February 2015

A Job Well-Begun is A Job Half Done!

by James Charette
Director of Coaching Education

The 2015 Coaching Courses calendar will be released during the month of February on the Washington Youth Soccer website, with National "E" and "D" courses throughout the year, plus a State-hosted National "C" License in June. In addition, numerous national courses are available through U.S. Soccer. You can register for the National “E”, “D” or the State-hosted June “C” License course through our website. If you are interested in the “A”, “B”, “C” or “F” licenses, you register directly with US Soccer. If your Association or Club has an interest in a special topic session or want to host a course, please contact Bastien Catrin.

This past year, Coaches Corner has shared actual Instructor sessions targeting the “E,” “D” and “C” Licenses. I want to highlight five specific areas for Session Plan Development, whether you are preparing a session for your team or a U.S. Soccer course. A deliberate session plan can assist in delivering an effective and efficient team session.

Building engineers start with the end in mind (soccer world: how do we want our team to play). Once they establish a vision and sketch out a drawing, they begin to build a solid foundation (soccer world: implement technique, tactics, physo-social and physical components into the session).

If you play 1-4-3-3, your session plan development should support this formation. You can see this formation through Coach Walker's goalkeeper session and Coach Taylor's six-a-side model, linked to the front page of this month's Coaches Corner.

5 W’s and Conceptualization
What? Accurate identification of the specific nature of the breakdown and the coach can translate into appropriate training targets.
Who? Integrate key players and groups relevant to the topic.
Where? Relevant region of the field.
When? Replicates the timing and circumstances of the topic.
Why? Integrates the technical, tactical, physical and psychological causes relevant to the topic.

Conceptualization refers to the ability to implement the 5 W’s and the principles of play, and to deliver your session with a targeted outcome to improve the performance of both individuals and the team.

In the past, functional was often used in the “A” or “B” License courses. Now it is common nomenclature at the “E” License when addressing technical application. Technical/Tactical functional technique is specific training to a position or player role. It takes place in the area of the field specific to the player's position and the technique is specifically targeted and trained.

This can be a challenge with limited field space, so it is important that the coach plan ahead so that the training activities can be played a specific direction. Attacking and Defending sessions should be directional, as in a game. Doug Lemov taught this concept at the National Instructors Workshop in 2013. Mr. Lemov explains “standardizing the field” in his blog, linked here.

Periodization is one of the soccer buzzwords at the moment. In layman’s terms, it means planning! This is perhaps where your second-grade math skills will come in handy.

Micro-cycle:Usually, planning from one game to the next.
Meso-cycle: Mid-range periods, 1-8 weeks depending on your objectives and competition format.
Duration: The length of each stage.
Intensity: Amount of work: low, medium and high (this will depend on several factors including when you last played and when you play again).
Interval: The number of times that a work period is repeated.
Activity time: Duration of activity.
Recovery time: Duration needed to rest before resuming activity

Duration 20 minutes
Intensity Medium
Activity time 3 minutes
Recovery time 1 minute
Interval/Repetition 5

Intensity: What variables can influence this?

  • Activities with competition have a higher intensity than activities without opponents.
  • Small numbers (1v1, 2v2, 3v3) are more intense than larger groups (6v6/9v9).
  • Touch restrictions (one- or two-touch) make activities more intense.
  • Reduced playing areas increases the intensity.

No. Of Intervals/Repetitions: What factors should be considered

  • Is it a high- or low-load day in your planned session?
  • The longer the interval/repetition, the greater the physical load.
  • The higher the intensity, the shorter the interval/repetition.

Activity time and Recovery time: What must a coach consider?

  • Fitness level of your individuals/team.
  • Intense activities require longer rest periods in order to maintain quality performance.
  • Be attentive to signs of fatigue and be prepared to adjust.

We hope that these ideas will help you improve your session plan development. A job well-begun is a job half done!

Coaching Education does not stop at the conclusion of a course. Rather, this is the beginning; we want to provide continued coaching education support throughout your coaching lifecycle. If there are any services that we can provide to support your continued learning at all levels, please let us know.

If you have any questions regarding U.S. Soccer coaching licensing or supporting your coach development, please do not hesitate to contact the Washington Youth Soccer Coaching Education Department.

Washington Youth Soccer

Washington Youth Soccer • 7100 Fort Dent Way • Suite 215 • Tukwila, WA 98188
1-877-424-4318 (Toll Free) • (253) 4-SOCCER (476-2237)
Coaches Corner is published by Varsity Communications, Inc.


The 2015 Coaching Education calendar will be released in February.

About the Coaches

James Charette
• Washington Youth Soccer Director of Coaching Education
• Technical Director, Blackhills FC
• U.S. Soccer National Instructional Staff
• U.S. Soccer “A” License

Rob Walker
Director of Coaching, Federal Way FC & Head Coach, St. Martin's University

• Holds U.S. Soccer "A" License
• National Licensing Instructor
• Former GK coach for U.S. Men's Olympic Team
• Has coached at youth, ODP, college and National Team levels

Niki Taylor
• PacNW Girls Coach
• Washington EPD Staff Coach
• USSF "A" License