Skill Acquisition for Soccer Success with Tom Byer, Will Lead to Player Development

On the heels of the USMNT’s elimination from the upcoming World Cup, correspondent Jon Frankel meets Tom Byer, an unlikely development coach who’s been a big hit in Japan and China – and whose unique recipe for soccer success may be making its way to America.

Kicking should not be the first technique kids learn. Children should develop a love of keeping the ball close and gaining confidence with ball skills, what Byer calls “delivery mechanisms”. This technical component has been credited for helping improve the skill level of the Japans men’s and women’s teams over the past 15 years. With the women winning the 2011 World Cup.

Considered “an overall rethink” a common thread of success, parents. “Kids can start acquiring technical skills from a much earlier age. That’s not going to happen unless their’s an engagement by parents. It’s not happening with coaches … technical skills are rarely the result of coaching.” Byer points out that there are 211 countries in FIFA with only eight ever winning the men’s World Cup; with only three serial winners: Brazil, Germany and Italy.

Kids who come from a culture at home that values education will usually be the ones who excel in school. “It’s the same thing with soccer,” he said. “This is the missing link to what’s happening in the United States.” However parents are basically kicking the ball back and forth and therefor conditioning them form a young age that it’s a kicking game. Kids need to be more technically competent before they step into organized play.

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