and -again is back on-line !!!

Greetings loyal readers,

Today's posting is to inform you the  and-again site is back on line and the coaching forum is up and running again.

This was the best soccer coaching forum on the Internet at one time. There are truly some of the great minds in the game who are contributing members there. Names you might well recognize if they chose or choose to divulge their true identities.  Posters from every corner of the globe.  That said,  almost all are welcome. Have questions about anything soccer / futbol related?  This is the forum to ask on. Members are patient and extremely helpful.  And-again has been one of my best resources and research tools for coaching the beautiful game.  Come check it out!  

**  I have no direct affiliation with and-again.  Just a contributing member such as you can become.


The strangely strange case of Thoughtful Soccer.

It was on the old and-again soccer forum that I encountered Russ Carrington. As I recall, he appeared on the forum one day with the intent of publicizing a book he was authoring.  Self promotion in Internet forums is probably second only to trolling to set a forum's regulars against you. And Carrington did take a fair amount of flak on and-again for promoting himself and his book.  I was one of the regulars who took the time to engage with Carrington and in January of 2003 he sent me a free copy of Thoughtful Soccer to read and review.

Thoughtful Soccer is written as a children's book with a target audience of new soccer coaches. There are fables, hisa's, thoughtscrims, comos, tries and cutesy names such as alligator river and one layer - two layer for long established exercises.  Generally, an experienced coach will take a brief look at this book and label it utter nonsense or rubbish. I would like to think I saw through that and appreciated the presentation to be ingenious in the context of targeting first time parent coaches of U6 - U8 players. The children's book approach melded with diagrams clearly targeted for adults reaches out to parents of K - 3rd or 4th grade children. This assessment proved to be a stumbling block for in discussions on the and-again forum Carrington would insist the book was targeted for and would work for coaches of all ages and all levels in youth soccer. This in spite of the introduction to the book being titled "Great News for New Coaches"  After all, how many new coaches begin their coaching careers as head coaches of high school teams? None that I am aware of.  They tend to at least of come up through the recreational youth ranks before being handed the reigns of a high schol team. Anyway, as those discussions on and-again would (d)evolve over the years,  Carrington would insist the book provided excellent methodology to prepare high school aged student athletes to play in college.

Coaches steal from one another all-the-time.  It's why most attend clinics and coaching courses or buy books and videos  - to find the latest best way to train a team. People who conduct clinics / coaching courses or publish books / videos do so to share their ideas ... and to make money, of course. I believe Carrington's motives were at least pseudo altruistic in the beginning,

What's the newest hot drill or exercise to train individuals or a team?  Carrington tapped into this with incredible energy through the presentation style incorporated in his book.  Still, aside from presentation, there are no truly new or revolutionary ideas in the book. And Carrington manages to get some of the ideas he does present wrong - his ideas on zonal defending for example.  The windshield wiper player is another. Misinterpretations of long established concepts that Carrington would argue are actually new ideas.  They are not.

Carrington's inability or unwillingness to accept constructive criticism in regards to anything Thoughtful Soccer related eventually led any discussion of the book and its contents to devolve into very ugly exchanges on and-again.  These "Russ centered" discussions eventually led to the down fall of a once great on line coaching community and resource center.

Russ Carrington not only sabotaged his own work so thoroughly that it is now widely ridiculed and mocked, but he helped bring about the downfall of the and-again site and forums as well. His staunch and steadfast defense of Thoughtful Soccer in the face of constructive criticism from some of the brightest minds in the game soon relegated the book to discount bargain bins and clearance areas. That's a bit of a shame for the book is not completely worthless. It's value was degraded by an egotistical stubborn author who took exception to any offer of help to improve his product. Carrington was a know-it-all and completely unafraid to proclaim himself as one to anyone who dared challenge his beloved Thoughtful Soccer.  And so he destroyed his own work and subjected himself to ridicule. A strangely strange tale indeed.


Looking for recommendations and an offer to help you.

So, I injured my knee at work a couple of weeks ago and am under doctors orders to stay off of it until all the testing on it is complete and a course of action is settled upon.  With little else to do I have been reading. Not strictly on soccer or even sports. I just finished up A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution by Carol Berkin.  Friend of the CBA Blog, Graham Ramsay has also kept me busy searching for out of publication soccer / football books from around the globe.  I am happy to announce I have been successful for him with one exception - a book titled Making Teams by Tom O'Neil. This book was self published in 1994 with a print run "possibly" following a couple of years later. The publisher is long since out of business.

Long ago when I first started coaching soccer I recognized the need to become a student of the game. At this point in my coaching career I have a decent library of books / videos and other sources of soccer knowledge. I continue to seek out information on the game anywhere I can find it.

Anyway, what I want to do is to solicit book recommendations from you, the readers of this blog. Soccer, or as the world knows the game, football related books are the priority although I will entertain recommendations of books on other subjects as well.

In return I am going to publish a listing of soccer / football related books I have in my own library.  I can make recommendations, provide reviews and or help you track down copies to add to your own library.  Sharing knowledge of the game is the best way I know to grow the game.

Contact me at

Listed Alphabetically

101 Teambuilding Activities Dale & Conant
2 v  1 Attacking Drills and Exercises David Goladstein
248 Drills for Attacking Soccer Del Freo
300 Innovative Soccer Drills for Total Development Wilkinson & Critchell
Attacking Down the Center Henk Mariman
Attacking Down the Flank Henk Mariman
Attacking Drills Edited by Mike Saif
Attacking Soccer: A Tactical Analysis Lucchesi
Attacking Soccer: A Tactical Analysis Luxbacher
Build-Up Play Henk Mariman
Captain for Life Harkes
Catch them being good Tony DiCicco
Championship Team Building Jeff Janssen
Coaching & Motivation Warren
Coaching Soccer Bert van Lingen
Coaching Soccer (2) NSCAA Edited by Tim Schum
Coaching Team Shape Cecchini
Coaching the 4-2-3-1  Steve Grieve
Coaching the 4-2-3-1  Harrison
Coaching the 4-2-3-1  Advanced Tactics Harrison
Coaching the Dutch 4-3-3 Robert Podeyn
Coaching the Goalkeeper Tony Waiters
Cobi Jones Soccer Games
Complete Conditioning for Soccer Sigi Schmid & Bob Alejo
Conditioning for Soccer Joe Luxbacher
Defending & Goalkeeping Drills Edited by Mike Saif
Design of a Soccer Training Session Based Upon the Physiological Match Demands of Competitive Soccer Coyle
Developing Game Intelligence Horst Wein
Don Howe - Super Soccer Skills
Dutch Soccer Drills: Game Action Drills Kentwell
Dutch Soccer Drills: Individual Skills Kentwell
Dutch Soccer Drills: Practice Drills for Attacking Kormelink
English Premier League Academy Training Sessions Vol. I
English Premier League Academy Training Sessions Vol. II
Feeding the Young Athlete Lair
Flat Back Four: The Tactical Game Andy Gray
Focused for Soccer Beswick
Full Season Training Program Lawrence Fine
Games Girls Play Caroline Silby with Shelly Smith
Game Situation Training for Soccer Wayne Harrison
Gender and Competition: How Men and Women Approach Work and Play Differently Kathleen DeBoer
Goalkeeper Medicine Ball Training Dicicco & Caruso
Goalkeeper Soccer Training Manual Dicicco
Goalkeeping Drills  Thissen & Rollgen
Goalkeeping Drills: Volume II Thissen & Rollgen
Hotshots #1 Workbook for 9, 10 & 11 year olds
Hotshots #2 Workbook for 9, 10 & 11 year olds
Hotshots #3 Workbook for 9, 10 & 11 year olds
How to Play and Beat the 3-5-2 David Platt
How to Play and Beat the 4-3-3 David Platt
How to Play and Beat the 4-5-1 David Platt
Improve Your Soccer Skills  Pavla 
Indoor Soccer Sterling
Inverting the Pyramid Jonathon Wilson
KNVB Coaching Course 
Learning & Teaching Soccer Skills Eric Worthington
Making Mistakes Brown
Making Teams  (photo copy) Tom O'Neil
Modern Tactical Development Allen Wade
NSCAA Regional / Advanced Regional Course Book Ken White
NSCAA Match Analysis Notebook
NSCAA Goalkeeping Level I Course Book Tippin, Waiters & Murphy
NSCAA State Goalkeeping Course Book  Ken White
NSCAA Goalkeeping II Adavanced Course Book Mike Coles
NSCAA National Goalkeeping Level III National Course Book George Parry
NSCAA High School Coaches Course Book Doug Williamson, Jeff Vennell, Matt BillMan, Mike Barr
NSCAA State Course Book Ken White
NSCAA Regional & Advanced Regional Course Book Ken White
Nutrition for Soccer Players Enrico Arcelli
Organizing Successful Tournaments  John Byl
Passing & Possession Drills  Edited by Mike Saif
Peak Performance Playbook Jeff Janssen
Playing as One Tom O'Neil and Alex Saltonstall
Positional Play: Back Defenders Wade
Positional Play: Goalkeeping
Positional Play: Midfield
Positional Play: Strikers
Practice Games for Winning Soccer
Practices & Training Sessions of Worlds Top…
Principles of Play Allen Wade
Principles of Teaching Soccer Allen Wade
Pro Coach - Coaching Pad Simon & Reeves
QuikSkills Folder Edited by Mike Saif
Recognizing the Moment to Play Wayne Harrison
Secrets of Soccer: Practices & Secrets
So Now you are a Goalkeeper Machnik & Hoek
Soccer Attacking Schemes & Training Exercises Fascetti & Scaia
Soccer for Girls  Graham Ramsay
Soccer for Thinkers Malcolm Allison
Soccer Guide to Training and Coachin Allen Wade
Soccer - How to play the Game USSF - Edited by Bobby Howe
Soccer is Fun - 1 Workbook for 6, 7 & 8 year olds
Soccer is Fun - 2 Workbook for 6, 7 & 8 year olds
Soccer is Fun - 3 Workbook for 6, 7 & 8 year olds
Soccer Offense For Winning
Soccer Referee Clive Thomas & Tom Hudson
Soccer Restart Plays Simon & Reeves
Soccer Rules - OK Geoff Hales
Soccer Skills & Tactics Moore
Soccer Star
Soccer Strategies: Defensive & Attacking Tactics Jones & Turner
Soccer Tactics Made Simple David Clark
Soccer Techniques and Tactics Jolex
Soccer Systems and Strategies Bangsbo and Peitersen
Soccer's Dynamic Shortsided Games Andrew Caruso
Sports Psychology Basics Andrew Caruso
Success in Football Mike Smith
Systems of Play Allen Wade
Team Defense is a Dance Brown
Team Training for the Goalkeeper John Murphy
Technique & Skill Drills Edited by Mike Saif
The Best of  Soccer Journal Jay Martin
The Brazilian Box Midfield Dos Santos & Reis
The Champion Within Gregg
The Complete Book of Coaching Youth Soccer
The Complete Book of Soccer Conditioning
The Complete Keeper Greiber & Freis
The Full Season Goalkeeper Training Program Murphy
The Great Book of Inspiring Quotations Jeff Janssen
The Handbook of Soccer Don Howe & Brian Scovell
The Scottish FA - Goalkeeper
The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaching
The Soccer Games Book Simon & Reeves
The Soccer Coaching Bible NSCAA
The Soccer Goalkeeper Puxel & Lawniczak
The Soccer Goalkeeping Handbook Welsh
The Spanish Goalkeeping Bible Ruiz
The Team Captain's Leadership Manual (5) Jeff Janssen
The Ultimate Dictionary Of Sports Quotations
The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Soccer Robert G Price
Thoughtful Soccer  Russ Carrington
Training Sessions of Europes Top teams
Training to Win Football Wolfe
Triangle Midfield  Robert Podeyn
Umbro Conditioning for Football
United States Youth Soccer Association Handbook for Small Sided Games
USSF D Manual
USSF E Manual
Usborne Superskills: Improve your Soccer Skills Ian St. John
Warm Up Drills for Soccer Chris James
Warm Ups for Soccer: A Dynamic Approach Critchell
Winning Soccer Yeagley
World Class Coaching: Training Sessions… Edited by Mike Saif
Zonal Defending: Flat Back Four … (2) Jack Detchon
Zone Play: A technical & Tactical Handbook Pereni & Di Cesare


It doesn't help.

Another one from Facebook, Equally as good as the previous.  Credit for this one goes to Mark Maguire and CoachUp Nation. The original article can be found here 

During the 2014 season, I asked my then 11-year-old son: "What do all the children in the dugout think when their parents urge them on with ‘instructions’ and ‘encouragement’ as they are playing the game?" He said bluntly, “they don’t like it.”
I further pressed him, "What about when I call out some last second reminders just before you bat, you know, the things we’ve talked about during the week and to help you remember what to do?" Again, he didn’t mince his words and said, “Dad, it doesn’t help.”
He then went on to say, “When I am in the batter’s box, I follow the instructions of my third base coach and put myself in the zone to block every other noise out. It doesn’t help me, or any other kid when our parents are yelling things out.”
I was staggered by his confident appraisal of the situation.
I went away and talked to a couple of players from our club who had played for Australia and in the MLB minor leagues. They said their fathers always watched them quietly and never said a thing. Let me say that again: never said a thing. They may have cheered when their son and his teammates made a nice hit or play, but they never put their own egos out there to think they would make the last minute difference to their son’s success or failure in the game.
I saw Zac Shepherd's dad in the stands one day at a Sydney Blue Sox game -- Zac is from the Hills district in Sydney and playing in the Detroit Tigers' franchise. I watched him closely, very closely, looking for any signs of him shouting out encouragement or frustration from the stands. Nothing. Even when his son made an error in the field or was struck out -- nothing. I also saw the dad when he was watching his thirteen year-old son play -- and he acted the same way. He just looked pleased to be there and allowed the coaches to do their job without him interfering.
Over and over again, I read about the players that have gone far in the game and, without fail, the same story appears. The parents watched and enjoyed the game in silence. They let their athletes play and enjoy themselves without putting the heavy burden of having to please the parent.
You might think: but I know my child and I know what helps him or her. Really? Do you?
Baseball is a game designed for you to fail. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on our children when they go to bat or are alone on the mound. And here I was thinking I could make the difference to my own son by sneaking behind the dugout to say some ‘inspiring’ words; or have a special code I could call out that only he would understand; or, as he swung and missed, that my ‘wisdom’ during his at bat would make the difference between him getting on base or not.
My son’s words ring loud and true even as I type this blog, “Dad, it doesn’t help.” But I thought I was helping, and in reality, all I was helping was my own ego and my pride got in the way. Yes, it's my own ego and pride riding on every success and failure of what my child did out there. I know we like to blame the umpire, blame the coach, blame anything to explain why our child may not be doing what we hoped for. Why not stop blaming everybody else and let our children just have some fun out there with their teammates -- let the coach do the talking.
Even then, the coach can get in the way at times when he thinks he can give technical input during an athlete's at-bat. Let me tell you, it doesn’t help either. The time for technical input from the coach or parent is when the player is in the right frame of mind, like when they're training. 
Over Christmas I finished a book called the Matheny Manifesto. If you find it difficult understanding the concept of how much us parents get in the way, just read that book. His letter to the parents of the Little League team he was asked to coach went viral and that is what inspired the book. Look it up. Search for it. It is an eye-opener, and this is from the current coach of the St Louis Cardinals.
At the end of a game or practice now, when I am driving my son home, I’ll tell him I enjoyed watching him play and note some good things he and the team did. I’ll try to have a laugh with him about some errors or ground-outs he made. And if he is ready, and I have his ear, I may raise an issue I saw during the game...I may.
However, I’ll phrase it in the right way so he doesn’t think it is my ego and frustration doing the talking. Because, it’s not about me; it’s not about any of us parents. Don’t we wish our big, fat egos would just shut up? I wish mine did.
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel like yelling something ‘beneficial’ out. I still think I can make a difference. Those that know me know I am a fairly loud cheerer and quite the clown at some games. Even recently in Taiwan, during the U12 World Cup, I was loud and having a lot of fun in the stands. But I’ve learnt to stop yelling instruction… because, of course, “Dad, it doesn’t help.”
Oh, and if you find your athlete is always looking at you when he does something wrong on the field, it's probably because he thinks he displeased you. Next time, why not move spots so your child doesn’t know where you are. Our athletes want to please us so much already and it hurts them even more when they know our ego and pride is riding on the game.
Seriously, make yourself and your voice a ghost. Take the pressure off them and let them be athletes that love the game. This game that is set up for them to fail, but also will set up for them to learn some great lessons of life.
I’ve learned my lesson from wise and talented men who played the game at the highest level, from watching a dad who has two talented sons playing the game, and from the honest mouth of my son. It is a hard lesson, and one that will pierce our hearts. Let our children say to us when they reflect back on how much they enjoyed the game, “Dad, you were a great help.”

Why do you pay so much money for your kid to play sports?

I am giving credit for this article to Mark Wolpert of Southhampton, PA.  A friend shared it on Facebook and I found it to be a wonderful glimpse into what parents should be thinking about youth sports.

Mark Wolpert
One of my friends asked "Why do you pay so much money for your kids to do all their sports”? Well I have a confession to make; I don't pay for my kids to to do sports. Personally, I couldn't care less about what sport they do.
So, if I am not paying for sports what am I paying for?
- I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired they want to quit but don't.
- I pay for those days when my kids come home from school and are "too tired" to go to their training but they go anyway.
- I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined, focused and dedicated.
- I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body and equipment.
- I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good team mates, gracious in defeat and humble in success.
- I pay for my kids to learn to deal with disappointment, when they don't get that placing or title they'd hoped for, but still they go back week after week giving it their best shot.
- I pay for my kids to learn to make and accomplish goals.
- I pay for my kids to respect, not only themselves, but other athletes, officials and coaches.
- I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours, years and years of hard work and practice to create a champion and that success does not happen overnight.
- I pay for my kids to be proud of small achievements, and to work towards long term goals.
- I pay for the opportunity my kids have and will have to make life-long friendships, create lifelong memories, to be as proud of their achievements as I am.
- I pay so that my kids can be out on the field or in the gym instead of in front of a screen...
...I could go on but, to be short, I don't pay for sports; I pay for the opportunities that sports provides my kids with to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far I think it is a great investment!


Playing fast soccer is all about vision and brain power.

I often recognize problems in the game of soccer before fully identifying them.  I will allow that to sink in for a moment.

Soccer is a game that is all about angles.  To play at the highest level possible players need to see as much of the game as possible.  This is a fundamental truth of the game.

In watching our local high school team the last couple of fall seasons this has been driven home hard. They tend to play in channels which makes their play extremely direct. Now, I am not against direct play, per se.  However, if a team's m.o. is to play in a single channel, they become very predictable. As I watched these teams play my mind began to scream "Change the Channel!"  In this day and age of "pressing defense," remaining in the same vertical channel on the pitch plays right into the press.

(Hit the jump for the rest of the article)

Winning isn't always about which team scores more goals.

I am one of the most competitive people you will ever encounter. That said, those who have played for me will attest to my rarely knowing the score during or after a match. As a player, I always knew the score. Not so much as a coach. This is because I am not in competition with the opposing team or the opposing coach. As a coach I compete with myself.

As a player I learned the need to improve each day. With each new sunrise I was driven to be better than the day before. Not blessed with blazing speed of incredible quickness I learned to read the game, to anticipate and to out-think the opponent. These things allowed me to play much faster than my physical speed would allow for.

In coaching I am fond of saying "the game is my test" to determine how well I prepared the team to play. One might consider if my team won, I have passed my test, but this is not always true.  I have had teams play poorly and win. Similarly I have had teams play very well and lose. Passing my coaching test, my self-evaluation of how well my team was prepared to play, is the the key to being successful as a coach.

(Hit the jump for the rest of the article)