This is one of my very first posts on this forum. I thought it would be only right to repost one of the very first, if not first post I ever posted.
GIVE THE GAME BACK TO THE PLAYERS
We all speak about giving the game back to the kids but how many actually DO something about it?
I want to share with you something I accidently developed out of curiosity and which currently seems to be succeeding beyond my expectations.
I looked at the best of 4 disciplines and tried to see if I could integrate those best parts into one routine/game which would answer a lot of questions regarding the rigidly structured SSG format.
The 4 disciplines were:
The best parts of playground football are:
* the absence of officials,
* very few aims (get the ball-try to score)
* complete and constant competitive action
The best parts of homework practice are:
* no fear of mistakes
* practice what YOU want
* achievement is personal
* creation of autonomy in progress
The best parts of play are:
* No fear
* No rules about numbers
* Everyone can take part The best parts of development are:
* Recognise aims/targets
* Understanding of what is needed to develop
* Progress can be measured and seen
* Fulfilment of reaching a goal
I then experimented with different ideas and came up with something which I introduced to different teams, this being a game called "OUTRAGEOUS". (Since 2012 is known as ‘Tekkers’)
This is a normal game of football but where there are:
NO SET NUMBERS FOR EITHER SIDE (one team may have an extra one or two players)
NO SET AREA OF PLAY
NO TACKLING only interceptions of passes or mistakes by opponents
The only requirement is that EVERY pass, shot, cross, control, dribble, save, header MUST BE OUTRAGEOUS so no normal passes, every player is encouraged to try something outrageous ALL the time.
Now I began giving teams 15 minute games to see what would happen and it just exploded into something very special instantly.
The players played as if a weight were lifted from them.
They all began to try things that they were too afraid to before NOT because they were scared of getting shouted at, but because of the constant culture of telling players to PASS PASS PASS.
I even saw one lad of 12 try a bicycle kick near the corner flag which he caught absolutely perfect and it whistled into the top corner of the goal despite the heroics of the bemused keeper.
Even the GK's had to try and do outrageous saves.
Because of the NO WINNER/LOSER aspect, the fear evaporated form both sets of players and the things they were doing were unbelievable.
The manager and parents remarked that the boys wouldn’t stop talking about it afterwards and the only thing they didn’t like about it was that they wanted to carry on. The amount and quality of the goals that were scored was a real eye opener.
After this initial success I tried it with various age groups including a men’s team and the SAME outcome appeared. Not only that but the REAL bonus was that the players took this new found confidence (or lack of fear) into their matches and performances climbed dramatically.
I feel that coaches can sometimes lose the magic of what its like to just play and how big a part this has in actual development. I have certainly added this to my armoury.
I hope you get as much out of it as I have (and your players of course)
What coaches have to be aware of is that this type of activity is a 'trade off' of ideals.
For the experienced coach, they would like to see players keen to develop their skills and playing experience with a commitment and mental strength to withstand the pressure of competition and improve all round.
Kids just want to play and have fun
So, I will introduce this activity as a kind of reward for their endeavour and hard work in previous sessions/ routines and challenge them to know the difference in 'Outrageously Good & Outrageously bad'.
The players will readily accept hard work if its UNDERSTOOD by them (which is the coach's responsibility) and where that activity fits into their playing.
Thanks Guys for the feedback.
Thought I would give you guys an update:
I have been evolving this to try and get a happy medium where the players retain the 'free of fear' attitude to play but also to see if development can be introduced.
What I have found is that we look at ONE aspect of play (i.e. Attack) and then we play a normal SSG but on Attack the players have to be OUTRAGEOUS in their play whereas defending and midfield play are(hopefully) to be less 'outrageous' except for a long attacking pass which CAN be part of an attack.
Counter Attack comes to mind here.
I have had positive feedback from players trying this as it seems to be a nice balance of (as topshot says) using both the creative AND logical parts of the brain in their decision making.
I have been approached by 8 clubs who have been to see this in my sessions and after talking to their players, want to set up a small 'league' between them where the players can play 'outrageous matches' where the scoreline is secondary to the fun factor, if a team collectively performs 'outrageous' moments of skill etc then an 'O' point is awarded. The team with the most 'O' points at the end of the allotted time (again no limit), then they get to have their picture taken as a group of THEIR choice (no mooning though)
In fact there was even a suggestion that extra 'points' could be awarded for an outrageous moment that leads DIRECTLY to a goal.
I'll let you all know how it progresses.
By the way. I HAVE registered this idea!!!
Thanks all once again.
Expressing yourself is, to a young player, a two-edged sword. If the player tries something and it doesn’t come off, there tends to be a bit of ribbing or banter which translates into ridicule to the player.
With Outrageous, there is NO pressure to succeed as noone knows WHAT it is they are trying to do and so they cannot truly say whether it was accomplished or not.
It is the INTENT to TRY thats important. It releases pressure to be perfect and opens up the realms of daring for players.
There is no rule structure only the freedom to try. IF a player DOESN’T do something outrageous, the game DOESN’T stop, because the beauty is, as I mention above, noone knows WHAT the outrageous bit was and so noone can judge whether it WAS or WASNT outrageous. The ONLY thing we have tried to do is to establish an environment of creativity at its extreme IN THE MINDS OF THE PLAYERS!.
The awarding of points is purely to motivate even further, the more confident and less shy players whilst at the same time allowing the shy players to be on a par with better skilled players by TRYING in THEIR way to be outrageous.
With or without points awarded, the game is still the same.
I am NOT making ANY claims that it replaces, precludes or follows any current trend. I am ALSO not suggesting that other development ideas are rubbish. I can only respond to what I'VE witnessed personally, and that is EVERY group I have shared this game with have responded near identically and THAT is something I COULDNT ignore, and I am sceptical when it comes to 'new ways'. It DOES seem to work for all age groups - from kids to adults. the ONLY limits are from the coaches who maybe are not convinced and therefore present it in a less enthusiastic way than the game deserves.
I am NOT blinkered to the fact that professional clubs are geared towards INSTANT SUCCESS while at the SAME time need to be publically in favour of promoting and developing the youngsters in their Academies. I have DELIBERATELY stepped out of the pro stance concerning this game as most Academy coaches would laugh at this game, because if it is THAT successful WHY havent THEY seen it before???. Some clubs will say its wishful thinking. The FA would probably try and rubbish it too. I never intended it to be anything else than a way for kids to fall in love with the game again.
Developing the individual is important in youth sports. However, developing the team is, too - if for no other reason than learning to train, compete, and function within a group is an important part of individual development.
Both are necessary, and to not pay attention to both is a copout on the part of the coach. We train and play 10 months a year, and there are definitely times built into our year that we are playing for the result. On the other hand, there are times of the year when freedom to play just for the sake of playing and goofing around is not only allowed, but encouraged.
It is all about priorities and planning - this allows the coach to take a bigger view, and allow and encourage all aspects of the game. Obviously, different ages mean different things, too, but I don't want to ramble on and on.
I agree. I just meant that the team winning is not THE most important thing in youth soccer. In pro soccer, it most definitely is. I would say in youth soccer the priorities should be these (in this order):
(2) Development of players (technically, tactically, physically, psychologically) - meaning they can play individually and within a team
(3) Winning games
Okay, let’s subject the Outrageous game to these 3 priorities;
1. Does it have Fun?? - most certainly
2. Does it develop ALL players, technically, tactically, physically, psychologically and syncronise all within a team framework? - Well, the technical element is developed to a high degree because of the actual aim of the game.
The Tactical element is developed due to the liberation of the 'outrageousness' of the skill to aim ratio -was it an outrageous pass? etc etc
Physically, more players are exerting and trying all sorts of physical efforts to produce that 'extra outrageous moment'.
Psychologically the game 'emotionally releases' players to dare to create and so is developed to a far greater degree than it normally would.
The team benefits from all the collective efforts to be 'outrageous' from the fun factor to the unpredicatability factor.
3.Can you win games using it?- Well, lets just say that in a contest where two teams are of equal ability and organisation, the team with most players confident and capable of producing a moment of 'magic' (outrageousness), could well be the difference in winning and losing.
My point, though, is that you can take this prioritization a step further.
It is easy enough to lay your priorities out as you have, but that is not enough for many who participate in sports. They want to achieve, they want to get results, they thrive on the competition.
For these players, it is necessary to prioritize the year. It is not only OK to set your goals on results for certain events during the year, it is a necessary tool in the motivation of your players.
For a good share of the year, the priorities are just as you state. I would change #1 to enjoyment instead of fun - I dislike the connotation of the word fun when used with competitive sports goal setting. For competitive players, there needs to develop an enjoyment of the work necessary to achieve.
When players learn to enjoy this process of working toward a goal, it becomes more fulfilling than simple "fun". It is a growth experience that kids can use their entire lives.
I think you are on the right track, but I recognize something in your writing, and believe that you should look a little deeper into these topics than the standard that is espoused by any group, USSF or other.
This is a life study which is all-evolving, all-inclusive, all-rewarding
I want this to be "a way for kids to fall in love with the game again"
I would like to move away from the creative element as it evokes the more structured viewpoints when in fact I'm trying to keep it as natural as possible.
from the observers point of view, the actions in the 'Outrageous Game'(OG) can be described as 'crafty', 'cunning', yes -creative or daring.
OG should be viewed as the opposite of functional play. Too many players are satisfied to be competent and not highly skilled. Most drills, routines or functions do not provide for anything other than functional responses - the extraordinary is left out in favour of functional guarantees.
As I look more into OG, I find more reasons why it works. Uniterrupted play is as natural as you can get, so a player is 'learning by playing'. There is so much responsibility on coaches NOT to overcoach, or overorganise that players start to feel they are learning a totally different sport altogether.
OG does indeed go a long way to finding that 'middle ground' utopia that satisfies the need of the coach to advance learning and development, yet allows the freedom for players to express and try what would otherwise be frowned upon by coaches. In this way natural learning becomes the byproduct of this freedom.
OG is an ACTIVE element with limitless potential. The coach CANNOT teach elements of OG because its in the players control what they will attempt. Anyway, usually whatever the coach tries to coach, is not what the player ultimately learns.
OG provides the next necessary learning step as it encourages the individual to assess their own learning progress.
OG is a means to an end. Once the confidence and commitment to daring to be outrageous is attaned then the next hurdle will be decision making.
Competition should only be introduced as challenge to improve the end result of each piece of outrageous play.
Its then a short process to empower players to understand that stand alone technique will develop them as technical players only - understanding skill (the ability to use the correct technique at the correct time) will develop their capacity for producing outrageous play at the optimum time.
The beauty is that there are NO hard and fast 'set' of rules except probably for trying to do something THEY consider 'outrageous' as much as possible.
Yes, you CAN have goals as scoring an outrageous goal, or playing an outrageous pass that leads to a goal is so much part of the game.
There is playable space virtually anywhere IF you decide that there is minimal tackling, but if you ARe going to have tackling then they must do an outrageous one and not a silly or dangerous one.
On the contrary, the Goalie IS included. They must try to do outrageous saves, distribution, catching high crosses. The point is that goals that are scored from mistakes from outrageous moments are NOT the main aim of the game. It IS part of it but not the MAIN part.
But remember, you DON'T have to play a match, it can easily be just a kind of Keep Ball but with outrageous moments.
Like I have stated in previous replies, because noone knows what the player intended or was going to do before the outrageous moment, only the PLAYER themself can judge the success - its the ATTITUDE to TRY and do something outrageous which frees the chains that hold creativity back in players, especially young players.
Cruyff's quote reflects the REAL game of playing soccer.
The Outrageous Game (OG) can be simple OR difficult, the choice is with the player and NOT the coach, referee or peers.
What is MISSING from young players is the ability to DECIDE when to do BOTH. Its NOT whether it was simple OR difficult, but that it was the RIGHT thing for the RIGHT moment.
The OG, IMO, empowers players to develop the art of decision making to reflect the moment they are in.
Mostly, the OG is a psychological development tool which rids the fear from WANTING to be creative.
I use OG when I see players a bit 'flat' emotionally in the session or to calm them before an important match.
I have used it in sessions to differentiate between Fun & Responsible by only playing Outrageously when in the ATTACKING(offensive) half.
When defending, they play the responsible way.
OG is not really used to promote any specific technique or tactic but to allow players the freedom to experiment with their own confidence in trying the outrageous instead of just conforming to the coach's doctrine of functional play.