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Top La Liga Coach, Lucas Alcaraz, To Deliver Belfast Clinic

We are very excited that ex Levante Manager, Lucas Alcaraz, will be visiting Belfast to deliver a clinic open to all players & coaches.  The clinic will take place at Cregagh Sports Club on Sunday 28 February.  The Irish FA will also award 5 CPD credits for coaches in attendance.

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho stands next to Granada's coach Alcaraz during Spanish First Division soccer match in Granada Born in Granada, Andalusia, Alcaraz started coaching with Granada CF in 1995 at the age of 29, achieving two top-four finishes in the third division in his three-year spell but failing to promote in the playoffs.  In the following two seasons he managed in the same category and region, with Almeria CF and Dos Hermanas CF.

In June 2000, 34-year-old Alcaraz signed for Recreativo de Huelva helping the oldest club in Spain return to La Liga after an absence of 23 years in 2002 behind champions Atletico Madrid and Racing de Santander. Even though Recre returned to the second level immediately, they also managed to reach the final of the Copa del Rey, losing 0–3 to RCD Mallorca.

Alcaraz then moved to Racing Santander before spending the following two seasons in the second division, helping Real Murcia get promoted in 2007.  He also enjoyed a spell at Recreativo.

In the 2009 summer Alcaraz signed with another team in his native Andalusia, Cordoba CF (second level), helping the side finish tenth in his first season.  In late June 2011, he re-joined Almería – now called Unión Deportiva.

Alcaraz had a short spell in Greece with Aris Thessaloniki FC before returning to his country and Granada, with the club now in the main category.

Lucas Alcaraz was appointed at Levante UD on 21 October 2014, to which he remained until October 2015.

'Tactics in Professional Football...Why Not Kids?' will be Lucas Alcaraz topic he will focus on.  The event will take place at Cregagh Sports Club (Orangefield OB FC) on Sundaylucasalcaraz2 28 February from 12-3pm finishing with a Q&A.  The event will provide a class room session from 12pm & is open to all coaches.  A practical session will then take place on the pitch from 1.30pm (using 2000-2003 players).  Orangefield OB FC would also like to invite you to stay in their club house & enjoy the live Sky Sports game with a drink.  We thank them for their hospitality.

The morning kicks off with a Spanish Coaching Clinic for 2004-2009's from 10.30-11.30am.  The events are open to all players & coaches.  You can find out more & confirm your place by contacting Tim Wareing on; 07740120788 or email; tim@twsports.org - already we have English & Dutch coaches booked in!  We are very happy that the Irish FA are awarding 5 CPD credits for coaches in attendance.  We thank them for their support.

The media & anyone involved in sport can request a meeting with Mr Alcaraz from Friday 26 February to Sunday 28 February.  Simply contact Tim for more details.  Here is our promotional video for the event - click here.

Please share our post, poster of the event & video on your social media channels and with your club coaches & players.  It is not every day we have a top La Liga Manager in Belfast to deliver, educate & network with local players & coaches.  Don't miss this opportunity!

The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players

Tim Wareing has released his third book through his publisher titled, 'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players.' Copies are available in paperback or e-book!

Overview of 'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players.'...

Tim Wareing's latest book

Tim Wareing's latest book

Tim Wareing is a highly sought after coach. With over 20 years coaching experience and having achieved the prestigious UEFA European 'A' Licence at the age of 24, his methods and coaching philosophy are known and respected worldwide. He has delivered clinics in Ireland, England, Europe and USA along with his previous two books selling in over 30 different countries.

Tim spent six years at Irish Premier League side, Lisburn Distillery. He held roles as Reserve Team Manager and under 18 Manager. He played his part in developing Youth International Players and players for the first team, before setting up a very successful Academy for the Club.

As opinions changed in the direction the Academy was going, Tim stood down from his role and decided to take a sabbatical. He used the time to recharge his batteries and re-educate himself, visiting some of the top European Clubs, including FC Barcelona, SC Braga, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, where he studied and exchanged ideas in youth development.

It was in Holland that he met with a top Portuguese Coach, Hugo Vicente, and the pair got talking about youth development. They shared similar philosophies and it was on this trip that two years later would see a new project launch in Northern Ireland.

The frustrations that Wareing had at his previous club are common across Northern Ireland. A lack of contact time with players, unqualified coaches, out dated methods and little to none specialist coaches and staff offer a limited opportunity for players to develop.

Re-energised he began to set up a very special project that would change the way youth football was delivered in Northern Ireland. Young players would come in and achieve up to 10 hours of contact time per week. Not only would they have access to Wareing but also a special talented team of experts. This would include games related training, match analysis, a conditioning coach, goalkeeper coach, education officer and pastoral care.

Players would come from all different backgrounds. Many arrived as broken players who had been told they weren't good enough, while others simply weren't receiving the correct education on and off the field to develop. Wareing would start to create better players, better people, using a new approach that was player and child centred. From conception to champions in 22 months attracted much interest from the National press and Irish Football Association. TW Braga would share their journey on their You Tube channel, @twsportsgroup, to date it has over 640,000 video views! These are the sessions that Tim Wareing used to help develop the complete player, that would improve each individual technically, tactically, physically and psychologically. This book has been specifically designed, so that each session is simple to follow, yet includes the coaching points that Tim offers to his players. These are all of Tim's preferred sessions that he has gathered on his coaching journey through his own experience and while visiting professional clubs across Europe.

'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players' will aid in developing your group of players, whilst having them enjoy their training!

What people think about Tim Wareing...

'One always takes pleasure in following the career and achievements of those one meets and works with on coaching programmes. It gives me particular pleasure to add to the congratulations being extended to Tim Wareing on the publication of his latest book.

He has huge respect in the Northern Ireland football community and further afield. He has fulfilled the expectations people had of him. Expertise, vision and hard work always get results.'

Jack Gallagher, FIFA Coaching Instructor and FIFA Technical Advisor 1979-2007

'Tim Wareing started the TW Sports Academy 10 years ago.

Just 24 at the time, Tim felt there was restricted youth development in Northern Ireland and felt passionately about doing something about it.

Encouraged and supported by his dad to complete his coaching badges, he worked his way up to UEFA European 'A' Licence level.

For six years he coached the Under 18's and Academy players at Lisburn Distillery, when his 'mentor' Paul Kirk was manager of the Ballyskeagh outfit.

While thrilled to be working with the kids, Tim was frustrated by the lack of contact time with the players, believing while he was making progress he could make an even bigger impact with more training sessions.

And so he decided to fully focus on taking his own Academy to a different level.
The acorn that begun with just himself coaching youngsters in the Cregagh area in Belfast, is fast becoming a big oak tree. Now, aided by sponsors Subway, he operates province-wide, employs 20 other qualified coaches and his Academy coaches up to 700 children per week ranging from the age of two to fifteen.

The first to bring a 'Toddler Soccer programme' to Northern Ireland, he has now written this third book. Tim's previous books on coaching youngsters sold in 30 countries. Also he is never afraid to post videos of training sessions on You Tube for the world to see.

He is an engaging character with an excellent pedigree and he coaches kids in the right way. I wish him well going forward.'

Steven Beacom is the Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor

'It is vitally important that children are fully developed as individual players as well as team players. On a recent visit to Northern Ireland I observed the excellent work carried out by the TWSports.Org Group in relation to not only team development but also the individual development coaching given.'

Martien Pennings, Coach PSV Eindhoven (Holland)

'What the TWSports.Org Group is doing is exceptional, it is different from what anyone else in Northern Ireland is doing, you try to bring the kids together at similar levels and start to work on that. At TWAcademy.Org it is all football related and child centered unlike other coaching which focuses on the physical aspect and not the talent.'

Bert-Jan (BJ) Heijmans, Director Dutch UK Football School

'During my time at Distillery FC, I had the privilege of working alongside Tim in his capacity as Director of Youth Football, a position that Tim embraced with his great enthusiasm and technical ability as a first class coach.

During our time together, I watched numerous boys and girls develop, from grass roots players at a young age, to elite athletes, players, and well rounded individuals.

Testimony to Tim’s work is recognised in just some of the players who developed through that structure and under his guidance; Jack Chambers now at West Brom., Josh Tipping now at Chesterfield, Nathan Kerr now at Stevenage and Luke Fisher now at Fleetwood.

Carry on the good work Tim, with your infectious enthusiasm dedication and knowledge of all aspects of the game. Good luck in the future, I know many more will benefit from having worked with you.'

Paul Kirk, UEFA Pro Licence Coach. Former Manager of Premier League side, Lisburn Distillery

"Here at Elite, we are extremely pleased with the professionalism and authenticity TW Academy has offered us over the past two years while conducting our soccer summer clinics in USA. Coach Tim and his team of coaches are highly knowledgeable and bring excitement to the field! The kids are thrilled and have smiles on their faces while learning the game of soccer." I trust coach Tim and the work he has to share with others. This is a great book to acquire soccer knowledge in creating the Elite soccer player. Apply these principles in this book and your players will improve and so will you as a coach."

Javier Perez, Founder and Executive Director of Elite Soccer Training

'I would like to congratulate Tim on this, his new book, and highly recommend it.

I first met Tim on a study trip in Holland, and since then he has changed very little. He is constantly searching for inspiration, knowledge, competence and different views and perspectives on training methods and philosophies.

He has made regular visits to other clubs in several countries, increasing his network of coaches and many other people involved in football, in order to share ideas about the game, and above all, about youth development. I feel that this book is a consequence of his dedication. It is basically his manual, sharing the good practices he has used throughout the years in his successful projects, and I think that this book can be used as an inspirational tool for all coaches at any level of the game.'

Hugo Vicente

Currently working on a new project at Follo FK, Norway. Formerly the SC Braga Academy Director, SL Benfica Youth Coach, Coerver Coaching Portugal Director, also involved in other clubs. Hugo is a top name in Portuguese youth football, and has travelled the world working with many clubs and federations, holding courses, coaching education and workshops.

Order your copy now! Simply follow this link. Available in book or e-book. For more details contact Tim Wareing, 07740120788 or by email; tim@twsports.org

Tim's first book, 'Toddler Soccer The Essential Guide', has sold in over 30 different countries! This stretches from the UK & Ireland, across Europe to USA & Canada, the Far East & Australia! Order a copy from here!

Likewise his second book, '1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players - GUARANTEED!' is available to purchase here.

Do You Pick a Youth Team to Win or Develop?

Last year I wrote a blog on 'How Much Game Time Does Your Youth Team Players Get?' & some may have argued it is easy for me to write that but do I carry it through with my own team? Why should you look to share game time? Below is some of my findings from last year & how it compares to what I've done with my own U12 team this season.

The Scenario...

It’s a cold winters morning & your squad of 16 players have been up from 8am getting ready. They meet at 9am to travel 1 hour to the venue. 10.30am they’re doing the warm up for the 11am kick off. So 3 hours have passed by & 11 players take to the field to kick off while 5 others watch on…

This is a common situation in youth football. The scenario I have used above puts the manager against the ‘best’ side in the league. So he picks his best 11 players to play the game which is 30 minutes each way. His team come in at half time 2-0 down. He looks to the bench & simply thinks he has his best 11 on the pitch & the other 5 won’t make a difference so doesn’t make any changes. The 5 kids on the bench are freezing & disappointed, they have all went to training during the week & have been up from 8am…now at 11.40am they still haven’t got anywhere near getting on! Mid way through the second half the manager finds his team 3-0 down so asks the 5 subs to get warmed up.

10 minutes to go & it is 4-0. He replaces the 2 forwards with 2 subs thinking they can’t do any worse. 5 minutes left he replaces a winger like for like. In the last minute he makes the other 2 changes so everyone gets a game. The game finishes 4-0 & everyone is disappointed. They do a cool down & get changed before making their way home. They leave the ground at 12.30pm & return home at 1.30pm. Jonny who has been up at 8am got back into his house just before 2pm…nearly 6 hours dedicated to the team that offered him 2 minutes on the pitch today.

How many minutes each of our players have played to date…

How many minutes each of our players have played to date…

This is common in youth football. So many parents have said to me over the years that their child doesn't receive equal game time while signed up at other clubs. This season was the first time in 5 years that I ran my own team. I wanted to insure ALL of my players received similar game time. I have scanned my record time for my team for you to see. You'll notice against some players there is a second time in brackets. This is to allow for weekends away, suspensions, injuries or rarely a player arriving late. This helps keep a balance.

I purposely keep my squad to 14 players so that I only have 3 subs. I always try to make 3 subs at half time so everyone receives at least half a game. We have noticed a real difference as some players in the summer were behind others in terms of development. With insuring they play similar game time as the rest, in some cases more time, we have noticed a real improvement.

The project is only 6 months in but as we review at the end of the year the game time is pretty much the same. Obviously we only have one goalkeeper hence he is at the top of the list (Dale) while we don't have many centre backs so they also are a little ahead of the rest of the pack.

As a coach or manager do you review game time? Do you try to be fair to aid development for all players? I also want to insure that players don't get complacent either. We ask the subs can they be impact players? Basically they only have half the time to make a difference so can they become an impact player! At the same time we now will balance out the second half of the season. If we feel any player is getting too complacent in terms of thinking they will get a full game so not work as hard they will be subbed. We now ask the question to players, 'play so we can't sub you'. It's not to add pressure it is simply to get them thinking more about their game.

We realise that at a young age players will never have consistency in their games but we always expect the basics of time keeping, appearance, attitude, work rate & always wanting the ball. We offer a positive environment that allows them a platform to perform.

Let us have your feedback to this article regardless if you are a coach, parent or player. My next blog will be based around what the subs can do while waiting to get involved. Below is our end of year video review. Some funnies, tricks, great football & goals after kicking off this project in June. Enjoy!

Player Development Plan (PDP) & Visual Psychology

In everyday life we all have to set goals.  We set targets to achieve results.  It can vary from improving our business to increasing sales in our job or simply using behaviour charts for children!  I remember working in a Travel Agent where there was a white board displayed with everyone's name written on it.  Your total number of sales was written alongside your colleagues.  The month started on zero.  If you made a booking for a family of five & a group booking for 20 you shot up to 25 while your colleagues lagged behind.  It was a nice feeling, but if it was the other way around it made you work harder to improve your performance & reach your goal, especially if there was a reward at the end of it.

Surround yourself with positive visual psychology!

Surround yourself with positive visual psychology!

Football is no different.  All my 1-on-1 students keep a Player Development Plan (PDP).  I also provide a folder with a lot of advice included in it for them.  We then set a plan & goals for them to achieve.

You can make it as simple as you want, write it out by hand or complete online & print it out.  The main topics you should cover include:

  • player's name
  • month / year
  • strengths / weaknesses
  • what I need to improve on
  • how to improve
  • targets
  • short-term goal
  • medium-term goal
  • long-term goal
  • signature

It is important that the player himself completes the PDP, but assist & guide them.  If they have weaknesses, set targets for improvement in that area.  Set relevant homework.

You can see from the examples below, how one of my players has completed his PDPs.

One of Luke's early Player Development Plans...

One of Luke's early Player Development Plans...

You can see his strengths & what he feels he needs to work on.  We then focus on this during our 1-on-1 sessions, but also set homework so he can be working on this away from the sessions.

He also sets his long term-term goal.  This can be anything from playing for a top club to playing for your country, or both!  This is the dream, the goal to aim for.  The important thing is also to set short to medium-term goals so each individual can see, feel & touch success.  Ensure the short-term goals are achievable & realistic.  In this example, he has set a target to score 4 goals & set up 8 goals over the month.  Obviously, the number of games he plays & his position on the team will affect this.  You have to remind the player that he may put in several terrific crosses or through balls but, even if the forward doesn't score, it is no reflection on his own creativity.

I also like my players to have their PDP placed on the wall so they see their targets first thing in the morning & last thing at night.  I am also a firm believer in surrounding yourself with positive images & memories.

I have my coaching certificates on the wall, my last book cover blown up & framed along with images & newspapers clippings framed.  It's not to stoke my ego but simply to surround myself with positive memories.  Then if I have a bad day I can remind myself of what I have already achieved.

This is why I ask my players to display their medals, trophies & images in their room.  This is called Visual Psychology - surrounding yourself with a positive image - just like the image above.

If they have a bad game or disappointing news I ask them to go to their room & take 10-15 minutes, looking around them & reading through their PDP to see how far they have developed.

One of my players came home very upset after a game.  Yet, a short time away on his own, around his positive memories & reading his PDP really helped & completely changed that.

Comparing the same player's PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 you will see new strengths added, less evidence of weaknesses in his game & his keepie-ups go from his early target of 37 - 38 to being able to do 100!  In the same folder, we also have invitations to the National County Excellence meetings & report cards.  Also details on his performance with his club & attendance at the Liverpool Academy.

Player Development Plans work - have your child or players keep a record & goal set from today!

Comparison of PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 - look at the improvement!

Comparison of PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 - look at the improvement!

Guest Blog by Matthew Nickels on IFA CPD in Association with Seaview Enterprises

Matthew Nickels is a coach with TW Sports & attended a CPD event organised by the IFA in association with Seaview Enterprises.  Below he shares his notes from what was discussed in the morning session.  The event took place at Seaview, home of Crusaders FC.

Introduction

Nigel Best opened by discussing the evolution of Grassroots football.  His central focus was on comparisons with the same on the continent.  The most prominent countries he mentioned were Spain, France & Portugal, as they have continuously generated high quality players over a sustained period.  Belgium was also mentioned based on the players generated in the current 19-22 age bracket.

Observations from a study visit were given.  At 4 clubs visited, that were not even top flight clubs, each had their own 4G pitch provided by the local council, free of charge. This was used by all their age groups, 4 times a week, with each age group having 2 outfield coaches & a goalkeeping coach.

With rates of £60 plus per hour for similar facilities here this is not possible.  The IFA are encouraging effective coaching to maximise the limited contact time, & Pascal is developing the new Youth Certificate.  Nigel believes the Youth certificate is degraded by coaches refusing to do anything non UEFA.

The current level 1 is also being revised due to concerns over how technique is coached.  Age specific methods of coaching technique will be included in future courses.

In study visits games are attended.  This is an important part of learning systems of play.  On a TV screen you can only see where the ball is, however, when at a live game you can also see what is happening where the ball is not.

Nigel concluded the introduction with comparisons between a development coach & competitive coach.  He asked those present which they were, or indeed if they were a bit of both, but warned suppressing the competitive coaching element was difficult & important.

What technical aspects are increasing/ decreasing in top level football?

More of…

-          Fast Transitions/ breaks

o   Arsenal selection of players influenced by speed over 30m.  When defending there is usually only 1 left forward.  Success in transition depends on speed of support.

-          Combination Play

o   Barcelona often look like they are going nowhere with 1 touch passes.  However this draws the opposition and they then exploit the space created.

-          Screener

o   1 or 2

-          Match Intensity/ Tempo

o   Coaching better technique provides players the ability to take in more visual cues & therefore make better decisions.

o   Analogy given of driving a car.  When a learner you have to look at the gearstick, the pedals & even the wheel.  You can’t take in the information the mirrors are giving you.  After practice this is not required & you can even monitor your mirrors subconsciously.  4 sources of information, constantly updated without focus.

-          1 Striker

o   Coach single striker roles, don’t expect to deal with being marked by 2 defenders

-          Defending 4-5-1

-          Attacking 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1

-          Tactical Flexibility

o   Coach player understanding of roles

o   Prepare multiple systems

-          Middle to front attackers

o   How do you mark between the lines

-          Long Diagonals

o   Now an important technique for a modern CB

-          Technical Quality

o   Technique on its own is not sufficient, application of technique under pressure is what makes it game relevant.

Individualists

Less of…

-          Back 3

-          Sweepers

-          Man to Man Markers

-          Less Space (make quicker decisions based on less time)

-          Predictable movement (i.e. running straight lines up channels)

-          Defenders on the posts

-          Set Play Frequency

-          Twin Striker Play

-          Less Offside Decisions (deeper defending)

o   Coach centre forwards to play behind the defenders

§  Out of sight

§  Creates further space for midfielders

§  1 yard head start when attacking in wide positions

-          Advanced Pressing

o   Triggers

o   Pressure high up the pitch is for Barcelona only.  Their interplay is short, they are always compact.  When they lose the ball in the final third there are 4 or 5 players to press collectively early.  This is difficult to replicate in other styles of play.

-          Long Ball Back to Front

o   Described how some centre backs will mark channel side to intercept, with their partner covering the goal side.

-          Rigid 4-4-2

-          Comebacks after conceding first goal

-          Midfield schemer

Transition (counter attack)

-          First Pass Forward

-          4 types;

o   Classic - back 3rd to front quickly to 1 or 2 attackers

o   Collective - regain in midfield area & group attack with 4 to 5 players

o   Advanced - retrieving ball high up & a few attackers exploit

o   Solo - individual creates by running from around half way line

-          Fast break Principles;

o   DEFENDING - disorganised; space behind; low numbers; square passes

o   ATTACKING - interception; reaction time

o   THREE PHASES;

§  Trigger - i.e. clearance, interception

·         6 seconds to exploit

§  Transfer - running; passing; combinations

§  Target - Shot

-          Counter the counter attack

o   Quickly reform

§  Midfield at half

§  Defence around 25 yards from goal

o   Press Ball

o   Midfield Screener

o   Defending Deep

o   Technical Fouls

Awareness

-          http://www.vimeo.com/36972053

-          Don’t just coach a player to look, what they see is what is important.

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