"No matter if a tree grows to more than a hundred feet in height, each leaf, every day, must return to its roots for nourishment." - Chinese Buddhist proverb
Sports and recreations are among the most revealing mirrors of many societies. They offer a distinctive insight into social patterns, cultural values and even economic conditions. It is difficult to think of a modern society in which sport in its widest sense does not occupy an important role and indeed where it has not taken on the trappings of a major, nation-wide industry. This applies to no sport more than the world’s most popular participant and spectator team game, Association Football or “Soccer”.
Whether in the land of my birth - England, or my adopted home - the USA, where it has evolved from its rude beginnings to the sophisticated sport we are familiar with today, many authorities have considered soccer worthy of literary comment. Numerous books and magazines give news of soccer playing heroes past and present. Many publications detail basic techniques and attempt to relate these to the game situation. A lesser number examine the “in depth” issues from a highly technical and tactical point of view. However, none of the published material serves as a comprehensive creative rationale, skill based coaching aid and leadership enhancing curriculum from the first stage of involvement at age 3 or 4 to age 18. This is the point at which all serious soccer players should be fully immersed in the adult game and able to play it as a form of art.
“Art is a deliberate recreation of a new and special reality that grows from your response to life. It cannot be copied; it must be created.” - Anonymous
Stimulated by the lack of specific reference material and the lack of a curriculum designed to develop truly creative players, this study aims to help the coach understand what truly developmental flair founded coaching entails and to further this understanding plus expand the dictates of modern day knowledge, by highlighting the hitherto obscure factors which influence the learning child to maximize his or her creativity in the soccer situation. The book will then build upon this foundation by providing a sequential progression from key points of dribbling and finishing technique, through enjoyable intermediate skill practices, to practice situations that are so complicated that they make actual games seem easy.
"Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with its apparent opposite and enemy, the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence." - Norman Podhoretz
In order to assist the coach in getting the best out of players numerous theory areas of primary importance are discussed. This essential theoretical basis will be followed by comprehensive practical chapters plus many coaching aids and tips for maximizing development. The later part of the book will detail the full Legends curriculum with intense focus on two technical areas of paramount importance, i.e. the skills of creative dribbling and finishing. As a result, the total study not only provides immensely valuable advice for specialist soccer coaches it also provides essential information for teachers, youth leaders, team managers, interested parents, players and all other individuals concerned with understanding the best way to develop soccer skill in young players of all ages. Its strengths lie in its sound theoretical basis plus its thorough, enjoyment and flair based approach to the practical dimensions of soccer coaching. With creativity and passion as its central theme the “Training Soccer Legends” method includes a skill related fun game as an integral part of every training session for players aged 14 or younger.
"A product is creative when it is (a) novel and (b) appropriate. A novel product is original not predictable. The bigger the concept, and the more the product stimulates further work and ideas, the more the product is creative." - Sternberg & Lubart - Defying the Crowd
The final message of this introduction is arguably the most important. In youth soccer the coach is many things to many people. The coach is a trainer, psychologist, philosopher, guardian, but above all a teacher, a creator of problem solving attitudes and 100% effort habits for life. Every word, action and manner is observed and evaluated, whether by players, parents, the opposing team and coach, or the community. The coach must set the correct example and strive at all times to make the players vastly more skillful and prepared. As a result he will make the game more enjoyable, participation more rewarding and provide his players with greater opportunities to get the most out of the “beautiful game”.
The sky’s the limit!