MOTI Youth Soccer Summit 2020 – Skip Gilbert CEO US Youth Soccer

MOTI Youth Soccer Summit 2020 – Skip Gilbert CEO US Youth Soccer

MOTI YOUTH SOCCER SUMMIT – Coaching and Educating in a Remote Environment: Maintaining the connection with parents, players, students & coaches.

View Ian Barkers presentation from the Youth Soccer Summit here.

3D Soccer Drill MOTI Sports – 5 Pass Drill

3D SOCCER DRILL – MOTI Sports Five Pass Drill available in the MOTI Soccer App, explained by Alan Merrick.  Helps players working on passing accuracy, layoff pass, diagonal and thru ball.  

MOTI Virtual Soccer Training for Teachers

Learn more about Distance Learning with MOTI Virtual and the MOTI Soccer app for Teachers.

MOTI Sports Virtual Soccer Training

Get the MOTI Soccer Training app:
MOTI Soccer for Android:
MOTI Soccer for iOS:


How to create an effective training session


Coaches at all levels have to develop the skills to plan a practice session to effectively prepare their team for matches. United Soccer Coaches courses provide a good framework that coaches can utilize when considering what to practice, why the main topic of the practice is needed, and what methodology best presents a systemic approach to reaching practice goals to prepare their team.

It is assumed that coaches are cognizant of safety factors involved prior to every practice such as making sure the goals are secured and checking to be certain the field surface is ready for training.

Step 1—Select the Topic

Youth-level coaches can select their topic from their adjusted seasonal plan. If the team needs to work on dribbling this week, then the practice plan should include dribbling. Possibly alerting the team to worry about “how fast Nicole is as the opposing striker” or “what team will be the next opponent” is not important. More experienced playing level coaches base their practices on observation of the team’s last match:

  • What did the team accomplish in the last match and where did they fall short?
  • When does the team play their next match?
  • Who is the next opponent and what challenges do they create for their team?

The focus of the practice session should be as specific as possible. The more clearly a coach defines their goal the clearer it will be for players.

The coach should consider the following questions when choosing what topic to select for a training session: Is the focus of the training session on individual exercises, groups or blocks (backs + GK, midfielders, attackers) or team (11v11 or a small-sided exercises that mimic the team shape)? Should the focus be technical or tactical? What players are involved from your team, the opposing team? How will the coach start and restart the exercises to get maximum repetitions? Don’t try to accomplish too many targets during the practice; generally, two to three is usually good.

Step 2—Organize the Equipment

Once a coach has decided on the focus of the practice, the organization of practice equipment is important—soccer balls, cones/disks/flags, vests, portable goals, etc. Practice should begin with areas already defined, soccer balls ready, vests ready for the team, and which players will be in which group during the starting practice exercise.

Remember the Mechanics:

  • Are the exercises appropriate to topic?
  • Exercise details:
    • Number of Players
    • Restrictions
    • Number of Touches
    • Amount of Time
    • number of Goals
    • Number of Balls
  • Proper use of space (approx. 10yds/Offensive Player)
  • Practice spaces—don’t share boundaries
  • Logical progressions—increase pressure incrementally for technical topics, complicate the environment as the practice progresses
  • Coaching position—generally outside

Step 3—Create a Learning Environment

What makes up a learning environment?

  • Players learn better by doing, not just hearing
  • Teach don’t talk; coaches should not lecture
  • Show what you want vs. telling what you want; remember: retention is 70% visual

Step 4—Select your Coaching Methodology

  • Progressive Technical—build pressure from none to full as quickly as possible
  • Progressive Tactical—possession, direction, counter direction, two directions with full pressure from opponents
  • Functional Technical or Tactical—in the area where the players are located in a match
  • Phase Play—play between two of the thirds of the field
  • Shadow Play—adding opposition as play proceeds

Step 5 – THE Practice Warm Up:

» About 15-20% of allotted time related to topic

» Rehearse—physical and psychological preparation for the practice

  • Team is ready to go at full speed when completed

Main Activities:

  • About 45-50% of allotted time; usually 3-5 exercises

Concluding Activity—Game:

  • About 30-35% of allotted time

» Implement topic in match environment

  • Games with restrictions as needed


Warm Down:

  • About 5% of allotted time – stretch, low-level activity, reinforce coaching points

Coaching Actions During Practice Exercises:

  • Don’t forget that “catching the good” is an effective way to reinforce correct play and choices
  • Identify the problems and the teachable moments
  • Freeze the action
  • Correct the mistake with effective demonstration or review a correct picture
  • “Painting the correct picture” focused corrections (30-second rule – remember: the longer a coach talks the less players listen)
  • Rehearse—coach the player, not the exercise
  • Restart with success “WHEN – ON”

Remember that feedback—the single most important variable in skill learning—must be valid, precise, and specific vs. non-specific and focused on performance.

The following is from Bill Beswick, a sports psychologist in England.

Successful Coaches

Successful coaches take players out of their comfort zone, individually and collectively, to somewhere they have not been before—REACH THE POSSIBLE!

A Good Coach:

  • Coaches the Whole Player
  • Is Organized—Sell vs. Yell
  • Has Focused Practices
  • Has Challenging Practices
  • Has Players Set Individual Goals
  • Allows Freedom to Fail
  • Facilitates Learning
  • Balances Work, Rest, Relaxation
  • Balances Praise/Criticism
  • Has Players Take Responsibility
  • Establishes 2-Way Communication

Good Luck!!!

Reprinted with permission from United Soccer Coaches.  Originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of Soccer Journal.

Passing Side Foot Skill

The MOTI Sports Passing Side Foot Skill explained.

Check out another skill: Outside Hook Turn Skill

Soccer Lesson Plans For Teachers

Alan shares advice for elementary, middle school, and physical education teachers on how to integrate proper and effective soccer lesson plans into in-person, hybrid, or distance learning curriculum and teacher lesson plans.

Alan Merrick is an international soccer legend both as a professional player and coach, Alan now dedicates his time to teaching the sport with MOTI Sports’ 3D Mobile Soccer Training Platform.

Get the MOTI Soccer Training app:
MOTI Soccer for Android:
MOTI Soccer for iOS:

US Soccer Return To Play


“PLAY ON” Phases Provide Guidance for Return to Full-Team Competitions;
Each Phase Should Be Implemented Only If and When Local Regulations Deem It Safe

U.S. Soccer has released the final phase of its five-phase PLAY ON campaign, providing coaches, players, parents, referees, and administrators with the complete return-to-play guidelines during COVID-19 to help ensure the safety of all participants.

PLAY ON was created to inform and assist in the process of organized soccer returning to play nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic and is divided into five progressive phases, from Phase 0 (stay at home) to Phase IV (no COVID-19 related restrictions). With Phase I and II already released, Phase III has now been published at, providing the complete return-to-play recommendations as Phase IV is the return to normal soccer activity without restrictions.

While Phase III allows for full-team competitions to return, each phase of the return-to-play recommendations should only be taken if and when state and local COVID-19 regulations deem it safe.

“While we’ve now released our full return-to-play guidelines, it’s important that everyone first follow local and state regulations before taking any steps forward,” said U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer George Chiampas. “Different areas of the country are at different phases, or even returning to previous phases, as the entire country continues to deal with coronavirus outbreaks. Clubs and teams should take a slow and methodical progression between phases to make sure that all participants will be as safe as possible.”

PLAY ON includes a comprehensive Grassroots Soccer Recommendation Guide that provides all those involved in youth soccer – players, coaches, parents, administrators, and referees –important safety protocols to consider and implement at each stage of return to play. The guides also contain valuable information that can be applied to all levels of the game.

Phase I of PLAY ON allows for training in small groups, while Phase II provides for full-team training and the newly launched Phase III presents recommendations for the safe return and management of the full-team competition. Even in Phase III, COVID-19 prevention and response protocols, outlined in earlier Phases, should still be followed. Social distancing should be maintained when possible and teams are recommended to only participate in regional single-day events to avoid significant travel or overnight stays.

Each phase should follow sequentially, with Phase I suggested to last four-six weeks and Phase II three-six weeks before progressing to Phase III.

“Regardless of which phase a club or team is operating in, everyone should be prepared to take a step back and revert to an earlier phase if needed,” said Chiampas. “This can be in response to increased risk, cluster outbreaks, updates to public health guidelines, or an inability to safely maintain COVID-19 prevention and response protocols. It is important to remain vigilant and flexible as we prepare for every scenario. By prioritizing the safety of our soccer community, we can preserve the health of those around us and help ensure that our sport can remain a part of our lives at this time.”

For additional insight on the safe return to play, U.S. Soccer Coaching Education hosted a webinar with Dr. Chiampas earlier this summer that can be viewed here.

U.S. Soccer also encourages all players, coaches, parents, referees, and administrators to take the PLAY ON Pledge, an oath to stay informed and to follow recommendations from medical professionals, to be honest in their self-evaluation and to be responsible to themselves, their family and their communities.

Through PLAY ON, U.S. Soccer will continue to provide updates and resources to the soccer community as the summer continues, to help it navigate the challenges of COVID-19. Along with providing best practices in the detailed and in-depth recommendation guides, the PLAY ON initiative includes instructional videos, sample training exercises, infographics, and other resource materials. All the resources for the PLAY ON initiative can be found in a virtual hub at

Returning to the field after a long period off may add to the stress your body experiences while coaching. U.S. Soccer partner KT Tape® can help provide pain relief and support. KT Tape® offers a wide variety of products from kinesiology tape for a new ache or pain, or an ice/heat product for pre- or post-workout. Check out their latest deals at and watch their video instructions to learn how to apply KT Tape® at

Reprinted with permission.

Soccer Lesson Plans for Teachers

Alan will share advice for elementary, middle school, and physical education teachers on how to integrate proper and effective soccer lesson plans into in-person, hybrid, or distance learning curriculum.

Alan Merrick is an international soccer legend both as a professional player and coach, Alan now dedicates his time to teaching the sport with MOTI Sports’ 3D Mobile Soccer Training Platform.