Best Way to Train Soccer Players

Anson Dorrance on How to Develop Players
Competition, Pressure and Practicing at Game Speed

To quote Anson Dorrance, one of the greatest soccer coaches ever: "Competition is key to developing players. The only practice environment in which you truly develop a player is a competitive arena." Coach Dorrance tries to make his practices a "Competitive Cauldron". More about Coach Dorrance is at the end of this article - he has won over 600 games, has a 90% winning percentage and has been Coach of the Year 8 times. Here are some of his tips:

-- In practice, encourage competition.

-- During practice, try to keep score in everything you can -- keeping score encourages competition, 100% effort, game speed, and is more like what player's face in a real game.

-- Competition is critical to developing each player's potential.

-- "Competition is key to developing players. The only practice environment in which you truly develop a player is a competitive arena."

The worst way to practice is, obviously, to just let the kids kick the ball around. There's no structure, no focus on improving skills, and no competition or pressure. Bad habits will be repeated and there will be minimal improvement.

The second worst way to practice is scrimmaging - there aren't enough touches per player, the better players dominate, and it doesn't provide a good opportunity to practice individual skills in a controlled way. Bad habits will be repeated and weaker players will see little improvement.

The third worst way to practice is "Line Drills". Line Drills don't involve pressure or competition and don't prepare players for a real game. In fact, line drills train players to play slow, because they don't play the line drills at Game Speed and under pressure.

SoccerHelp Practice Games solve these problems. The best way to train your players is by using SoccerHelp Practice Games. Our Practice Games are efficient and involve competition and pressure. Our Practice Games train players to play fast and under pressure. Our Practice Games are 200% to 300% more effective because coaches can achieve 200% to 300% more with the same amount of practice. But even if you practiced twice as much with Drills, your results would be inferior. Our Practice Games are simply a better way to train and you can't achieve the same results using Drills, because drills don't involve competition, pressure and aren't played at Game Speed. Drills don't create the "Competitive Cauldron" Coach Dorrance refers to.

We sell an excellent DVD by Coach Dorrance titled Anson Dorrance & Tom Stone Soccer Clinic DVD.

Anson Dorrance is possibly the greatest college soccer coach ever and one of the most successful coaches in any sport. Anson Dorrance started the University of North Carolina Women's Soccer Program in 1979 and as of 2009 his teams had won 20 of the 28 NCAA Women's Soccer Championships. His record as of the 2009 season is 673-33-21 (.940 winning percentage). Coach Dorrance coached the gold-medal winning U.S. Women's World Cup Team in 1991 and has had over 60 All-Americans. The players he has coached include Mia Hamm, April Heinrichs, Kristine Lilly, Cindy Parlow and Lorrie Fair. Anson Dorrance is brilliant and a great teacher. The NCAA has recognized Anson Dorrance as the Women's Soccer Coach of the Year seven times and as the Men's Soccer Coach of the Year in 1987. On March 10, 2008 Anson Dorrance was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Coach Dorrance is interested in youth soccer and organized youth soccer leagues in both Connecticut and North Carolina. Part of my motivation for developing the SoccerHelp Practice Games training method was Coach Dorrance's belief that competition is the key to developing good soccer players.