Posts Tagged ‘Dutch’

On the third day we were introduced to Ruud Dokter for our first session in the morning.  For a course that is filled with bright spots, Ruud has been the highlight of the course for me to this point, and not just because of the information that he shared in his session.  Ruud was most recently the Dutch National U16 Boy’s Head Coach, he was the National Women’s Head Coach from 1995-2001, and is currently very involved with the KNVB coaches training program as well as helping to consult the USSF on our coaching curriculum and methodology.

Ruud led a field session on counter attacking and finishing.  Very simple build up with a long grid and players trying to win the ball deep in their defensive half and finding the target to build counter.  There were some technical break downs with the U18 boys team we were using, but his coach demeanor was fantastic.  He did a great job relaying the information that was pertinent and made the topic work for the players that he had in front of him.  I’ve seen several instructors get frustrated with the level of demo players, but this is coaching; communicating and relaying an idea about the game to players, no matter what level they are at.  That is the mark of a good coach, not that he can teach the good players how to play, but that he/she can develop the players that are in front of them as they are.

Tom Durkin followed up this field session with another addressing defenders playing out of the back third.  Tom’s coaching style is fantastic to learn from!  He is unwavering about what he wants out of the players and their attention to the small things.  Even though he demands so much from the players, his energy and demeanor communicate that he wants them to succeed and he celebrates their success.  His communication style and ability to transfer the ideas in his head to the players, and WHY, reached the kids and we saw marked improvement in the topic.  The technical level of the U16 team he was working with was drastically different than the previous team, and it was very apparent that Tom was frustrated with the level of play, but he was very patient and stayed on task through the entire session.

Then we went inside for a lecture on counter attacking presented by Jeff.  Here is why I’m enjoying Ruud so much; in the front row, notepad out and taking notes the entire time, was Ruud Dockter.  He is definitely the most senior, and most experienced clinician at the course, however he sits in the front row and takes notes constantly when he is not instructing.

In the afternoon we had two field sessions; training the midfield and forwards in the attack (Mark Berson), and analyzing the 1-3-5-2 v. the 1-4-3-3 (Tom Durkin).  We had the U18 girls to work with, and they were the worse technical group to point.  It was a struggle for the clinicians to get their topics covered, but both did a great job being patient with the ladies and improving their level of play related to the topic.

In the evening with met with our evaluating instructors and did a review in groups of four over our match analysis of the USA v. Guatemala.  Our technical reports were handed back to us and we covered the things that were deficient and what we needed to improve on before our oral exams.

With the season over I’ve had a chance to sit down and get back to reading some books.  One that I picked up was this book by David Winner.  It was a great book about the culture of the Dutch, not just their national past time.

Winner dives into the history of Total Football from its origins at Ajax and through the Dutch national team’s run of success in the Euros and the World Cups.  He not only explores the beautiful attacking soccer of the Netherlands, but he spends most of the book looking at the history of the country and the ties between Dutch culture and their football.

This is a great read for anyone who is a fan of Total Football, or soccer in general.  It’s a very interesting read that may approach the game in Holland a little differently than you’re used too.

Winner’s biggest interest is in the lack of success the Dutch have for winning the big tournaments.  Ajax had a strong run of success at the international level from 1971-1995 winning four European Cups/Champions League, especially the run that won them three in a row in 1971, 1972, and 1973.  But on the national side the Oranje have only experienced success once, winning in Euro ’88, but failing to ever lift the World Cup trophy in spite of being in the final three different times.

The world over agrees that the 70’s and 80’s marked the dominance of Total Football, but the culture seemed to lack the missing ingredient to make them world champions.  In fact Winner dives into the Dutch psyche to explore the lack of passion fans showed for the games themselves, especially the loses.

It was a very interesting read that was enjoyable to explore one of the countries that has impacted the game as much as any other world power.  I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan of the Dutch or a fan of soccer history in general.

I am a huge fan of the Dutch system of development and training for youth soccer.  The Total Football of the 70’s and 80’s is something I’ve always aspired to as a coach and a player. 

So when I found out that an assistant coach from the Ajax system was coming to my area for a clinic I was on board right away.  So I thought I would blog about the clinic and some of the key points I’m picking up from the weekend.

Day 1

– Three sessions today covering transition play and the Dutch system of training related to passing.

The primary thing I took away from the first two sessions conducted by the Ajax coach was how far behind we are as a nation and how simple the Dutch have made the development of soccer.  It was so unfortunate that the club teams chosen to help out the clinician by demonstrating his training session could not catch on or perform to his standard.  He really struggled with them because their skill level was so poor.  These players looked like U16’s, and they were wearing USYSA Region 2 patches on their jerseys!  But the simple principles of maintaining possession in a 4v4 game was astounding.  They did not understand the concepts of playing  a diamond at all, and he was repeating himself several times.

When he started his session on technical passing the small things that U12 teams in Holland could do were lacking in our American players.  Simple things like having your feet ready to receive the ball, preparing the hips to receive a pass in a specific direction.  Playing mandatory two-touch, movement off the ball, and understanding patterns went right over their heads.  It was a just such a major visualization of where we are lacking as a country.

The thing that “rocked” my line of thinking so hard was the simplicity and redundant nature of the sessions he was talking about.  The players in the Ajax system will work on these passing drills two or three times a week.  There’s nothing too them, just focusing on passing with the left or right foot, preparing the body for the ball, etc. 

I want to start doing something more basic with my players until we are passing the ball the way we should be.

Day 2 tomorrow!