US Youth Soccer Director of Coaching Sam Snow presenting at 2013 Convention
"THE GAME IS THE BEST TEACHER:" SNOW WILL FOCUS ON 4X4 EXERCISES FOR YOUTH PLAYERS
by Dean Linke, @VoiceOfNSCAA
US Youth Soccer Director of Coaching Sam Snow is known throughout the country for his ability to teach both the player and the coach in a manner that is professional and enjoyable.
That is key when you are trying to coach 8-year-olds.
“Because of a young player’s emotional interest level you have to be in tune with each and every player,” said Snow, a longtime US Soccer national staff instructor.
“For instance, at the 8-year-old age, nearly all of the players are obviously much more excited about learning how to do things with the ball. That is the center of attraction in the game of soccer for them.
“So as coaches we need to make that attraction an integral part of learning.”
Snow, who also served as the Louisiana Soccer Association’s Director of Coaching for 10 years, is once again a featured clinician at the 2013 NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis.
“I am doing a couple lectures at the Convention as well,” Snow said from his Frisco, Texas, US Youth Soccer offices. “However, my field session that will be on Friday, January 18, at 1 p.m. is titled: ‘The Game is the Best Teacher.’”
That is a familiar theme right now in coaching that Snow will demonstrate with 8-year-old players in Indianapolis.
“I will be showing a series of examples that are focused on 4v4 games,” said Snow, who received his bachelor's degree in 1977 from Virginia Wesleyan College and his Master of Arts - Physical Education from the University of South Florida in 1979.
“My goal is to show the importance of partner play at this age. We need to put kids in training sessions that are game-like, with game-based activities as opposed to drills.
Snow said that even at a young age, coaches need to design training sessions that put our players in decision making situations. These situations are then easily transferred from the practice to the game.
“For sure the kids should be playing a lot,” said Snow, the former men’s soccer coach at Florida Southern College. “They need to have fun, of course, but I also want coaches to understand that a fun and a ‘useful’ training session are not exclusive.
“Your sessions can be productive and still be fun for 7- or 8-year-old players.”
Snow said that within a 4v4 practice scenario, all four components of the game can be taught.
“Certainly, specific soccer fitness will also occur in this environment, so the coach will be able to apply the S.A.I.D (Specific Adaptations of Imposed Demands) principle at all times.
“Just as important, many types of mental skills can be taught and reinforced while playing 4-on-4."
Snow said that his featured field session at the Convention is ideal for coaches that are dealing with players “that are in Zone 1 under 6 through under 12.”
“I also believe that any youth club directors of coaching that have multiple age groups, focused on a foundational age, should also attend. And, certainly any administrator or parent that is involved in youth soccer – they need to be aware of what is supposed to be happening at this level.”
Snow also recommended the session for high school or college coaches that run camps for young players.
Finally, Snow said that he is even more excited about presenting at this year’s Convention as it also signifies the first-ever simultaneous Convention with the NSCAA and US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sports organization in America.
“There is a good bit of buzz about the merging of the two national conventions,” Snow said. “I am just happy to see that so many wonderful people continue to be involved in growing the game and improving the quality and experience of coaches, referees, administrators and players.
“That is what it is all about and every year at the NSCAA Convention (and the US Youth Soccer Workshop) we see it at every level.”
Check out Snow's article from the Online Resource Libarary on another aspect of the game for youth soccer participants, "Introducing the Skill of Heading in the U11 Age Group." Also be sure to add his sessions to your Convention schedule, as well as note the other clinicians scheduled to present. Registration and housing information is available at nscaa.com/convention.