1. Save 40-80% on great soccer jerseys. Shop today at BigSoccer Shop!

Training the Brain

Discussion in 'Coach' started by rca2, Dec 24, 2011.

Moderators: elessar78
  1. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Interesting article at CNN reprinted from "The Blizzard":

    "Standard Liege's Bruyninckx Leads Way In Developing Mental Capacity

    Editor's note: This is an exclusive offered to Sports Illustrated by the collective of writers at The Blizzard. To read more, download Issue Three of The Blizzard which is out now on a pay-what-you-like basis. Find out more at....

    Football, Johan Cruyff said, is a game you play with your brain. Michel Bruyninckx takes that claim more seriously than most...."

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/soccer/12/17/blizzard.sinnott.mental/index.html
     


  2. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Great article!

    A read a briefer story on Bruyninckx a few months ago which discussed training the brain, but did not really even get into sparse details. There's much more info in this one on what he does (or what the movement as a whole does). I like it, wish I could learn more.

    I think the basic gist of it is playing SSG and big games and letting the players learn the situations they will face and how to play in those situations. I've always felt that soccer is a lot of situational responses and pattern recognition. Where these articles rarely give me what I'm looking for is how they would start young players off. The article seems critical of ball-only (no context) and unopposed training. I can see why and it's been my criticism of Coerver training (even though I am a fan). I wish they could be more specific in that regard.
     
  3. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    FWIW, I went to the source site (Blizzard) and paid for Issue 3. Seems good so far. Lots of top journalists/soccer minds have written some pretty esoteric articles in there. I don't believe it's a lot about coaching, but if you're a soccer head then it'd be enjoyable reading.

    Can't beat the "pay what you like" feature. I paid 1 GBP. We need more writing and insight like this and not the majority of the stuff in the dailies and fanboy mags that seem to provide the fodder for most of BigSoccer's fan forums.
     
  4. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I came back to the article again today as there were just these really interesting ideas that I wanted to think more on.

    -On the last page they talk about how English academies spent more than 50% of training time on fitness or unopposed practices and less than 20% on SSG. I think this underscores the importance of SSG in our training. Less fitness, less full-sided scrimmages, less unopposed ball work.

    -"Space-mapping"? I'd like to learn more about this.

    -Players that scan the field are more successful at completing passes.

    -Villareal has 76 coaches in their academy all of whom have phys ed and child development qualifications. Mind blowing. Up to the age of 12 their players would be deployed in at least 3 different positions during a game.

    -I know that Development academies have limited games to 35(?) a year, but in the article it suggests that Barca's youth play 80-120 games a year! And this is the basis of their current domination. Maybe it's apples and oranges, since Barca youth (not even the general spanish kid) have a higher understanding of the game than your typical american youth player AND their games are more developmental rather than trying to win a tourney or finish first in ECNL.
     
    Rebaño_Sagrado repped this.


  5. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    deleted
     
  6. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    A lot of points! My comments:

    1. This is pretty intuitive. Nothing new. For at least 20 years that I know of the widely accepted practice structure is about 1/3 individual work and 2/3 group work. If someone looked around the US, they could probably find someone doing the same thing here. I suspect not everyone in England is having his team run laps and wind sprints at every practice. I also wonder who they are looking at, age-wise and level-wise. Think periodization. You wouldn't expect to see a soccer ball in the weight room. Not every session is technical training. Especially during the off season.

    2. I went "duh" on that one too. Couldn't tell from the context other than its something related to reading the game. From my perspective, I think novices see players on the field. Advanced players see the spaces on the field and anticipate the spaces to be.

    I like the concept of "vertical space" (think chip), although the current vogue is to keep the ball on the ground. I think my contempt for keeping the ball on the ground is partly, at least, due to the terrible fields I played on over the years.

    If kids always are required to keep the ball on the ground, when are they going to learn to pass in the air? I think the "push" for keeping the ball on the ground is to gain a tactical advantage by making passes easier to receive. But again this is bad for development. And tactically it takes the vertical space out of the game. When are the players going to get experience receiving balls in the air if all the passes are on the ground.

    3. This is not surprising. Traditionally in the US the school team coaches all had this background. The numbers were huge on a national scale. Undergraduate degrees at least. Unfortuneately over the last 30 years sports programs at schools have been cut. That lead to the education professional being replaced with a parent coach, which in soccer often meant a coach who had no knowledge of the fundamentals of the game.

    4. That was my practice. I don't think it unusual. How else would you teach novices the game? Fundamentals first. Not positions.

    5. But what do they count as a "game?" If you count scrimmages, SSGs and pickup games, they add up fast.
     
  7. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/9421702.stm

    Here's another link. In this article it talks about how there's no 11 aside in Spain before Age 15. I think we were discussing this in another thread.

    1. Someone referred me to a book, it might have even been you but the subject of the book was a "holistic" approach to sports training. Again, train the brain and the body will follow.

    2. I was thinking about this some more and if this guy IS doing ground breaking stuff then he just "made it up" himself, maybe we could make this up ourselves? The points are making the players aware of time and space and the angular nature of soccer. Maybe if the coach "mapped out" the playing space by creating a 10x10 cone grid throughout the playing area THEN players would become aware of how close ten yards is, playing to grids that are diagonal to the one they are in (and not directly North, South, East, West), moving into a new grid once you've made the pass. Or creating diamonds or triangles cone grids. I think the main idea is to challenge the brain to constantly adapt.
     
  8. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    The "angles" he is talking about (I think) is better translated as diagonals. If a team advances by making a series of diagonal passes, the direction of attack is constantly shifting making the defense's job difficult, especially if there is no set pattern to the passes. Next time you watch Barca, see how many passes are diagonal versus horizontal or vertical. (Passing vertically or horizontally gives either penetration or a shift in the point of attack. Diagonal passes give both at the same time.) To do that (pass diagonally) requires greater vision and passing skill. That objective drives how you train.

    Thanks for the link.
     
  9. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Country:
    United States
    One of the "en vogue" coaching points with youth players over the past ten years is to never play a straight forward or backward pass. Every pass on a diagonal at an angle. Every pass like a a bank shot in billiards.
     
  10. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Are you talking about BDSM from the "Brasilian school"?
     
  11. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Country:
    United States
    Me? No. At least, I'm directly citing that. Although, where I heard it, may have come from there at some point. I just know that it was very fashionable. Some of it may have trickled down from what Carlos Queiroz was doing with Manchester United 7-8 years ago, and he's Portuguese. :D
     
  12. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Country:
    United States
    Also, a helpful hint, I wouldn't recommend googling "BDSM". Not good.
    Care to expand on what you meant by that? :D
     
    Rebaño_Sagrado repped this.
  13. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Even more HELPFUL hint is to NOT google BDSM at work!:D

    Ball on the Ground
    Diagonal Passes
    Switch the attack
    Minimal touches

    It's one of the core principles in the "BFUT" methodology.

    Their support structure is not in diamonds but a box around the player on the ball. So that the POTB has 4 supporting players, all at angles (NW, NE, SW, SE), so any passes played would be diagonal.

    Great example of this is one of the last times the US played Brazil and they basically toyed with us. That version of the Brazilian team was young and many getting their first or early caps and I think the coach was new. So instead of trying to play a more complex style, they went with the very basic version of how they played soccer. The result was very embarrassing for the US.
     
    Rebaño_Sagrado repped this.
  14. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Country:
    United States
    Ah, yes. Was it you that was talking about using the Box+1 in 5v5 last year?

    BFUT? Explain! I'm beginning to think you are making this up. :D
     
  15. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    I don't recognize the theory, but it sounds very much like what I think of as a classic latin style of play which I have played against often over the years. I haven't seen anyone play it for a while. Most of the teams have incorporated some long passing, particularly long diagonals into the mix.

    Very recently I have played against teams playing (or at least trying) a 433 Barca style of total soccer. One team pressed us right out of the game. When it works, its great. Denies space to the opponent on defense by pressing high and denies time to the opponent on the attack by mobility (the ball does most of the work). Games are won or lost in the transition play.
     
  16. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Yep the Barca style is very much in vogue. PA State Championships the difference this year from years past is astounding. Ball was consistently on the ground, shorter passing, less hoofing, better receiving, pressing up high, attackers taking on defenders in the box (vs relying on crosses and knock downs).

    You said "When it works, it's great." Have you seen it not work? Or, more specifically, what have you used to beat it? Other than transition play, I mean. Even when Arsenal beat Barcelona last year, it was primarily in the counter where they were beat. Same with Inter two years before.

    I ask, because I'm one of those that have let Barca influence me. We press. We get burned by balls over the top.
     
  17. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Haha. http://www.bfut.net/

    And no, I did not whip this website up in the last 15 minutes.:D
     
  18. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Yeah. That is the easy answer.

    The Barca style of play can be beat by running with them if you have superior players (tactical speed rules). Usually the teams have weak spots. Usually its the back line, which you can isolate. Usually there only only 3 or 4 players that pose the threat. (In Bfut terms that doesn't even get them the single unit of 5). The team that pressed us off the field had no weak spots. We still ran with them. Got clobbered the first half when they were fresh, but it was much closer the second half.

    If there is no weak spots, your only hope of winning is to pack it in and counter. That is not such a good idea for a youth team though. I think the players learn more trying to run with an attacking team.

    This was adult players so its a bit different than youth. The team that pressed us off the field had a 25-30 year age advantage on average. We just didn't have the speed to keep up when they were fresh.

    I googled Bfut, and read some of their materials. I think NSCAA is bigger and more organized, but it looks like the same idea, except Bfut may be a for-profit operation. If you look at the NSCAA website they give a lot of information away. Bfut's site was advertising teasers for their $2000 plus courses. The quick look I took gave me the impression that they are a good source of Brazilian ideas (the unit of 5 is an obvious take from futsal), but has more traditional rather than modern ideas. Admittedly I got this from the lesson plan providing for traditional stretches for U-littles during the warmup. It really serves no purpose in a U-little warmup.
     
  19. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Speaking of futsal... I'll probably get the names wrong, but futsal was the inspiration for the tiki-taka style of play started by a Spanish coach in the 60s named Maguregi.

    below is what I read on it:
    In football terms this evolved into "El Futbol de Tik-Tak" or "Tiki-Taka" and was first used and developed by a coach named Jose Maria Maguregui. He began his coaching education during the time when Futsal was making its first impact in Spain( he retired in 65 and coached his local clubs through the late 60's before coaching Santander in 1972 after being noticed for his style of play), so during this time he was opened up to what Futsal had to offer Football. So what he did was develop a game which had the same one touch rhythm in possession play over the short spaces. Meaning the team kept the ball moving in small spaces. Opponents later commented on the amount of running the had to do get the ball back as it was about keeping the ball away from opponents in smaller spaces. Put more in more specific Football terms its one touch possession over small spaces, so in that way it relates to what Barcelona do in the small spaces. As I said it can relate to Positional Attack but its not the same thing. It later became related to Positional Attack as again this was developing along side "Tiki-Taka" in the 70's as Michels began to influence Spain and also through the work of Ruiz et al. So it is common for Spanish to have features of both methods of play which is different from it being the same thing.

    Yes, BFUT is a for-profit endeavour but I came upon it through the book Brazilian Soccer Principles by Goncalves. It's a dense book with a lot of info, but not sure how to apply it to youth soccer in America. Some of the activities seem to require multiple coaches who know what they are doing.
     
  20. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Horst Wein interview on "training the brain"

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3lH6qV_rvk&feature=related"]Horst Wein Interview - part 2 of 4 - YouTube[/ame]
     
    Rebaño_Sagrado repped this.
  21. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Great clip! These comments are not new concepts, but rather forgotten concepts.

    There has been too much emphasis on coaches the last 20 years at all levels. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that soccer is a player's game. Especially in coaching youth it is easy for the coach to get lost in his or her own ego. Today's culture views youth soccer as the coach's team, even at the very youngest levels. This is a larger problem than just sports. The view of a manager as an authoritative, infallible leader who is smarter than everyone else fouled business organizations as well.

    In the US this applies to all youth sports and I suspect it was facilitated by the movement away from school teams with teachers as coaches to private clubs with parent coaches.
     
  22. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Dorfman

    The latest reading I picked up is this coach's book from 2005: "Coaching the Mental Game." I suspect his books may be available from your public library.

    He describes it as sports pyschology, but it has broad application to any leadership position.
     
  23. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    The full title is:

    Coaching the Mental Game: Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports and Everyday Life

    By Harvey A. Dorfman. I have only read about half of it so far, but I think every coach ought to read it. If you don't read anything else, please read Chapter 8 "Coaching Is Teaching." He is not just talking about coaching developmental teams. He is talking about coaching professional sports too. Using Vince Lombardi as one example of a successful teacher-coach. If you are serious about coaching, managing a club or a business, this book is important.
     
  24. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Hello Boys,

    I tried to read that article. I had to fight to get myself to read the second part of it. It was completely over my head. :D

    It's like a math teacher who is an expert on the math he is trying to teach. But he can't teach it in a simple easy to understand way so his students don't get confused.

    That is true with a lot of soccer coaches as well. That is one of the reasons we use a progression on the more complicated elements of our game. Teach it a piece at a time. Then put the pieces together like a puzzle so the players can see the big picture on what your trying to give them.

    Truth is in my view you do think, but you think without taking the time to actually think. So it is like you see and you do.

    New players when they look up field have tunnel vision. They can only see in front of them. They can't see the full picture of the field. That comes later with better ball skill so they can get thier head up, (and not worry about losing the ball) and see more of the field and with more experience.

    I normally like looking for new things that can help the players game.

    Here is one and it fits the idea of the topic.

    "Span of perception/ chunking"

    What this really means. See the field and the opponents and team mates. Then instantly do something from the picture you saw. Without having to waste time thinking about what you saw. So it is see the picture and do an action. The action being making a good decision pass or taking on the defender or defenders or making a good shot.

    "Teaching it scientifically in a non sport context was done in the 1950's. "The Perceptional Speed Test was developed in the 1950's by LL Thurstonand TD Jeffrey of the University of North Carolina and is still used to test for checking the span of perception. It contains a 140 mini test search consisting of a picture in the farthest left column and five more figures to the right You must write down the column number of one figure to the right that is identical to the one in the farthest left column. It is now published by the Human Resources Center at the University of Chicago."Span of Perception; Ability to visually process a sequence of information instantly."

    I kept this because I thought it was very interesting, and can be applied to our game. I like to get my hands on this test, and actually test my players. To see how they do. Maybe by taking this test at different times during the season maybe they can get better at it, and use it in games.

    I would advise coaches to get it, and see if it can help your team in general. But your players should be very competant with the ball first.

    I think some players are born with this ability like Valderrama.
     
    Rebaño_Sagrado repped this.
  25. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    This chunking is a main part of the 10,000 hours theory.

    In Chess, grandmasters could easily recreate a board they were shown laid out in actual moves, as opposed to one where the pieces were just randomly placed.

    I assume it is similar with our sport. We always talk of players who take pictures who play much better than those who do not. But it's little surprise as these players are doing some advanced work and gathering information.

    The only part I'm slightly skeptical about is teaching this chunking in a non-sport context. The expertise is in a specific domain and memory recall wasn't a general skill, according to the 10,000 hours theory.
     
    Rebaño_Sagrado repped this.
Moderators: elessar78

Share This Page