Coaching, Player Development, Registration, SFYS Rules, Team Management

The SFYS Jamboree – What we learned…

This past weekend saw SFYS run the first ever jamboree!

Logistically and operationally:
109 teams were interested in the Jamboree, before we secured any fields / dates / times.
Upon announcement and kick off, we had 6 2nd grade teams playing. 3rd grade was cancelled with not enough teams.
July 21st and 22nd is a tough time of the year to do it, with summer vacations.

Why did we / do we want to offer a jamboree, and what were the goals?
The jamboree was created to:
Connect SFYS with 2nd and 3rd grade teams
Provide an early playing opportunity for teams
Help connect 4v4 MicroSoccer to 7v7 SFYS soccer
Use the event to train referees and STAR’s
Observe teams / games for bracketing purposes
Assess SFYS league rules and operations as they pertain to gameplay

So why do it in July? We attempted to use the Jamboree to get a preview of teams for bracketing purposes. None of our 2nd grade teams really know their strength when completing the strength census, so we attempted to help out. If we wait until later in the summer then we miss the opportunity to use it as a bracketing tool for round one of the season. BECAUSE we bracket and run schedules to provide as much time for families to be prepared as possible. Game dates are already on the calendar. However, 2nd and 3rd grade do not have playoffs, but instead have a re-bracket window after four games in the fall season, so we can use the jamboree results to help influence the re-bracket for round two of games.

Can we do it later in the summer? We absolutely can and we are considering it. This is because the result of 6 teams playing this weekend was that we did get some idea of bracketing, but it was more about the players, coaches, and families experiencing 7v7 soccer. We checked off everything in the goal list so we could really do it later on in the summer when, hopefully, more families are in town and available to play.

What else did we learn?

Players and Coaches
2nd grade soccer players do not know a whole lot about ‘soccer’. They really do not know positions. They don’t know how to take throw-ins. They do not understand the game as a whole, with relation to team mates and opponents. They don’t know what the build out line is. They don’t understand spread out.

You can tell / show your players all of that until you are blue in the face. What will it do? It might make you feel better, but what is really missing?


X – Coaches put the players in ‘positions’, but they were unable to control the ball effectively most of the time or execute a technique once they had made a decision.
X – The build out line allows for players to receive the ball under pressure, and if they control the ball, their next action was to kick the ball away. Why? …
X – Throw-in practice will inevitably be a focus of some practices, but the technical focus will be wrong. Sure, go ahead and work on the technique of the throw-in, but don’t stand in a line and try to throw the ball in a trash can (yes I have seen this before). Play a small-sided game (3v3 / 4v4) and when the ball goes out, play from a throw-in, but focus on the receiving player and what they do before, when, and after receiving the ball.
X – Don’t spread out. Encourage players to play together. That will most likely start of as them taking the ball off of each other, but play 2v1 and 2v2 games to encourage working with a partner. Spreading out will begin to occur naturally as players discover, and you show them, how to use the space on the field.
X – ‘Boot it’, ‘Kick it’, ‘Get it out’, ‘Big kick’ or whatever other nonsense you say, please STOP. Technical focused training at your weekly practice (which players can also do at home) will encourage your players to receive and do something creative and purposeful with the ball, such as dribble, pass, or even shoot to score a goal. YES THEY WILL GIVE THE BALL AWAY, but experiential learning will help them to learn from those mistakes. You also panic those players into doing ‘something’ with the ball.
X – Give your players the chance to play. They will learn through playing. Not standing in lines or waiting for their turn. SFYS has a game of the week (GOTW) for you to follow for each week of the season. The focus is about gameplay, but gameplay as it pertains to the young player you have on the field – not switching the play, or playing deep crosses for volleys on goal – and how they can grow to love the game.

Families were awesome. They supported and cheeered, they provided snacks, and they followed the rules – Thank you so much! Now, please help our soccer community to grow and help us manage the games at weekends – help keep other parents calm, on the correct side of the field (opposite the coaches and not behind the goal) and keep them encouraging!
However, you also have a job with your player. Please change up the traditional kicking the ball back and forth, or shooting on goal. Instead, replace that with encouragement for them to keep the ball. Encourage them to manipulate the ball and have fun with it. Follow our skill of the week (SOTW) blog and support your player to take control of their own learning and development, without kicking the ball away, which translates to the game and your player kicking the ball away.

In short, thank you to everyone for joining us and playing soccer with SFYS – we appreciate you.

SFYS (written by Lee Dunne)

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