Training Soccer Champions

Anson Dorrance, Tim Nash, 1996, Echo Point Books & Media

Anson Dorrance is the most successful college soccer coach in US women’s soccer. In this book he describes how he did set up the soccer program at the University of North Carolina and what made them successful. This is not a training or coaching book that explains tactics or techniques, it talks about how to set up and run a team in general. The chapters of the books are focusing on different aspects of the organization of a sports team. One chapter will dicuss how to create an positive competitive environment in training, another one how to make sure everybody is able to learn and improve even if not playing regularly. It is also covered how to get good players beyond good, by making them understand the why of decisions taken in training but also on the field. Dorrance also talks about how to make sure, that the preparation for soccer doesn’t end when leaving the training court, especially focusing on how to keep player’s fit during vacation and how to make the off-season challenging for everyone. Furthermore Dorrance highlights the value of statistics, so that players get constant feedback. The statistics do not only provide that, they also make the player’s feel that the feedback is less subjective, because it is not directly coming from the coach.
Another important point the author points out are the differences between men and women. That starts with what type of relationships is required to get respected to them but also how they react to criticism. Finally he also describes how to provide the best players with enough space for creativity and how to create acceptance for their unique skills.
The only part of the book which is a bit outdated is the tactics part, simply because it is from 1996 and at that time the 4-4-2 was dominant and a attack line with 3 forwards was new. Today that is probably not the case anymore.
All in all the book is not so much a soccer coaching book but a book about leadership and how to organize a team with a soccer team as an example. Competition without hostility and creating a learning environment which provides everybody constantly with feedback and makes them able to improve no matter on which level they are, are just two aspects of that. Others are providing the space for independent decision making for the people who have the skills to do so but also to treat everybody with respect even if they will never will be your top performers. All these topics are discussed in the book and therefore it is not only a good read for soccer fans but also for managers who look for some insights in team management.

Biography: 0/3
History: 0/3
Background: 3/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 1/3

German Soccer Passing Drills

Peter Hyballa, Hans-Dieter te Poel, 2015, Meyer & Meyer Sport

We just recently reviewed the first book of Peter Hyballa and Hans-Dieter te Poel and now his second book in English language is coming on the market. The book “German Soccer Passing Drills” is focused on the training of all kinds of passing types, which are used in soccer. The authors identified 20 different types of passes and describe for each one drills, which can be used to learn them. For the training they follow the now accepted model, that drills should not be repetitious but should create situations happening in games, which are made more and more challenging by restriction rules to increase complexity and a learning effect, which then can be recalled in a game. Therefore in every chapter several exercises are described with increasing complexity but for every drill variations are described as well, so that the training stays interesting. I’m not a coach, therefore I cannot judge the quality and feasibility of the drills but even for me as a layman the explanations are comprehensible and I should at least be able to judge if they are done right or not by someone else.
What is missing in the book is the bigger context, that means finding the right positions on the field to allow passing, the comparison of different passing choices in game situations, e.g., how do I crack a defensive 4-4 or 5-3 formation or how do I pass intelligently so that the receiver of the pass does not have less options for passing than I had. Parts of these aspects are, of course, covered in the drills, because they encourage the players to find their own solutions but some explanations regarding the overarching tactical aspects connected with passing would have been helpful. Maybe that is the focus of the second book which mainly covers interviews with coaches of teams with international reputation about passing skills.
All in all it is an interesting book for coaches and players. For the general soccer or tactic fan it does not contain enough information to make it worth buying.

Biography: 0/3
History: 0/3
Background: 0/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 1/3

Dutch Soccer Secrets

Peter Hyballa, Hans-Dieter te Poel, 2013, Meyer & Meyer Verlag

Peter Hyballa is one of the most successful youth coaches in Germany, how has worked for the U19 teams of VfL Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen. He was also head coach of Alemannia Aachen and Sturm Graz and was known for his very aggressive attacking soccer. Along his coaching responsibilities he is also a very active author and wrote several books, together with Hans-Dieter te Poel. In his first book he investigates the dutch youth soccer system, which is one of the best in the world, and what makes it successful. The authors describe the philosophy of the national association KNVB (“Zeister vision”) but also in which aspects the work in the clubs is differing from the associations guidelines and which alternative concepts (e.g. the Coerver method) are used. During the course of the book several club representatives are interviewed, including now famous coaches like Louis van Gaal or Huub Stevens, to find commonalities in their approaches. Especially the focus on independent decision-making, exploratory problem-solving and the training of all aspects of education (Fitness, Tactics, Technique, Mentality) with exercises using the ball is a recurring theme, as well as, that the improvement of the players is more important than the success of the team. In every chapter of the book one can find descriptions of exercises, which show and support the discussed topics. However the book is less focused on the details of how to train a youth team every day, but more on the philosophy, how soccer education should be set up in general and how a youth organization of a club should work to provide the best learning experience for young soccer players.
All in all Peter Hyballa’s book is one of the best books on the market explaining youth player training and education. It would be great if one could find more of these books about other youth soccer academies, as I mentioned before, when The Blizzard discussed the french youth system. Furthermore the structure and the descriptions in the book, especially when it comes to training exercises and tactical aspects, are excellent and much better than most of the books we had before in the blog.

Biography: 0/3
History: 1/3
Background: 2/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 3/3

Next book: The Blizzard Issue Eight (July 7th)