Mustang Soccer has changed direction as the club works to develop the complete player. This is a development focused model for U8-U12 players that attempts to get away from the “win at all cost” mentality and to forgo overplaying kids which is resulting in a larger number of injuries at older ages.
Philosophy & Model
Training at the young age is very important. There should be no less than 3 trainings per every game played. The training environment provides the opportunity for learning while the game provides the opportunity for application of the learning that takes place in the trainings.
A clear focus on motor coordination skills is imperative at the young age. Players must be able to complete a series of tasks and instructions that involve balance, motor coordination, agility, technique, and psycho-motor skills. This can only be achieved through the continual repetition provided in a consistent and clear training environment.
It is important that all young players be able to attack 1v1, defend 1v1, and use creative thought process in the application of these skills. Too many older players do not have the skill set or the ability to attack and defend 1v1 with confidence. The change in development will focus on this to create older players who are proficient in these skills.
Footwork, agility, and quickness are all a focus at this level through use of the speed ladder. The speed ladder promotes these qualities while providing an environment that helps to accentuate a proper running technique, a vital part of a young player’s development.
Dribbling, passing, and striking techniques are the most fundamental requirements at these ages. Without these, the older player cannot apply the tactics necessary to continue success in the game.
Winning is not, nor should it ever be, a priority at this level.
Too many competitions are resulting in too many injuries at young ages. As a result it is important to continue to focus on player development that sets limits and gives attention to time away from the game so that a young player’s body can recover and continue to grow.
A proper league structure in which high level competition is achieved against like ability teams is imperative in the development of the young player. The NorCal Premier League provides this learning environment. Learning does not take place by playing against competition which is subpar or in which a team is overwhelmed. A poor competitive environment only creates poor habits and a lazy attitude toward the game as players do not have the need to put out their best effort to perform.
It is our main goal to ensure that our young teams find right competition every week rather than simply three games a year in one competition. It is the only way to consistently measure and adjust the growth of a young player.
U13 and above is where Mustang Soccer will begin to focus on the necessity of the experience of regional and national level competitions. Better prepared and developed players will compete better, recover better, and stay healthy longer in the game given this chance to develop in the U9-U12 age groups.
Above all, Mustang Soccer encourages fun and love of the game.