Back in the day, when I wasn’t on the soccer field, I loved playing Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo. Recently I played it again for the first time in 20+ years, and actually almost beat the game in one try!
It got me thinking – how did I get so good at Mario Brothers, and how does that relate to iSoccer?
Edge of Ability: When you die in Mario Brothers, you get to immediately try again on the exact same level. Practicing on the edge of your ability is where you improve. Slowly, something that was very difficult will become easier and easier.
Active Learning: I got better by actively playing more and more, not by watching or being taught. You get better soccer skills by doing, not listening. You don’t need a coach to get outside and touch the ball as much as possible.
Repetition: After passing the same level again and again, that level became easier and easier. So when I played the next day, I would breeze through the first few levels and get to where I was more challenged. If you do the same skill over and over again, it will go from challenging to routine!
Just like Mario Brothers, technique is something any player can master. So instead of trying to get to the next level in your favorite video game this season, spend more time with the ball trying to get to the next iSoccer Level!
Scott Leber (@scottleber)
Before jumping in, I wanted to give a huge thanks and congrats to the team here at iSoccer. This took a lot of time and effort by everyone to get us to the finish line. All around, it was a really fun and rewarding project – great work team!
I sincerely hope this app helps parent coaches out there have a more enjoyable season!
So here is a little peek into the process of creating Easy Practice:
The first part of any project is deciding what the product is going to be and more importantly, what the product is not going to be. We focused on a single aspect of coaching: practice. Not game day, not scheduling, not orange slices – But how to make practice more enjoyable for both the coach and the player. That was our sole focus.
Once we decided what we wanted the app to be, we had to figure out how to bring that to life. How should the coach to interact with the app? What are the drills the coach should do? Will they use it on the field or at home? What should it look like… You get the idea! There is a lot to think about, but this is the fun part of the process. Sometimes getting out of the office and heading to the roof helps us think.
#3 SKETCH AND DESIGN
Once we had a good understanding of the purpose and content, then came the tricky part: How do we design an app that delivers all of this content with an elegant, intuitive design. This took a lot of time and mockups! Gray, our product guy, made sure the app made sense and Aina, our lead designer, made sure the app looked good! Some great teamwork.
Our lead engineer, Jonathan, got to work! It is amazing how much code goes into every single app out there…
#5 TEST AND MAKE CHANGES
We finally had our first working version of the app, so we took it to the field to test. We invited a friend of ours, Jeremy, to be the ‘parent coach.’ He got the drill setup correct but, he was having a tough time finding all the information he needed, and was struggling a bit. It clearly needed work, so back to the office…
#6 TEST AGAIN
We went back and forth between the field and the office a few more times, tweaking things along the way. Finally, we had an app everyone was happy with!
#7 CREATE FINAL CONTENT
From the copy, to the diagrams, to the videos, we made our final edits.
#8 SUBMIT TO APPLE
The app got approved! As with anything in life, you gotta celebrate the little and big wins, so we all hit the town and had fun night out in San Francisco.
In closing, I want to thank all the parents out there dedicating their time and energy to coaching. We know it’s fun and rewarding, but also a lot of work! Hopefully, this app will help make things a little easier for parent coaches out there, and help teams have more fun on the soccer field.
Scott Leber, Founder of iSoccer and EasyPractice
With the spring season kicking off around North America, we are excited to present our newest featured player: Trinity! This young lady from Canada has taken her game to the next level with iSoccer, and is a great example to young players everyone.
In the last year, Trinity has:
Earned 155,000 Player Points, more than anyone else
Logged 340 scores
Improved her Overall iSoccer Level 154%
Awesome work Trinity and keep on raising your level!
Great article about our friend over in Japan – Tom Byers!
The Saga of Tomsan: How an American journeyman revolutionized Japanese soccer—and why it isn’t happening in the U.S.
By Brian Blickenstaff
Posted Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, at 12:00 AM
Courtesy of Tom Byer
In 2009, Zinedine Zidane, the legendary soccer player, participated in a coaching clinic in Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Children and parents filled the stands. The mood was jovial. Zidane was a once-in-a-generation sort of player, a kind of mad genius remembered today as much for his ball skills as for the infamous 2006 World Cup headbutt. The parents in attendance hoped some of those skills, like his signature pirouette (not the headbutt), would rub off on their children. But as Zidane and the gathered coaches began their lessons, something strange happened. The children in the audience began to chant. They weren’t chanting “Zidane,” although people occasionally shouted for his autograph. The children chanted “Tomsan,” the nickname of a 52-year-old retired player from upstate New York who never won a Champions League title, a World Cup Golden Ball, or a FIFA World Player of the Year award: Tom Byer.
We took the article: ‘The Secret of Raising a Resilient Child’ by Dr. Laura and replaced the word ‘child’ with ‘player’
“Where does resilience come from?….It comes from knowing that you never have to be alone… If you feel connected, you will always be able to deal with adversity. The skills we need to deal with adversity begin with a feeling of I can handle this. It is a feeling of No matter what happens, I can find a solution; a feeling of I have dealt with hard times and come out fine before; a feeling of Even when I feel lost, I always have somewhere to turn.” – Dr. Edward Hallowell
Life is full of hard knocks. What makes some people get up the next morning determined to try again, while others give up? Resilience.
There’s a common misconception that Players develop resilience by encountering failure. That’s a myth. Players develop resilience by dealing successfully with failure. When Players have the internal and external supports to get up and try again, they learn they can overcome adversity. When a Player doesn’t have that internal and external support, all he learns from failing is that he’s the kind of person who fails.
And just what are those internal and external supports that help your Player turn failure into the confidence that no matter what happens, she can handle it?
1. Your empathy. The security of knowing that someone is watching out for him is what allows a Player to explore, to risk bumps, disappointment and hurt feelings, and to come out the other side. Empathize when it’s hard. Knowing someone cares, understands, and is there to help him pick up the pieces is the foundation of resilience.
2. The experience of solving problems. Manage your own anxiety so you don’t make a habit of rescuing your Player. Instead, when she gets into a jam, support her in brainstorming possible solutions. If you lecture, teach or solve the problem for her, you’re teaching her that she can’t solve things herself. Your goal isn’t just to solve the problem, but to help your Player feel more capable by having the experience of handling a challenge.
3. Emotional regulation. When kids feel overwhelmed by their emotions, they crumble. By contrast, kids who have better emotional regulation can tolerate the frustration of practicing, or the disappointment of losing. They’re more likely to apply themselves, and to overcome setbacks. So accept your Player’s emotions, and honor them. She learns from experience that she can tolerate any emotion she feels and come out the other end intact, and the sun will come up the next day.
4. The experience of mastery. Developing grit–that quality of pushing through obstacles as we pursue something about which we’re passionate–depends on the Player working hard to accomplish her own goals, whether that’s mastering a jump shot, short story, recipe or camping trip. Make sure your Player gets plenty of time to initiate and pursue her own passions–not always easy in this age of homework and screentime.
You can’t protect your Player from the rain that falls in every life. What you can do is make sure that he knows how to find an umbrella, and has the confidence to make it through the storm. Now’s the time to start practicing. Some day, your Player will look back and remember that he’s dealt with hard times before, and he came out fine. It’s your unwavering love that will get him there.
May you make miracles today, large and small.