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Last updated
04-19-14 05:41 PM
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Velocity Soccer Club
26 Vera Street
Portland, Maine
What Is A Coach?
rob and i

A coach is a politician, a judge, a public speaker, a teacher, a trainer, a financier, a laborer, a psychiatrist, psychologist and a chaplain. It also helps if they are an astrologer or at least understands numerology.

They must be an optimist, and yet, at times appear a pessimist, seem humble and yet be very proud. Strong but at times weak, confident yet not over-confident, enthusiastic but not too enthusiastic.

They must have the hide of an elephant, the fierceness of a lion, the pep of a young pup, the guts of an ox, the stamina of an antelope, the wisdom of an owl, the cunning of a fox, and the heart of a kitten. It will also be to their benefit to develop the acting ability of a poker player with a pat hand.

They must be willing to give freely of their time, their money, their energy, their youth, their family life, their health and sometimes, even life itself. In return, they must expect little financial reward, little comfort on earth, little privacy, little praise but plenty of criticism.

However, a good coach is respected in their community, is a leader in their school, is loved by their team, and makes lasting friends wherever they go.

They have the satisfaction of seeing youth develop and improve in ability. They learn the thrill of victory and how to accept defeat with grace. Their associations with athletes help keep them young in mind and spirit; and they, too, must grow and improve with their team.

In their heart they know that, in spite of the inconveniences, the criticisms, and the demands on their time, they love their profession, for they are THE COACH.

-- Author Unknown

I believe
coaches corner
90% is Mental . . . the other 10% is in your head. - Tom Howell

that a player should be provided the opportunity to make decisions, both good and bad. It would be much easier to demand specific actions from players at specific times or situations; I know there would be fewer costly errors. But playing in that manner would also negate the opportunity for the spectacular or wisp of creative flair that makes the game of soccer so special. Therefore, I try to provide players with situational recommendations, but insist that they make decisions. It is my job to analyze their results and provide feedback (both positive and negative) and try to assist them in learning from their past experiences so that in the future they might make the best decisions available to them. I believe that the best one can hope for in life is to be held accountable for the actions and decisions one makes - to reap the accolades or accept the feedback.

A team is a collection of individuals, but for a team to be successful it must be much more than that. A successful team is a group of individuals driven by a common goal. Our ultimate goal as a team is to be the very best that we can be! I try not to compare myself with the accomplishments of others, and I attempt to take the same tack with my players. I evaluate them. I try to get to know them. I try to understand where they are and where they came from. I then try to put them in varying situations to get the most out of them. I ask not for them to be great at everything; I only ask that they try their best. I love players who always look to overachieve.

I never thought I was going to be a soccer coach, but thanks to my two children I found my way here and I really love what I do. When it is game time or practice it is not a task for me to go. I look forward to seeing my players, and I believe we will lay a solid foundation upon which we can continue to shape and mold our skills to a level of competence and competitiveness.


Tom’s Soccer "Top 10 List"
Advice for a Soccer player

10.        Get there a little early and be ready to go.

9.         On game day spend more time focused on what you know than you do worrying about
            what you don't know.

8.         “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and
             suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success
             achieved.”    --Helen Keller

7.         When the coach asks, "What position do you play?" The proper response is, “I prefer to
             play (position) but I’ll play wherever you need me coach.

6.         Each player is unique . . . do not judge your skills by comparing yourself to others.

5.         Never, ever, ever, quit working hard!

4.         Trust and be there for your teammates.

3.         Understanding that most of the game has nothing to do with kicking a ball gets you
            one-step closer to understanding the game.

2.         If you don't understand something ask questions.


A Picture Says A 1000 Words

My expectations of a soccer player are pretty simple. Go as hard as you can, as smart as you can for as long as you can. As the subject says a picture can say a 1000 words. Below are some pictures that really say it all for the kind of soccer player I like to play with or have playing for me.

Abby Wambauch A Picture Says a 1000 Word



OR you could go with this
aw again

One has to love Ms Wambach's efforts.



The Essence Of Destiny

"Watch your thoughts, for they become your words.

Choose your words, for they become actions

Understand your actions, for they become habits.

Study your habits, for they will become your character.

Develop your character, for it becomes you destiny."

Facts and Figures About the Game

By Stan Nixon, formerly of Middlesbrough FC

1. Each team has an average 240 possessions per game.

Push Pass

Receiving Ground

Instep Passing

Feet don't fail me now!

Keeping your feet moving.

As a player, it’s easy to tell when you aren’t doing anything (most of you are probably thinking right now “I am always involved when I am playing so this doesn’t involve me” but you would be surprised to see how often you aren’t involved if you watched yourself play. One way to determine whether you are really involved is by seeing if your feet are moving or not. If you watch top players play, you will see that their feet are almost always moving. Even when it seems they are
staying in one place, watch their feet and you will see they are making minor adjustments to their positioning which directly keep them involved in the game.

An example is the central defender who is marking a target player upfront. While it might initially look like they are both standing still, watch their feet and you will see that if they are doing their jobs correctly they are both making minor adjustments to jockey for better position. The player who stops moving her feet is the one who
will lose this battle.

The outside midfielder who is looking for a square pass will need to keep her feet moving to readjust for the movements of the ball and the other players on the field.

When players keep their feet moving, they will be more successful and will make the job of their teammates easier.

Have a great day!

Lawrence Fine

Dynamic Stretching vs. Static Stretching

Dynamic Stretching vs. Static Stretching

As coaches and trainers we will perform anything from ...

On the subject of Tryouts . . .

a lengthy but interesting article by Mr Fine.

The subject of this newsletter will be tryouts. ...

Secret Formula To SUCCESS

There is one, very simple formula to athletic success.

 If you have what it takes, this formula ...

Some key elements of a good soccer philosophy.
1. To play the ball on the ground at all times, which requires both supporting play and good technique;

Critical Times

Taking advantage of these time frames could be the difference . . .

The most dangerous times ...

National Soccer Coaches Association Of America
"Coaches teach players. We teach coaches."

Time Management:
This is how an average professional footballer uses up his/her game time:

2% of the match is taken ...

Rhythm In Soccer
For those of you following my monthly tips, this is the most important one I've written to date.

Unlike ...

“Ain’t I just grand?!!!!!”

“So just how good are you?”

One question I will sometimes ask athletes when I get ...

Soccer Skills: Attacking Principles

Learn To Play With Your Head Up
You play soccer with your feet, but the position of your head is very important.

Actually, we are ...

Defensive Soccer Thoughts
Anciently, the skillful warriors first made themselves invincible and . . .
awaited the enemy's moment of ...

Tootsie on Canvas
Tootsie in pocket

"Come over to the dark side... we have candy" -   Anonymous

Did you know that the oldest commercial shown on TV is for Tootsie Pops? Yes, the very one featuring Mr. Owl, which first aired in 1969. The original version was 60-seconds long and featured a cow, a fox, a turtle and the famous avian, but the current one only uses the last owlish 15 seconds.

We all have nostalgiac memories of our younger days, engaged in some juvenile endeavour with a cherry Tootsie Pop clamped firmly in one jaw, but allow me to now recommend them as a new type of diet food.


The next time you want a big, fat slice of devil's food cake or a bowl of ice cream for dessert, reach for a Tootsie Pop instead. They're only 60 calories and can, if enjoyed judiciously, take at least ten or fifteen minutes to finish. Compare that to the 120 calories in a single cookie that's gone in seconds, only to be quickly followed by more of the same.

Pop's come in a variety of flavors and they're a dandy treat to sneak into the theatre as they're dead easy to conceal.

I have done my research and found there are several levels of quality within the genre, the lowest being those crummy miniatures. The next step up were the full-sized, bagged variety found in grocery stores. But the really good stuff are the singles sold in most convenience stores. You'll know them as they have a UPC code on the stick. These are generally larger and, thus, have more mouth appeal. Yum.

I buy them in bulk, 100 to the box, from my local mom and pop (no pun intended) store. I always have plenty on hand when friends drop by, and no one says no to a free Tootsie Pop.

The only problem I have is the relatively small selection of flavors, which gets a bit boring. It's basically the big five (grape, chocolate, cherry, strawberry, orange) and a few random weirdo flavors (blue raspberry, watermelon and pomegrante). But where is lemon? Or peach? How about butter rum, dark chocolate, kiwi or mango? The company's web site,, let's you vote on new flavors but so far I haven't got much response to my suggestions.

Finally, wikipedia has a page full of fascinating lore surrounding the humble Tootsie Pop and rather than quote it directly I encourage you to go check it out for yourself.

Tootsie pop in hair

Referee Signals
National Federation of State High School Associations

Referee Signals

How Soccer Explains the World
How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
Interview with author Franklin Foer

A Game of Thirds
Good teams seem to play differently in the three Thirds.

When talking about the game of soccer, it is ...

Why Goals Are Scored
Five basic fundamental reasons why goals!

Why are goals scored? To some people the answer to this question ...

On Defending
Lloyd foul
Carli Lloyd finds out it is never both!
"Defending is not about having the most skill or being the fastest. Defending is about who has the most heart, who wants it more and who won't give in. More often than not it is about who can anticipate, think and act quicker. But on the field of play there is one simple rule to remember. The ball may get by you the attacker may get by you . . . but NEVER both." -- Thowell

The defenders primary job is to simply dispossess the attacker. Even if the defender doesn’t gain possession of the ball, by dispossessing the attacker will allow the defenders support to close down the loose ball or cause the ball to go out of play. A key element in good defending is remembering the defenders primary role is to break down the attack. Attackers, on the flip side, typically have to be more creative to beat defenders. Simply pressuring the attacker properly will often cause the attacker to turn over possession.

An aspect of defending which is often over looked is being able to go on the attack once the defender has won possession. Players should be reminded the importance of attacking once possession is won.

When defending 1v1’s in soccer it is very important to focus on the following key elements:

Staggered stance with toes at a 45 degree angle.
Bent knees with weight on the balls of the feet.
Chest leaning over the toes.
Low center of gravity for greater explosion/quick change of direction (upright takes longer to start).
Ability to shuffle quickly.

Pay attention to the distance of pressure (depends on speed of attacker vs. the speed of the defender) usually 1-3 yards

Remember that the player closest to the attacker should be the player pressuring the ball. Players should sprint to close down space as quickly as they can, then when they get 5 yards from the attacker they should slow down and take steps backwards to match the pace of the attacker. During this time, the defender should slowly close down the space between the attacker and defender. Often proper pressure will cause the attacker to lose the ball.

One way to have players recall the proper way to defend is by the term “Quick, Slow, Sideways, Low”.

Quick refers to the defender speed while closing down the attacker with the ball. This should be done at full speed sprint and note that it is often best to close down the ball when the ball is in flight.

Slow refers to the defenders ability to change of speed and direction required to start moving in the same direction of the attacker.

Sideways refers to the body positioning often used when defending. The defender should turn their body in a 45 degree angle to create the largest amount of defensive area. If the defender was to face forward, the attacker could then go around or between the defender’s legs. If the defender turns perpendicular to the attacker, the attacker could easily attack the backside of the defender and have the advantage. However, if the defender positions their body in a 45 degree angle, they will have covered the largest area of space while giving the defender an advantage to channel the attacker.

Low refers to the defenders body position which should be bent knees with weight on the balls of the feet, chest leaning over the toes and low center of gravity for greater explosion/quick change of direction.

Defenders should often be reminded that they should “do their work” during the flight of the ball. So this means defenders should close down the player as the ball is in flight. Tight pressure causes the attacker to look down, where lose pressure allows the attacker to lift their head and have a better vision of defenders, space and possibilities.

Another important aspect of defending is knowing when to tackle. The defender should be patient and look for the following queues to predict the right time to tackle.

Tackle when the attacker has bad touch
Tackle when the attacking team has made a mistake
Tackle when the ball is the farthest from the attacker’s foot
In addition, defenders should learn how to channel an attacker. This simply means to encourage the attacker to go a certain direction dictated by the defender. Typically channeling is done by bending the run on approaching the attacker to encourage attacker to move the ball away from the defender. Too much bend will allow the attacker to blow past defender, so the run must be bent just enough to make up the attackers mind for them. Typically we want to channel attackers for the following reasons:

Move the attacker away from the goal
Move the attacker towards the sideline
Move the attacker to play to weak foot
Move the attacker into a teammate (supporting defender)
Move the attacker away from their support

To close this tip on defending, I want to make a third mention of a very important rule of defending, and that is proper defensive pressure will often cause the attacker to lose the ball. Therefore, teach your players the above defending techniques, and you should see a difference in your player’s abilities to defend

Here's what I've learned about soccer (Ken Gamble)....

I’ve learned that when someone says “I’m doing it for the kids” he’s probably ...

You know you are a Soccer Coach When..

1. Someone asks you how much time a week you spend on soccer activities, and you can hear you wife involuntarily/audibly ...



Let me just say this: Soccer is more about the process vs the outcome. It is about how the field is conquered. How space is dominated. How time is given and taken away. How different players need to know each other to work in unison. How each confrontation is a personal battle and all these battles conjure up to win a final outcome. Or not. How better does not always win. How it can be very unfair. Like life can be itself.


“ Soccer is a simple game made difficult by the players”.  --  Sir Bobby Charlton

Velocity SC 00/01 Girls
Velocity SC 00/01 Girls

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