Coaching youth soccer? There’s an app for that.
The go-to soccer app for many coaches is called Soccer Meter, which tracks a variety of metrics, particularly team possession statistics. The app is available for free in the App Store, or for $2.99 for some added features.
“In terms of performance analysis, you can get some quality data from that we weren’t able to 10 to 15 years ago,” said B.C. Soccer’s manager of soccer science, Markus Reinkens. “With iPads and tablets it can be done right on the field.”
The director of the girls program at Richmond’s TSS Academy, Brendan Quarry, swears by Soccer Meter.
“(It’s) a really great tool because too often in our soccer community all we seem to do is measure the score and the score is not necessarily a good reflection of what’s going on on the field or a good reflection of development,” he said. “Teams that are able to keep possession of the ball more consistently than the opposition end up being far more successful teams.”
“In the youth system it’s something we need to focus on.”
And Soccer Meter couldn’t make it easier.
“It’s a very user-friendly tool that you can use while the game is going on,” said Quarry, adding that it tracks the number of completed passes by both teams and calculates the percentage ratio your team was in possession. “There’s just two buttons and every time that your team gets ahold of the ball, you press your team’s button and then as soon as your team makes a complete pass you press the button again, as soon as the ball turns over then you press the opposition’s button.”
“It’s just recording the turn over and then number of completed passes and it’s sort of doing all the math in the background.”
And it’s distraction-free: “You don’t have to have your head down tabulating all this stuff — you simply have two buttons on your iPad or your iPhone and you can watch the game,” said Quarry.
The results can also be emailed to the team and even parents, which helps them focus on other aspects of the game — instead of just the score.
Another tool TSS Academy uses is the website TeamSnap.com, for team organization and communication.
“A lot of times coaches aren’t necessarily the best communicators,” said Quarry. “Being an effective youth soccer coach isn’t just about showing up at the field, dropping your cones and walking away.”
Quarry uses TSS’s TeamSnap, which he’s customized with the academy’s logo and colours. It also allows players, parents and coaches their own log-in, where they’re able to upload photos, check game schedules and locations as well as input their availablity.
Another popular tool for coaches is video recording training sessions and games.
TSS Academy is known for compiling video highlights for each of their players to send to university coaches for recruitment.
“That video part has been a huge part of our success because a lot of times these coaches back in Ontario and the Maritimes … it’s hard for them to travel all over the place to see all these players, so seeing the video is very helpful,” said Quarry.
It can even be used for instruction, like if a player’s mistake is caught on video.
While Quarry uses Final Cut Pro for editing, Reinkens suggests simpler options like an editing software called Dartfish, or whatever editing program is built into your computer. The recording itself would even suffice from a smart phone, he said.
“Just watching and reviewing and fast-forwarding parts and rewinding parts to review is sufficient in most cases,” said Reinkens. “Those things are really beneficial for player review and it’s quantitative data where you can say, ‘Did I improve? Did I do better?’”
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