On Monday we were joined by coach developer and author of Making the Ball Roll and Deliberate Soccer Practice, Ray Power. He has worked as an Academy Manager in Ireland, UK, and Africa, and came on to discuss Youth Development, Football Fitness and Age Appropriate Curriculum Design.
With the four corner model being quite mainstream now amongst the coaching community, I wanted to kick the interview off by getting Ray's perspective on something our previous guest, Paul McVeigh, was quite vocal about recently. Are we really paying attention to the mental side of the game or are we just nodding but not really putting it into action? Ray had some really good advice for youth coaches on how to impact players more in this area. Rather than just planning your technical and tactical exercises, plan ways to engage the players on psychological topics. He also suggested highlighting a theme for a session or a week and then looking for actions from the players to teach and reinforce.
Another big takeaway for me was when the physical component came up and we talk about fitness with our young players. Ray rightfully pointed out that when teams resume training, coaches will be looking to make up the lost ground on the physical side. But with players going through this period of social distancing and being without the game for so long, Ray advised letting the social corner take natural precedent for the opening weeks. This, he believes, will be in the best interest of the player physically and will allow them to simply enjoy the game that they have missed for so long.
The full interview and Q&A is available below.
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