Raleigh, a 13 year old from Texas, just sent us this video… If anybody has a cool story of how they iSoccer – let us know! Thanks for sending this in Raleigh!
ONE DAY LAST NOVEMBER, psychology professor Carol Dweck welcomed a pair of visitors from the Blackburn Rovers, a soccer team in the United Kingdom’s Premier League. The Rovers’ training academy is ranked in England’s top three, yet performance director Tony Faulkner had long suspected that many promising players weren’t reaching their potential. Ignoring the team’s century-old motto—arte et labore, or “skill and hard work”—the most talented individuals disdained serious training.
On some level, Faulkner knew the source of the trouble: British soccer culture held that star players are born, not made. If you buy into that view, and are told you’ve got immense talent, what’s the point of practice? If anything, training hard would tell you and others that you’re merely good, not great. Faulkner had identified the problem; but to fiit, he needed Dweck’s help.
A 60-year-old academic psychologist might seem an unlikely sports motivation guru. But Dweck’s expertise—and her recent book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success—bear directly on the sort of problem facing the Rovers. Through more than three decades of systematic research, she has been figuring out answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t—why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.
What’s more, Dweck has shown that people can learn to adopt the latter belief and make dramatic strides in performance. These days, she’s sought out wherever motivation and achievement matter, from education and parenting to business management and personal development.
Read the Full Article: http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2007/marapr/features/dweck.html
By Scott Leber:
From the Karate Kid to iSoccer: The Skill Mastery Journey
The notion that someone is just naturally born with a talent is largely a myth. Star athletes, musicians and artists have spent countless hours in training before we see them performing on the ‘big stage.’ You don’t just pick up a violin and start tackling Vivaldi either – you start with basic scales and work your way up. From music, to karate, to soccer, you must continually work on mastering the basics as you learn to play at a higher and higher level.
However, a common problem for youth is that spending time on the basics can often be tedious and boring. But by adding the ability to witness incremental improvement, basic skill training can be rewarding, which leads to the ultimately satisfying realization of, “Hey, I’m actually getting pretty good at this!”
“Football is simple. But the hardest thing is to play football in a simple way.”
- Johan Cruyff
The first part of that quote sums up why you must master the basics. When you boil it down, soccer is a simple game. Before any of the complexities of the modern game, it’s just you and the ball, and what you can do with it, which we refer to as technique. Whether it was in the street, at the park, or in practice, all the best players spent thousands of hours growing up working on basic technical skills before they were able to do what we see on television. For example, when Dennis Bergkamp was a youth player at Ajax, “they had little three foot high walls [and] would knock the ball against them for hours.” Later, he was able to do this:
Once the most basic elements of soccer become second nature, a player can start expanding their focus to include strategy, tactics, and creativity. But if you are still worried about making a simple trap, the advanced aspects of soccer will be hard to perform consistently.
How many soccer coaches hear from players that the ‘technical’ part of practice is no fun? “Can’t we just scrimmage!?” It’s true, focusing on the basics is not necessarily as fun as just playing. Deliberate practice is repetitive, requires focus, and sometimes seems more like work than play. So how do you convince kids that to play soccer well, you must spend time on the basics? Well, you can take the Mr. Miyagi approach and trick them into working on the fundamentals:
Sure, toe taps, juggling, and dribbling in Figure 8’s aren’t the same as cleaning floors, but the point is the same. Mr. Miyagi turned to creative means to force Daniel to realize that the basics are important, and once he saw that he was, in fact, learning karate, things clicked for Daniel. However up until that point, Daniel was frustrated because Mr. Miyagi’s method was missing the ability to see improvement during the training, instead of after, regardless of the nature of the training. That’s where iSoccer comes in.
The ability to witness yourself making incremental improvement is the key to making basic skill training rewarding from day one. If you are going to spend hours on something, don’t you want to know that you are actually getting somewhere? To do that, you need to be able to easily measure those basic skills, hence the iSoccer Assessment. So even if a player is just starting out, or has been playing for years, they can see themselves getting better, slowly but surely, through their iSoccer scores.
The basic psychological component of iSoccer is that people, and kids especially, want to know that they are moving in a positive direction towards the final goal of actually being good at something! Without that ability, many young players learning the game become frustrated because they don’t know if they are getting better, and end up leaving soccer to pursue other interests. However, once a young player gets a little momentum going, they get excited about improving, and their potential is endless.
The Karate Kid didn’t realize that he was actually getting better at karate until after the fact. iSoccer is here to help players realize that they are improving during their training, which helps motivate them to spend more time with the ball. After all, they say it’s not the destination, but the journey!
We’re excited to present Magnus as our latest Featured Player! He raised his iSoccer Skill Level from White (1) to Green (5) in just 6 months, and is a great example for young players everywhere. Check out how Magnus and his family play iSoccer together!
Name: Magnus – Age: 10 – Lives: Maryland
iSoccer Level: Green, 5.0
- “Without question, he’s learning lessons that he will take with him for the rest of his life: setting achievable goals, working hard, and having fun doing it. Magnus may not realize it right now, but iSoccer is creating a foundation within him for future success on and off the field.” – Dad
- “I feel more comfortable when the ball comes to me in the air, when before I was hesitant.” – Magnus
- “We practice with him and compete against him on many of the skills – it’s great exercise for us and a nice way to relax after a day at work.” – Dad
- “I haven’t done this in 20 years, so it’s fun to relearn it with my son.” – Mom
A big thanks to Magnus and his family for sending in the video footage and helping inspire players all over North America!
Magnus shows that no matter what your scores are when you start iSoccer, if you spend time working on the iSoccer Skills, you will get more comfortable with the ball. And to all the parents out there – challenge your kids on a couple iSoccer Skills! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never played soccer before – have fun with it!
The iSoccer Team
- Weekly Points Goal: Players, how many points can you earn this week? You get points for entering scores, raising your Skill Levels, and even just logging into your account. Can you earn 1,000 points this week? 5,000?
- Award Points to Players: Coaches, did you know that you can give or take away points from players in your account? Use this feature to reward players for doing well, or take away points to keep them honest. Give your players points this week, and get them excited to play iSoccer away from practice.
The iSoccer Team
- 5m One Touch Partner Passing: In 20 seconds, see how many one touch passes you and a partner can complete from 5 meters apart with any foot. If you have to take a second touch, or if the ball doesn’t go 5 meters, don’t count that pass and keep going. Can you get to 5, 10, 20, or 25?
- 2.5m One Touch Partner Passing: Move it in, and see how many passes you can do from 2.5 meters apart. It’s all about quick feet on this one!
The iSoccer Team
Dennis Bergkamp, said that when he was a young player at Ajax, they had little three foot high walls. He would knock the ball against it for hours. He would do it over and over, trying to establish a rhythm.
“I would also hit the ball against the side of the house… Hitting the ball with both feet, seeing how long I could return the wall passes without losing control. I found out later that so many pros spend lots of their childhood doing that.”
- from More Than Goals, by Claudio Reyna
Good luck and have fun this season.
The iSoccer Team
Setting a monthly iSoccer goal is an easy way to get motivated and challenge yourself or your players to spend more time with the ball. Be sure to sweeten the deal with a fun reward (doesn’t have to be a material reward!) for reaching a goal.
1. Coaches: Team Goals
Setting a team goal is a great way to get everyone working together as a group. It can be as simple as raising your Overall Team Level, which means every player has to improve their scores, no matter what those scores are. Reward them with a free-play practice, or something else fun!
2. Players: Personal Goals
Whether you want to raise your Overall Skill Level, or focus on a specific skill that you have been struggling with, set a personal goal for the next month. Beating your high score and achieving your goal is a great feeling and you’ll know that you’re becoming a better player.
3. Parents: Family Goals
Help your player set a quick goal, and offer encouragement and recognition when they hit their goal. You can even score yourself (doesn’t matter what score you get!) and challenge your child to see who can raise their score the most. Have fun with it!
So check out your iSoccer scores, and set a quick goal for yourself or your players this month.
The iSoccer Team
Player Points: Now players earn points for everything they do in their account! From entering scores and activities, to just logging in, Player Points let you know how much you are using iSoccer to get better.
Velocity: Everything you’ve done in the last 30 days determines your Velocity. Velocity shows you how fast you’re improving, and it’s also a multiplier for your Player Points. The higher your Velocity, the more Player Points you earn!
Play with Your Team: Players and coaches can check out everyone’s Player Card on the team, and challenge each other to get better faster. Coaches can even award points to players for doing well, and take away points to keep players honest. Have fun with it!
So take a look at your account (you probably already have points!), and feel free to let us know what you think about Player Points and Velocity!
The iSoccer Team
- It's always a good time to count: Even if you aren't going to record the scores, players, coaches, and teammates can use counting in between assessments to keep the 'game' going throughout the season.
- Set quick, casual challenges: Who can get the most juggles with their non-preferred foot in 20 seconds? Go!
- Go beyond the Skill Assessment: By using 20 seconds and casual counting, you can turn almost anything into a game. You can even use one of the iSoccer Skill Videos, like Continuous L Pulls, to create a challenge. Get creative with it!
So whether it's in training, or the backyard, use casual counting to help you and your team have more fun improving your skills this season!
The iSoccer Team