Developing a Club Curriculum Part 1

6 06 2013

Some of you may know, I have left my position at my former club and become the Director of Soccer Operations for another local club.  It is definitely a project and will take some time before we make any kind of mark on the state, regional, or national soccer scene.  With this in mind, I knew there had to be something to set us apart from our competitors, and so immediately set to work on developing a comprehensive curriculum, style of play, and methodology that would define how our soccer would be played, taught, and implemented.

So what? Doesn’t every a club have a curriculum some of you might ask?  The shocking and equally appalling answer…is no!

Unfortunately, nearly every club I have come across could hardly be defined as a ‘club.’  There is little to nothing that unifies those that play or those that coach at a particular club outside of the jersey and club crest.  Each coach is free to teach whatever they want to teach, whenever they want to teach.  Each coach is free to run a system they see fit.  Each coach is free to teach whatever style of play they wish…well let me correct that 99.9% of coaches in the US have no idea how to cultivate a style of play outside of ‘jungle ball.’

Sure they all say they have a curriculum, philosophy, style of play, methodology.  They all say that their about development.  Some, if not many, actually do have these things written down somewhere and stuck on a shelf gathering dust.  Very few, if any, have actually implemented their philosophy across the entirety of their club.  Few if any, actually sit down and interview a coach before hiring them to determine their personal coaching philosophy to make sure it aligns with the club’s.  Few if any, hold regular coaching meetings, educational sessions, to ensure that everyone continues to work in the same direction.

And so with this in mind, I set out to do exactly what other’s aren’t.   We have a long way to go, but what I do have is a staff of coaches committed to a singular vision…a singular idea of how the game should be played and should be taught…a staff committed to developing players using a single methodology and style of play…a staff committed to working with and for each other.

I would ask those that read this to truly think about how their club views player development.  Is it a unified vision?  Is each coach on the same page with a complete commitment to a singular way of playing?  Or is your club, your son or daughter’s club, or the club you coach at pretty much a random assortment of ideas, styles, systems, and coaches?  For me, it’s a scary thought.  There’s no guide for a coach.  There’s no comprehensive plan.  How are we supposed to develop players if as they  move from coach to another that new coach has literally no clue what has been taught, how it’s been taught, when it’s been taught or if what they have been taught aligns with how they see the game?

Directors, we aren’t doing our job.  Too many of us are picking up a paycheck, coaching a few teams, writing a few documents and placing them on shelves and our players are hurting because of it!

In part 2, we will discuss the first steps to developing a club curriculum.



3 responses

7 06 2013

Reblogged this on Kick the Ball-istics and commented:
This is an excellent article. It hits on a larger issue in American club soccer. Re-thinking the way in which we teach at the lower levels will generate success on the world-stage.

13 06 2013

This works if a club has a thoughtful technical director. My son’s club doesn’t. My son’s coach is amazing, but the director is always getting in his way. Basically, the club exists to provide recreation for affluent white kids, while the coach wants to teach soccer.

So while its good to strengthen programs at the level of the club, I’d hate for the club’s technical director to read this post and decide to buckle down and create a curriculum. All he’d do is stifle his best coaches.

13 06 2013

I agree. But I also think it is a mistake for coaches to coach for a club that may or may not be in agreement with their thoughts on the game.

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