Updated: Apr 19, 2022
In our last post, we introduced the topic of how soccer players develop in Stages and we also gave tips to parents for training soccer players who are beginning in the sport. To see and to help players who are in Stage I of their soccer skill development journey (typically ages u8-u11) go to our last blog post HERE.
Stage II Intermediate soccer players are typically U12-U15 and often play for travel soccer teams. However, age is not always the determining factor of a player's skill level. Stage II Intermediate players may be younger or older and not all Stage II players are on travel soccer teams or even play for schools or clubs. Some of Captain Elite's most technically advanced players are younger and have never played on organized soccer teams.
Parents may feel pressure either internally or from their kids to back away from helping their soccer players who are nearing the intermediate Stage II phase of their development. Parents with little to no soccer experience may even believe that they do not have the knowledge to help their soccer players as the kids get older and join more competitive teams. This is unnecessary, and often detrimental, to a player's growth and soccer skill advancement. What your children do not have yet is your years of experience in other ways that can help them become better players. Parents can still help their soccer kids discover new ways of developing skill, offer positive encouragement, provide a safe place to learn new soccer skills and train, as well as help their players realize that failure is a necessity to gain eventual success in whatever they hope to accomplish.
At Captain Elite, we are often heard telling our players that Failure is not an option, but a biological necessity. Without failure, human beings can never grow and succeed. Think of the many times you were learning a new sport or a new skill and how often you failed. Do your soccer kids know that it's ok to make mistakes on the field or in training? As parents we need to teach our children that failing is not a bad thing but a necessary step to getting where we want to end up. Parents can be the positive force that their young athlete needs when learning new skills. Getting cut from a soccer team, sitting on the bench, or getting discouraging feedback from a coach or teammate can be turned into a positive experience when parents step in and give the crucial support that Intermediate Stage II players need to hear from someone they know and trust for advice.
Young players are often inspired when they hear about the number of mistakes that even professional players make in their games. The best soccer players are usually those who know they make mistakes but respond positively and know that they can do better next time.
Someone once said, "The greatest mistake you can make is to be constantly fearful you will make one." Let's help our kids be willing to accept and welcome mistakes and enable them to move on without blaming others.
What other things can soccer parents do to help players at this level? Find a soccer training program that's easy to follow. Of course, the right soccer training program should help players develop technical skill, but it should also give soccer players an exact game plan to follow. There are thousands of soccer videos we can access online and some online training programs will even send you soccer videos on a periodic basis, but players at this level need a proven path to follow. Players should never have to ask, "What do I need to do today?" The best soccer training programs will give them this guidance so that players will always know how much to train each day and what they will be working on.
Read on to learn more about Stage II Intermediate soccer players and what they should be learning right now.
Stage II players should focus on increasing their soccer vision, first touch, and accurate passing of the ball. Many soccer parents are surprised to learn that most of the technical skills needed to advance to the intermediate level may be developed by training soccer at home. Players, in general, are more comfortable learning soccer skills away from the watchful eye of coaches and other teammates. Kids feel more comfortable in their own backyard, basement, or garage, and with the proper soccer training tools can quickly advance to higher-level technical skills on their own.
Now, follow the steps below to help your soccer player advance to the Stage II Intermediate level more quickly.
Step 1: Watch the video below of a female soccer player who completed Stages I & II in about 20 months. She started out at the U12 challenge level and then enrolled in our Raptor 360 Dribbling Course. This player followed our blueprint for dribbling and developed her soccer skills while training on her own at home.
Watch her freestyle dribbling in the video below. You will also see how her dad and siblings had fun working together with Allison in one of our programs, Raptor 360, to reach Stage II Intermediate level and begin her climb to a Stage III player. Allison worked 20 months to advance an incredible 5 team levels with the help and support of her family.
Step 2: After you watch the video, keep reading to learn an important tip for Stage II soccer players to help them learn to juggle using proper technique which will help with their first touch skills.
Watch Stage II u12-u15
Now a soccer juggling tip for Stage I and Stage II soccer players. Juggling a soccer ball is a fun way to help you with your first touch skills. Players new to soccer juggling often struggle keeping the ball in the air when they first begin to learn. They often get frustrated and give up when it's really not that hard to learn with a few useful tips.
Soccer Juggling Tips: When you practice juggling, make sure the ball doesn't spin at all when you hit it up and down. Keep your ankle locked and your toe pointed so that the top of your foot is flat when you strike the ball with it. See the image of one of our players below who has become quite good at juggling.
Once you master hitting the ball up and down, try hitting it against a wall around your house over and over. How many times can you keep it in the air? If you are a pretty good juggler, then you're ready for our First Touch and Passing course! But first, read on to find out what's next up in our blog series on Soccer Skill Stages.
Watch for our next blog post where we continue to discuss the 5 Stages of Soccer Skills Development and introduce our players and parents to characteristics of Stage III players who have developed exemplary technical skills from their hours of time with the ball outside of their teams.
Interested in developing your skills to the levels you've seen in our Stage II players or are you already a Stage II player and want to advance to Stage III? Then join our next round of 10-Week High Performance courses beginning soon. Learn more about this unique and highly-effective way of developing soccer skills at home by visiting our website HERE.
If you would like to begin training today, join our Raptor 360 Dribbling program and learn dribbling skills like the ones you saw in the video above. Learn more about the Raptor 360 program HERE to see how the training works and sample training content to see if it's right for your player and their skill progression. Raptor 360 training includes goal-setting and scheduling and motivational tools to help players sustain their training habits as well as agility exercises to train your body to move efficiently, with and without the ball.
Do you have a blueprint or game plan for your player? Chat with us live on either of these pages above on our website. Let us know about your player and learn ways we can help your family make this soccer journey one of the most positive bonding experiences for your family. We are a soccer family too and we can help your soccer players reach the heights they aspire to while having fun in the process.
Please like, comment on, and share our blog posts - we love getting your feedback on our content so we can keep sharing what you are most interested in!