical and clutch psychological to exploit new opportunities that didn’t previously exist. The Legends philosophy of building toward creative unity and harmony triggers and releases the highest powers of the individual and the team. It allows the team to achieve things not previously deemed possible by solidifying a highly talented and prepared group of individuals into a team of brilliance where the sum of the whole is much greater than the cumulative addition of its parts. This is the most electrifying yet frightening aspect of the “Training Soccer Legends” approach because the coach doesn’t know what is going to happen. It is the players who conquer the challenges in their own unique, improvisational ways. Meanwhile the coach gradually makes practice more complicated and challenging without restricting creative options. The “Training Soccer Legends” approach is unscripted freedom of thought and action. It takes an amazing amount of self-confidence and security on the part of both players and coaches to allow this to happen because this approach defines the risk of pioneering, the spirit of adventure, the joy of discovery and the establishment of new horizons. The player trained in this method becomes a swashbuckling pirate of the soccer field, robbing defenders of their security and exposing their weaknesses by the most adventurous and creative means possible. Creative unity and harmony floods through a team prepared in this manner, thereby building a fluid structure that allows each individual to share in flair based leadership that totally confuses their opponents. Better still, its effectiveness is not reliant upon defensive errors because an offense that combines technical brilliance with phenomenal tactical speed can score against a defense that makes no mistakes. All this flows from the creative independence inherent with the Legends method, plus the elevated level of confidence and high self-concept that goes hand in hand with a tremendous level of individual skill and tactical speed. Because of the tremendous independent creativity and deception of the players they can mature into a team of incredible interdependence and perform tasks as a group that are far beyond the ability and concept of teams trained in the outdated, antiquated, purely pass and receive mentality favored by the protective, fearful, low risk, win oriented coach. It is time we all adopted an approach that is less defensive, apprehensive, judgmental and conservative in favor of a methodology that is more progressive, creative, liberating and unifying. Through this approach we can truly create the “Team of Brilliance”. "

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
 
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Meili Brady

 
"Meili is fearless on and off of the field. Her confidence sets an example for all of our Legends players, and truly proves that Legends female players are one of a kind. It has been an exciting winter season and Meili has definitely been a part of that!" - Coach Courtney
     

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Philosophy Friday

January 5th 2018
"If you're not riding the wave of change…you'll find yourself beneath it."  
-Winston Churchill 
 "There is nothing more exciting than watching a player dribbling the ball. The ability to manipulate the ball makes a player that can perform this “art” special in many people's eyes. Christiano Ronaldo mesmerizes fans with his ability and the “tricks” he can perform to beat players. Joe Cole at Chelsea is a great dribbler. That was one of the main attractions for Claudio Ranieri when he bought him. “I need a player who can dribble and I think Joe Cole is that kind of player,” said Ranieri as he snapped up the England midfielder from West Ham in the summer of 2003. “In my opinion, he can play in any midfield position from the left to the right, or behind the front two. He's fantastic one-on-one. He's very clever and passes the ball very well. I like him when a match is close. He can dribble, pass and score a goal. He's strong and an Englishman.” Ranieri is not the only coach to appreciate such skills. When talking about Ronaldinho, former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard knew he’d signed a player of pure quality. “We all know Ronny has something very special,” said the former Dutch international. “When he gets the ball he can create chances from nothing. He got the assist for our first goal and when he started to attack he looked very good.”  
 
The skills demonstrated by Joe Cole, Ronaldo and other great stars such as Lionel Messi (Argentian), Robinho (Brazil) and Ibrahimovic (Sweden) are not only attractive to watch. Such skillful players are also seen as an essential ingredient in top teams. How do we encourage young players to dribble the ball in youth soccer? We must demand that they dribble with the ball when the opportunity arises. Too often coaches actually discourage players from dribbling the ball, insist that they pass instead, and thereby discourage them from trying to learn fakes and moves. The reason for this in the game situation is the high-risk nature of the strategy. Risky plays can lose games therefore coaches are reluctant to allow their players to take risks. They certainly won’t demand it. This is because they too often prize the win instead of development. Youth soccer should be about developing the potential of young players. If young players are encouraged to pass the ball, or 'get rid of it', every time they are in possession, the skill of dribbling will be lost and individual potential severely restricted. Coaches must be brave and sometimes sacrifice short-term objectives in order to achieve long-term goals. "

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends 
 
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Mason Ivy

 
"Mason is a hard worker at practice and is always willing to think outside of the box with his creative moves. He always has a smile on his face and his joyful attitude is contagious to other players. " - Coach Christhian
     

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Philosophy Friday

December 1st 2017
“Real, constructive mental power lies in the creative thought that shapes your destiny, and your hour-by-hour mental conduct produces power for change in your life. Develop a train of thought on which to ride. The nobility of your life as well as your happiness depends upon the direction in which that train of thought is going.”  -Laurence J Peter
"Many coaches would say that a tournament game, especially a final, is a “crucial” game. Others view every game as a “crucial” game. Both would be viewing the game purely from a “team win” perspective when bestowing this designation on the game in question. The great coach recognizes that there is one true individual circumstance when the game in question becomes “crucial”. This is when there is an active recruiter, with the potential to open the door to a higher level of play, at the game, practice or tryout in question. At whatever point players are being recruited for selection to a higher level of play they must be able to play inside their comfort zone to minimize mistakes yet still make enough “big plays” to impress the watching selectors. All players will be better equipped to impress the recruiter if they have spent years expanding their viable “safe” comfort zone to include “big play skills”. As a consequence of the uncomfortable, risk based “Training Soccer Legends” practice and playing mode they have been encouraged to adopt while learning, Legends players have technical, tactical, physiological and psychological comfort zones that are significantly wider and deeper than those of their opponents. Therefore, even when playing their personal version of “safety first soccer”, their superior technical and tactical speed will maximize their chances of selection to the next level of play. 

In a game where players are evaluated largely from a subjective perspective, the ownership of a vastly superior repertoire of creative technical skills and far greater improvisational tactical speed, will be the decisive factor in the ability to impress and be recruited to a higher level. 
 
However, in order to pursue the widest and deepest individual comfort zone the fear of statistical team defeat has to be set aside in favor of a high-risk playing approach.  This long-term philosophy is designed to eliminate an individual’s short-term “comfort zone”, while expanding her long-term comfort zone. Team losses will occur regularly. However, while the team is losing games to the opponent who plays an individually limited, expedient, win motivated, style of soccer, the individuals on the losing team will be relishing their personal growth and building the type of skills, attitude, fitness and tactical speed base that will enable them to reach and excel at the higher levels of play. "
 
- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends 
 
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Ben Warn

 
"It has been a blast to watch Ben develop this fall. It doesn't matter if it is a practice or a game his bravery is on display for all to see. Ben never backs down from any challenge and is willing to sacrifice himself to help the team. Then, when he has the ball is willing to take on others using skills, not just kicking and running. Proud to have him as a member of our team.  " - Coach Eugene
     

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Philosophy Friday

November 3rd 2017
 “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”  -Michael Jordan 
"Families exist to love, educate, support and cherish. Businesses exist to make money. Youth soccer, premier or otherwise, should be run by family values where enjoyment, effort, development and support are paramount. Professional soccer is run by business values where results and winning are the most vital objectives. In between are the high school and college environments. Some high school teams have coaches who run their teams with extreme “win at all cost” business type values. Conversely some colleges have programs that are operated with a loving and supportive family type structure. As an educator and mentor I believe firmly in maintaining a “family” style coaching culture through college. I believe that collegiate graduation is the absolute earliest that a young person should have their individual horizons restricted by an emphasis on winning versus development. 
 
Unfortunately for many youth players we live in a “perform or perish, win at all costs, profit or perdition” company/business type culture. We are often valued for what we produce rather than because we make our best effort. If a youth coach assigns value based upon day-to-day productivity, she is helping instill a warped adult system of value judgment into a child’s personality. Throughout life, children and adults need to be shown that their existence has value whether or not they are successful in the business/profit sense of the word. Children need to be educated to try their very best in every important situation that demands 100% effort. This is a gradual “step by step” process. For children to experiment and maximize their creative potential they need a 100% effort “reward for risk” education. If children are to be freed from the bonds of “perform or perish” coaching they must taught that it is the effort and risk, not the result, that counts."  
 
- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends 
 
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Will Wisenbaker

 
"Will is a 'lead by example' type of player. He is always giving his all at practices and games and constantly seeks new ways to incorporate skills in matches which rubs off on his teammates day after day. I'm proud of what he has accomplished so far as a player and can't wait to see how much more he will accomplish in the coming seasons. The sky's the limit! " - Coach Sarita
     

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Philosophy Friday

October 6th 2017
"I worked on my weaknesses and made them my strengths."
- Sydney Leroux
"Females are different to males (big surprise that one!!). Girls are either genetically programmed or taught to be more nurturing, less aggressive, kinder, more caring and to have a greater degree of empathy. It is probably a combination of the mothering instinct and societal training that creates this accepted psychological trend in females. This sharing, caring characteristic makes girls more inclined to adopt a "team approach" to soccer and give the ball away very quickly to a teammate without dwelling upon or "hogging it". Boys on the other hand are either genetically programmed or nurtured to take greater risks, be aggressive and "go for it". They are less likely to exhibit empathy or caring and more likely to be selfish about possessions including a greater natural soccer propensity to "hog the ball". This "hunter/gatherer" instinct and training makes boys more likely to take risks and step outside of their comfort zone. Consequently, because the Legends club succeeds in training girls to be more like the boys, i.e. to hold the ball, beat players and score great goals, our female players stand out to an even greater relative degree than the illustrious list of Legends male graduates. Furthermore as a group, girls are more responsible. This means that they are more likely to complete assigned tasks. We assign all our players daily dribbling fakes and shooting homework. Girls take this responsibility seriously and follow through with the set schedule of homework more often than boys. Consequently the girls attain greater relative technical proficiency at the more advanced skills and demonstrate more effective deceptive dribbling and finishing technique relative to opponents trained by more traditional coaches. This leads to greater effective domination over opponents than exhibited by boys. However, in both males and females the relative degree of deceptive dribbling and team finishing demonstrated by Legends trained players is significantly greater and more effective than players from opposing teams. Because Legends trained girls demonstrate a far greater comparative positive skill advantage over their opponents than the boys, it leads me to hypothesize that the female half of the Legends program will eventually graduate a greater percentage of players into college scholarships than has historically been the case with the male side of the Legends club. 
 
Another societal trend that limits girls on other teams but works in favor of females in the Legends program, is that girls are expected to conform to program norms more than boys. Within the Legends club this urge to conform is satisfied in the most creative manner. In other programs conforming means sharing the ball by passing quickly. Conversely, and to the greater advantage of girls, conforming in the Legends club means developing incredible dribbling and finishing skills as a group. In the “Training Soccer Legends” approach the curriculum emphasis on great individualism nullifies the traditional detrimental pressure of the more traditional team to be unselfish. The negative peer pressure to share or give the ball away quickly on conventional teams is one of the most damaging and detrimental influences on the ability of players to take the responsibility to make the “big play."

-Andy Barney 
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Regan Crusinbery

 
  "Crus is one of the most fearless players that I have ever met. Her composure on the ball is a thing of beauty. She makes decisions on the field with a level of confidence that I wish I had at three times her age. Crus earns every bit of playing time she gets and I love watching her play! " - Coach Lexxa
     

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Philosophy Friday

September 1st 2017
“To win without risk is to triumph without glory”  
- Pierre Corneille 
  "The problem with American soccer is not that we are making too many errors, but that we are making too few. What the great coach needs to produce are players who make decisions and take risks. If you believe that growth comes from risk taking, that you cannot grow without it, then in leading kids towards growth it is essential to get them to take intelligent risks and make mistakes. Errors are good. No errors, no progress. The successful player will profit from her errors and try again in a different way. No soccer player performs the right move, or hits the target, every time. That’s why players should be rewarded when their experiments fail. If a player is trying to learn something new she should get credit for it. A player who isn’t encouraged to make errors may learn nothing. Making errors is a good thing. Great players take responsibility for them, keep trying to fix them, conquer the challenge, and move on to the next one. In youth soccer an intelligent error is not a error, it is an opportunity for education. The key to great coaching is teaching this to your players so that they can benefit maximally from every attempt that fails. A soccer career spent making errors is more developmental and valuable than one playing safe. While one player may hesitate because he feels inferior, another will be busy making errors and becoming ever more superior. Many coaches would argue that they do not have the time to encourage errors. We would argue that you do not, not have the time."

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends 
 
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Roan Davis

 
"I chose Roan as the player of the month because even though he is playing up an age bracket, he is not afraid of trying his moves in games to beat opponents. He truly embodies the characteristics of a Legends player. He is a brave, creative, leader that is always looking to challenge himself by putting his own twist on the skills learned at practice. " - Coach Christhian
     

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Philosophy Friday

August 4th 2017
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
-Goethe
   "The disease of winning permeates our sports to the degree that most coaches will position players as young as 6 years of age and keep them in that pigeonhole during practice and games for a whole season or year. This is done to maximize the team’s chances of winning the next league or scheduled tournament. Unfortunately the end result is a player who sees the game from only one perspective and learns only the limited skills, tactics, fitness and psychology demanded of that position. In Paul Gardner’s excellent book “Soccer Talk” he quotes Columbia University coach Dieter Ficken, “The moment that you have a plan that the players must follow, you’re immediately playing non-soccer. In a game, players under pressure will play to their strengths. The moment you start giving them roles, then the players are not playing their game, but a game the coach perceives as soccer.” Kids love to play and create. They will spend hours setting up their toys and constructing imaginary scenarios. The natural tendency to be diverse, creative and adventurous is often stifled by the coach who sees the game from a rigid, organizational, winoriented, perspective. The inexperienced young player wants to learn and grow. She needs to be encouraged to experiment. She desires the ball and wants to be taught to do amazing creative things with it. The last thing she wants to do is share it with a teammate. The normal child desires fun through the satisfaction of the need for active play. This involves great movement and lots of contact with the ball in a creative, free spirited manner. However, most coaches ask their players to play a position. They first try to give their team structure. Young kids don’t want or need positional structure in their games. It takes away from the things they see as most enjoyable, i.e. ball contact, movement and play. Therefore, it takes away part of their motivation and enjoyment. Control freaks need not apply for coaching jobs in the Legends club. No matter how much we believe we understand or know, creativity is mercurial, a puzzle that ultimately cannot be fathomed in its entirety. You have to allow a certain degree of suspension of control; perhaps even be prepared to promote constructive anarchy where the means, if ethical and moral, are always acceptable if they result in a constructive end."    
 
-Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Kristian Moreno

 
"Kristian is a clutch player and such a hard worker. He has made incredible progress both as a player and a confident individual in the two years that I've known him. Love him to death! Super proud of how far he has come. " - Coach Lexxa
     

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Philosophy Friday

July 7th 2017
“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”   -Elbert Hubbard 
  " A weakness of most coaches is that they pay scant attention to the leadership component of developing very young and adolescent players. Over time coaches usually develop reasonably astute tactical ability. They are “little commanders” moving men and weapons into different positions to create match-ups of superiority or hide areas of weakness. They have attended tactically focused coaching courses and read numerous books and magazine articles on strategic teaching and methods. These courses have convinced them that the best way to get success is to use what technical skills and leadership ability their players already have to steal the win against the next opponent. They have wrongly convinced themselves that finding the best way to arrange and use the troops to win is the main purpose of good coaching. 

 However, in reality it is a coach’s ability to develop leaders that will make the biggest difference to the ultimate altitude of our players in soccer and in life. Pigeonholing players by position mostly uses what soccer and life skills they have already acquired and is a very questionable and perhaps even reprehensible method of teaching. In truth, the coaching component that separates the good from incredible, well done from masterful, and simply OK from fantastic, is first maximizing the self-concept and then the leadership abilities of ones players. Only by constantly fighting the emotional battle to extract the extra 10% effort out of your players will this selfconcept and leadership component be maximized. You must use every tool at your disposal in unique and varied ways to challenge your players to develop maximum creativity, skill, tactical speed, fitness, self-belief & mental toughness. You must create an attitude of training intensity and sense of purpose that promotes total immersion in elevating personal performance. The unique drive and focus you bring to each practice and game will enhance the abilities and selfconcept of the players, thereby developing their leadership capability to its fullest possible potential. This is the X factor that most coaches never really focus on. It is the one component that differentiates the truly awesome coach from the rest and separates the team leader from the pack. "

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
 
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Matthieu Rowland

 
"Matthieu is an exciting player to watch, because he is brave, creative and leads by example with his skills development, hustle and hard work.  He started with Legends 1.5 years ago with a great attitude and a lot of speed.  Now Matthieu uses that speed together with the skills, we teach at Legends, to play with confidence and control even when playing in his own 18.    It takes an incredibly fast and talented team to rattle Matthieu and even then he helps keep his team focused in hard situations.  His fun loving attitude off the field makes everyone laugh and enjoy themselves.  Matthieu personifies a Legend’s player by being a great teammate, being brave and creative, and working hard to lead his team forward. " - Coach Jonathan
     

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Philosophy Friday

June 2nd, 2017
“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson 
"The intelligent open minded amongst you will already be asking why is it that most coaches concentrate so heavily on passing and receiving at the earlier stages of development? It is a great question because doing so doesn't make any sense at all! We are educating our players to give the ball away as soon as possible after receiving it, before we have taught them how to keep it until the time is right to make the pass. Why is it that so many coaches are afraid to allow young players to dribble the ball until they lose it? On numerous occasions I’ve heard young players criticized by their coach for dribbling too much when it is the very thing we should be encouraging our young players to do throughout their youth career! The immature player may be soccer's version of a young Michael Jordan, yet a misguided adult, (who the kid respects because he's the coach), is telling him to pass the ball. Did the young Michael Jordan gave the ball away at every possible opportunity? Of course not! The young Michael Jordan was dribbling a basketball between his legs at age six and was cut from his high school team as a sophomore because he was, “too greedy”. Why can't we use a little imagination with our five year olds and picture them doing a Maradona, Matthew's, Cruyff Turn, Puskas or Rivelino move? Why is it that we don't envisage them following their rocket fast fakes with an explosion into space and a technically correct finish low into the far corner of the net and teach them how to do this? For decades the youth coaching community has been conditioned to teach the traditional “pass and receive” approach. Consequently, we have come to regard incredible dribblers and finishers as being born not trained. Soccer coaches as a species seem to believe that such individuals are preordained by some freak of nature, some supreme order of genetics or higher power, to be skilled superstars. In so believing we fail to recognize that there are many thousands of individuals born each year with the genetic capabilities necessary to be a soccer superstar. But, because we are so insecure with our own ability, (or secure with our own inability), to maximize this potential we use a, "Creative Finishers are Born not Made", rationale to excuse our own failings as educators of supreme creative soccer skills. In sports as in life, the hardest skills to come by are the most creative."

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Eli Brooks

 
"If you've seen Eli play, you know why he has been chosen for BCL of the month! I have coached him for 2 years now, and he has continued to rise above any challenge. Not only is he a talented athlete, but one of the sweetest souls I have ever met. It's been a pleasure coaching him, and he has played a large role in our teams success. " - Coach Courtney
     

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Philosophy Friday

May 5, 2017
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
“Training Soccer Legends” is a “Go For It” philosophy. Time is precious! However, many are the number of creative skills to be conquered. Becoming a Legend is the dream. Penetration is the goal. Why then go backwards or sideways? Those are directions for ordinary players not for the budding ball wizard. Because time is so short and the creative challenges are many, we have eliminated all backwards and sideways combination plays from the Legends developmental process and curriculum. College and professional recruiters are looking for those special players who can create, and/or finish, goal-scoring opportunities. Therefore, we can’t afford to waste our player’s precious developmental time on keep away drills involving trail passes and switching the point of attack, when the hardest and most vital component of the game is the ability to penetrate and score. Players who have been encouraged to “go for it” and think in terms of driving relentlessly forward, are those who stand the greatest chance of learning how to dribble, pass, or combine the two, to penetrate defenses and create goal scoring opportunities."

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Deja Martinez

 
"Deja is not afraid of any challenge! She has an incredible work ethic that rubs off on the players around her. I love watching her play, and I hope she continues to follow her passion for the game." - Coach Sarita
     

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Philosophy Friday

April 7, 2017
“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”
- Sir Winston Churchill
"Much of the problem in soccer is due to winning. So many coaches are in the game for their ego. Passing or, at worst kicking the ball forward, achieves the short-term benefit of territorial advantage. This minimizes the risk of giving away possession to the other team in the defensive third. To the coach who is interested in the statistical win this affords only his team with the opportunity to score because, if his players consistently use the "big boot" to get the ball deep into the opponent’s half of the field, there is a greater likelihood that his team will score and the other team won't. By using this method they score more goals than the other team, and the coach can walk tall because his team “beat” the other team. This approach is the “risk free” method of coaching. The players take no risk outside of the attacking third of the field, therefore there is no risk of dispossession in crucial areas. Unfortunately, because of this attitude, there is no risk of any player developing creativity because to do so increases the risk of losing, which cannot be tolerated by the fearful coach."

- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Kyle Morris

 
"Kyle is a defensive player who can easily switch to attacking mode with his deceptive dribbling. He welcomes challenges, and never gives up on his team. As he continues to grow, Kyle's leadership becomes more contagious to those around him. He is a leader on our team, and will one day become a leader in society." - Coach Leo
     

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Philosophy Friday

March 3, 2017
“The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all”
-Jawaharlal Nehru
"I came from a very traditional team/integration approach to playing and coaching soccer, therefore it took many years of intense sports study to understand that individual pursuit of soccer excellence relies on taking ever greater risks and continually stepping outside of ones’ comfort zones. In one of the strange contradictions of life and sport this is a vital pre-requisite to developing incredible team unity and harmony. Nowadays Legends coaches spend years developing very independent risk takers who later become a harmonious part of a much more talented team, (team of brilliance), than when team unity and harmony was the initial focus.
Later on we concentrate more on team unity and harmony. In this team “combination play” phase much time is spent teaching our players to work in harmonious units and to improve their focus on how to penetrate in tandem with teammates, while continuing to use deception and improvisation to beat players in dribbling situations. "


- Andy Barney
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Ethan Callahan

 
"Ethan comes to practice ready to go, and always puts forth his best effort and focus. He is growing into a leader on and off of the field, and sets a great example of what a true Legends player looks like. "
- Coach Paul
     

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Philosophy Friday

February 3, 2017

 

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
-Pele
"In school you will benefit to the maximum degree from striving for individual brilliance. Soccer is no different. You will benefit optimally from striving for mental and neuromuscular superiority. The only way to achieve this is to develop:
  •  The most incredible individual skills.
  •  The tactical speed to utilize those skills successfully under the greatest physical pressure.
  •  The self-concept and leadership mentality necessary to embrace and relish the challenge of learning to do this at the very highest level of competition.
You will notice that the last two of those characteristics are completely cerebral but both are totally dependent on the first, which is primarily repetitive and physical in nature. That is why the first step in the Legends program is teaching the neuromuscular skill needed to perform the world’s twelve most effective fakes and moves, followed by the ability to shoot with accuracy and power."

-Andy Barney 
Training Soccer Legends
     

Brave, Creative, Leader of the Month:

Hayden Melchiori

 
"Hayden attends every practice and game with a positive attitude. He works very hard in perfecting his newly learned soccer skills and it shows out on the field. In addition to being a great soccer player, Hayden loves juggling and playing the piano!" - Coach Thomas