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The Soccer Sidelines

131 EpisodesProduced by David DejewskiWebsite

Join Coach Dave on the sidelines as he brings you in on what’s going on behind the scenes and the stuff that really matters in youth sports. Understand the game, development, and ways you can support your young athlete at home!


The Finishing Mentality in Youth Soccer

Support the ShowFinishing in the game of soccer is a string of a complex series of actions and thoughts that end with a net rattle. The finishing mentality follows a flow, from the goalkeeper and defenders through the midfield, to the player taking the shot. Each player in the chain processes a three-part Do loop over and over again in the course of a single attack. As coaches and parents, we can strengthen our player's ability to process the game and bring an effective finishing mentality to the game.The Finishing Mentality Extends Well Beyond the Opponent's Third(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Danielle Johnson)Some might say that a good finish starts in the back field. In the context of game day, I would agree with this. A good finish is a flow that's built up from the back field - payers reading cues in their environment, making decisions about those cues, and acting on them based on how they interpret those cues and how they judge their own abilities.  I would take it one step further back from the game day field though and say that a good finishing mentality starts well before game day. It's something that is made of interpretation skills, confidence (or lack of confidence), and abilities as developed in family and player units both on the pitch and off. Every player carries whatever they have with them - both good and bad - into a game. If they believe it's okay to make mistakes, to be the person who doesn't score, and that they can be creative without judgment in front of their family and friends, they are much more likely to to the right thing or attempt seemingly impossible acts of creativity and courage. If, on the other hand, they are judged as not being worthy unless they sink an asteroid ball into the back of the net, dribble through 5 defenders, or take an over-the-head bicycle kick shot into the upper corner off the cross bar, they're not likely to rise to the occasion. What we do and say in practice, how players interact with one another and come to learn one another's cues, and what we say to players at home - they all make a difference when it comes to that game day shot on goal. Get the first part right, and kids can be kids. Get it wrong and they can choke on pressure or fail to find their own confidence.  PLEASE: support the show and/or join our community as a Patron through my Patreon pageThe Finishing Mentality is About More than Kicking a Ball in the NetA great finishing play requires a string of thoughts and activities pulled together in concert. Capturing the ball, supporting ball movement, re-capturing the ball, timing pressure and runs, creating space for teammates to run the ball through - all of it is part of the finishing play. Every player - on the ball or off the ball - is contributing in some way to a good finish or a miss. Assuming you accept this to be true, the question becomes: what can we do before game day to support the finishing mentality? It's not all on the coach, on the player, or on the parents. It's on all of us in the player's ecosystem. Think I'm zooming out too far? Consider how a player might play in light of a recent family crisis. Don't think coaches notice that stuff? Of COURSE we do.Finishing also includes reading cues from the environment, interpreting and making decisions about those cues, and acting on those cues in a way that either contributes to the finish or detracts from it. Teaching players to read cues, to make good decisions, and to frame the context of their actions is something that takes time and practice. It also takes support from home. A Lesson from EVOC ClassEVOC stands for Emergency Vehicle Operator's Course. I used to teach this to police, fire fighters and EMS personnel when I was int he military. It may seem like an odd thing to talk about in the context of a finishing play in soccer, but it has relevance. While teaching professionals how to drive in high pressure / high adrenaline environments,

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