As we kick off the new year, we wanted to take a minute to catch up with Scott, and see what’s been going on at the iSoccer office in San Francisco.
Scott, it’s the start of the 2012 fall season. What’s new with iSoccer?
Well, the big news is that we just hit 1,000,000 scores logged! We are thrilled that we hit the goal laid out when we launched the National Standards Project two years ago.
It’s been awesome to see more and more players, coaches, and parents running with iSoccer, and committing to raising the level of soccer in the US. Obviously, this is a long term project, but we are excited to see momentum building, and glad to be a part of the solution.
So you reached the goal of 1M scores logged – what’s next?
We used the scores to establish iSoccer Standards based on age, gender, and location – now we are moving into the next phase of the Project, which revolves around using these Standards to create a skill game.
We all know how powerful games can be, so we are turning ‘practice’ into a game, where players can compete against themselves, their teammates, and the community. The goal is to get more and more kids excited to spend time with the ball.
How exactly does iSoccer make training into a game?
Players can earn skill levels, badges, and accolades for completing activities and interacting with the online and mobile platform. The difference between iSoccer and other online games, though, is that our goal is to actually get players outside, instead of staring at a screen for hours!
It’s all about using technology and tapping into the psychology of game dynamics to make practice more fun. No matter how skilled a player is, there is another level that they can work towards achieving.
Any advice for coaches or parents who are using iSoccer for the first time this season?
Keep it fun! Sure, the iSoccer Assessment is great for tracking development, but the primary goal of iSoccer is motivating players. If you set up fun challenges and reward improvement, you can engage all type of players.
Also, as a parent or coach, if you are excited, players will feed off that. Ultimately, you can use iSoccer to create healthy competition around skill development, taking some of the emphasis off winning and losing.
Looking back, what have you learned in the last two years?
Wow, tough question – we’ve learned so much in the last couple years! We’ve gotten a ton of feedback from people around the country and the world, which has really helped us constantly improve the platform. One of the main things we have learned though, is that coaches and parents are very busy – obviously!
So we are focusing on simplifying things, and improving the user experience so that iSoccer.org and iSoccer Mobile become easier to use, and more engaging for players at the same time.
I love hearing from our community, by the way, so anyone should feel free to shoot me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback, thoughts, ideas, cool stories, or just to say hi!
Any new features people can look forward to?
Haha, well without tipping our hand too much, we do have some exciting stuff coming out in the coming months. We are about to launch our newest features – Player Points and Velocity. Basically, players will earn points for everything they do, and will be able to see how fast they are working towards improving. Coaches will see all of this, and players can compete with their teammates.
Also, keep an eye out for the Goalie Assessment we are creating with Tony DiCicco, and more advanced, partner iSoccer Assessments coming soon.
- 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
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
- Recognize improvement: Using one or all of the iSoccer Skills, recognize players for improving their scores, no matter how skilled they are. That way, everyone has a chance to receive praise for personal achievement.
- No achievement is too small: Often, less skilled players don’t have the opportunity to stand out in games. iSoccer gives them a chance to achieve something tangible, like going from an Orange to Purple Skill Level. Treat this just like going from a Red to a Black Skill Level!
- Keep it fun: By setting objective goals and giving players fun rewards for raising their skill levels, you can take some of the emphasis off winning and losing, and get players excited about skill development!
Print iSoccer Skill Certificates with iSoccer Plus
*When we say ‘reward’, we mean anything from a pat on the back, to public praise, to making a player captain for the next game. It’s up to you, and doesn’t have to be a material reward!
Of course, there is nothing wrong with rewarding a player or team for playing great. However, rewarding improvement and hard work can sometimes be even more motivating!
The iSoccer Team
Quick Tip: ‘iSoccer Gone Bad’ Summer Workout
What happens when you take the iSoccer Assessment, and you do the skills back-to-back-to-back as a workout? You get iSoccer Gone Bad! This 11 minute workout can be done by players of any age or level, and just like in games, the player’s ability to perform technical skills will be tested as they get more and more tired. Push yourself this summer, and get a great workout while practicing your iSoccer Skills!
Watch the ‘iSoccer Gone Bad’ Video Guide:
The iSoccer Team
Quick Tip: Never Say Never
As summer marches on, the Euros have given us plenty of entertainment and drama over the last couple weeks. One of the biggest surprises so far was Greece getting out of the group stage by beating Russia on Saturday.
Just like the Greek team seemed to have an insurmountable task in front of them to beat Russia, as players and teams we sometimes find it difficult to continue improving. But when you feel like giving up, it can be the best time to set a big goal for yourself! After all, you don’t have anything to lose, and reaching a hard goal is fun and rewarding because you know you earned it!
Set a monthly goal to raise one or two iSoccer Skill Levels this summer to get ready for the fall season. Even if the goal seems unattainable, if you work hard, and stay focused, you never know what you can achieve!
Check out the replay of the game if you missed it, and take a look at your account to set a goal this summer!
San Francisco, CA and Richfield, OH February 25, 2010 – Ohio Youth Soccer Association North (OYSAN) and iSoccer LLC are excited to announce a partnership to help raise the technical level of youth soccer players throughout Ohio.
Starting in March, OYSAN will begin using iSoccer’s award winning technical assessment and online video training platform to improve and track the technical development of players in the state’s Olympic Development Program. Starting with members of the boys and girls ’97 and ’98 age groups, players will complete the assessment at home, or with their clubs, and report their results online.
OYSAN coaches will use the assessment results to build targeted technical sessions to supplement team training. This additional resource will provide players and parents guided video training instruction, carefully designed by State Director of Coaching Tom Turner, which can be downloaded to an iPod and performed at home.
According to Turner, “A soccer schedule consisting of limited practice time and multiple games does not provide enough ball contacts to develop elite or even above average players. Players who aspire to higher levels need to train on their own and iSoccer provides our ODP players with a great individual program that is accessible wherever and whenever the kids can find time to kick a ball.”
iSoccer will be included free of charge for the roughly 1000 ODP participants. Assessment results will be used as benchmarks for setting goals and encouraging individual technical improvement, not for player selection. Players and their parents will receive emails notifying them of how to download their training sessions.
“iSoccer found a way to turn our players’ iPods into a personalized extension of our coaching staff, so it’s a great tool for improving the scope of our program,” added Turner.
Players will also be able to create their own customized training sessions from over 500 training exercises, build a four week individual training program, set improvement goals, and view their own assessment analysis online. iSoccer is an innovative, hi-tech supplement to coaching that OYSAN will utilize to help motivated players maximize their potential.
“We are thrilled to be working with OYSAN. Tom Turner and the rest of the OYSAN staff are leaders in youth soccer and we look forward to working with them to raise the level of soccer in Ohio North” said iSoccer Founder and CEO Scott Leber.
Rob Becerra, Associate Head Coach of Stanford University and the Director of Coaching for Palo Alto Soccer Club, talks about some of the benefits of using iSoccer with his players, teams, and club. To hear more from other coaches, players, and parents about the value of iSoccer visit our YouTube channel and click on the Testimonials playlist.