2018_19 Center of Excellence Overview

CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FUNDAMENTALS

The Center of Excellence is a soccer program designed for players who are high achievers, who enjoy challenge and competition, who love the game and put a high priority on soccer. 

On the field, these are players with some “field smarts”, who are playing when they don’t have the ball.  They are thinking about how to get open for a pass.  They anticipate the movement of teammates and the ball, not just react to them.  When they have the ball, their play demonstrates composure much more often than panic.

These are not necessarily the players who appear to dominate on the field at the younger ages.  That recognition tends to go to the biggest and/or fastest players, who are often biggest and fastest simply because they are the oldest in the age group. 

The traits listed above are valuable to current effectiveness on the field.  They are less reliable predictors, however, of future success than the personal qualities athletes demonstrate not just as players, but in most of the things they do.

Typically, these boys and girls will show determination – to get better, to learn all they can, to try things that are new and different.  They will be persistent and be the kind of persons who will work on their game not just in training and competitions but on their own, “when no one else is watching.”  They will have a competitive spirit, and perhaps a splash or two of guile.  This combination of qualities (which together we call “wantitude”) is the primary consideration in evaluating candidates for places in the COE. 

Start with the End in Mind

“Players who do not get a thorough grounding in soccer’s essential skills at the younger ages – by age 13 or 14 – are being cheated out of their futures in The Game.

The Coerver Colorado curriculum is designed to develop players who possess:

            > A Dynamic First Touch – the skill and vision to place the ball with the first touch with either foot to a spot where it can be played again quickly and productively.  This is trained in every session and is a focus of the preparation that players are asked to do between sessions.

            > Accuracy and Power when striking a ball, and the ability to use several surfaces of both feet in controlling the ball.

            > Superior 1v1 Skills – the ability and confidence to take on and beat an opponent in a one-on-one situation, the poise to keep possession of the ball when under strong defensive pressure, and the skill when individually defending to shut down the artful attacker. Using some sort of one-on-one activity in every session produces players of remarkable skill and confidence when facing the individual duels that so often determine the outcome of a match.

> Mastery of the Small Group Situations (2v1, 3v1, 3v2, etc.) that are the building blocks of team play.

            > Mastery of the Great Soccer Habits, the little things great players do that make a big difference on the field and form the basis for a player’s Sense of the Game (a.k.a. “game smarts”.) 

            > An Appreciation of the Competitive Process learning to make the maximum effort at practice as well as in games, both to make yourself better and to challenge your teammates to be at their best

By the age of 14, these players will be exceptionally skilled.  They will be poised, confident, creative and bold with the ball and will make excellent use of the fundamental elements of team play.  They will “see the game” and regularly anticipate the coming movements of players and the ball.  They will demonstrate the ability to make good decisions about the mix of individualism (“I can beat you myself”) and team play (“or with the help of my teammates”).  And they will demonstrate the Qualities of Great Athletes on the field and in all other aspects of their lives.

Coerver Colorado’s Curriculum, How It Works

Learning involves four levels of competence.  The top, Perfection, is of course unattainable.  But if you chase perfection doggedly enough you’ll catch a healthy dose of excellence in the process.

The focus of most of our training is on developing Proficiency (“I can do this”) then Mastery (“I can use this”). Automaticity (“It just happens!”) is the level of mastery where skills get used before there’s a conscious decision to use them. It develops in our program through the aggregation of trivial improvements that occur with practice.

The team that wins the majority of the 1v1 duels in a game wins the majority of those games.  Being Coerver, competence and confidence in those encounters is something we work on (via foot skills, ball moves and 1v1 activities) in every session.  And it is with 1v1 play that we first focus on encouraging players to be “spontaneous and daring” and to develop a “Go-for-It” mentality.  Developing strong 1v1 skills is wonderfully empowering, giving the player control over game situations that another who can only pass the ball will never enjoy.

Our multi-level Juggling Progression “makes every touch better.”  The first five levels are: 1. Any Touch.  2.  Feet Only.  3.  Weak Foot Only.  4. Progressive (a pattern alternating between right and left foot use.)   5. Body Parts.  We have found that nothing makes a player better faster at a younger age than completing the Weak Foot Only level.  (Those at that level normally improve at least twice as much as those who are not yet there in test/retest situations of weak foot service for power and distance.)

Learning to juggle is difficult. It takes a lot of practice, a minimum of 15-20 minutes 3-4 times every week.  And tens thousands of touches at each level.  There are loads of failure and frustration, but at least as much opportunity to grow resilience, perseverance, persistence – Life Skills that will be far more valuable and enduring off the soccer field than on.

We also want players to develop an Ability to Use the Weaker Foot that approaches the ability when using the dominant.  We teach striking the ball (passing and shooting) exclusively to the weaker foot.  That learning transfers to the stronger foot; it rarely does in the opposite direction when teaching is to the dominant foot.  We also look for other opportunities where players can be required to use that weaker foot. The result is that over time players reach over 90% proficiency with the weaker foot as compared to the dominant in tests of serving balls for power and distance. (The median in some COE classes reaches 95%, and has resulted in college recruiters zeroing in on “great left-footed players” from the COE who were not, in fact, left-footed!)

There comes a point when the dual emphases on juggling and eliminating the “weak foot” combine to produce automaticity in controlling the ball. Suddenly – and it’s first seen in the small group activities – such players appear to be playing much faster, but it’s really because ball control now requires so little time or focus that a player is are able to “think ahead.”  Practice has given access to new processing capacity (we call it bandwidth) because complex ball control actions have come to require a smaller percentage of the athlete’s available capacity.  Now there’s time not only to “look” – where teammates and opponents are, what they’re doing, what they might be expected to do – but to work that information into the decision about what to do now. Play is very different.  It’s much faster, much smarter, much more creative.

It’s at this point you see how the pieces are coming together for those “exceptionally skilled” players described earlier.  Most young players won’t ever get there.  We’re seeing it now among 11 and 12-year-olds who train with us regularly.

Nomination to the Center of Excellence

There is one path to admission of the 2018/19 Center of Excellence. A coach’s recommendation received from participation in a 2018 Summer Camp. In those settings, senior members of the coaching staff will have evaluated the players by the standards listed in the previous section. The invited players have also separated themselves with top performances in our benchmark skills test we call tXgames.

The first wave of invitation letters will be sent out August 15 -18tht to selected players. Invitations go out in waves, so as not to have more invitations outstanding than we have places open in each age group. Each wave has a specific location and “RSVP Date” by which to enroll.  An invited player’s place is guaranteed at the designated location until that date.  An invited player may still enroll after that date, but acceptance will be dependent on space available as of the RSVP Date of the then current wave of invitations.

We expect this process to be completed and spots fully enrolled by the week of September 13th.

As with all Coerver Colorado programs, we want to place players where they will learn the most. Please sign up for your designated location stated in your invitation. The COE provides separate training for boys and girls, with programs designed to capitalize on their different learning styles and social skills.  There tends to be a great deal of difference, for instance, in the ways boys and girls approach play that shows “spontaneity and daring.”

Each “team” will have 12-14 players.  Sessions are designed for groups that size and do not work as well with groups of fewer than 12.  Players in the program (and their parents) must realize the dual obligation that comes with being part of such an endeavor.  This was best summed up by 1991 World Champion Tracey Bates Leone: You owe it to yourself and to your teammates to do everything you can and give everything you have toward your goal of Being the Best.  Neither obligation can be fulfilled by players who are absent; in this program you can quickly fall enough behind to become a hindrance to the progress of your COE teammates.  We know that even at the younger ages there are many things that call upon these players’ time.

In fairness to others, we ask that players who cannot commit to attend a minimum of 80% of the 16 instructional sessions leave those roster spots spot open for other athletes who can.  

2018 – 2019 Age Groups

Our entry “Level Seven” program will be for the Class of 2011 & 2010

“Level Six” curriculum for the Class of 2009

“Level Five” curriculum for the Class of 2008

“Level Four” curriculum for the Class of 2007

“Level Three” curriculum for the Class of 2006

“Level Two” curriculum will be for the Class of 2005 & 2004

“Level One” curriculum will be for the Class of 2003

Locations

Center of Excellence will take place at three venues.

  • The Sports Dome, 6959 S. Peoria, Centennial, CO
    1. Friday afternoons (Time Slot #1 – 4:30-6:00. Time Slot #2 – 6:10-7:40)
      1. Class’ 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007
  • The Foothills Indoor Sports Arena, 3608 S. Kipling Parkway.
    1. Sunday afternoons (Time Slot #1 2:15 – 3:45) (Time Slot #2 – 4:00pm – 5:30 pm).
      1. Class’ COE JR’s, 2010, 2009, 2006
  • Infinity Park in Glendale 4599 East Tennessee Avenue Glendale, Colo. 80246
    1. Friday Evenings – 5:15 to 7:15
    2. 12 2-hour sessions on Friday evenings, with extra dates reserved for weather-related cancellations.) The U13, U14 and U15 ages need a larger space both for their larger bodies and to be able to train in the 4v4 to 6v6 environments that are the next levels in developing the “building blocks of team play.
  • Stutler Bowl9300 E Union Ave, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
    1. The opening session for all Friday Sports Dome and Sunday Foothills programs, will be at the Stutler Bowl, Cherry Creek High School, on Sunday afternoon October 28th, times are listed on Coervercolorado.com.
    2. Please tell your coaches now of the times that your age group will be participating in hopes no other events are scheduled at that time.
The Staff

The core of the staff consists of Nationally Licensed Coaches as well as Coerver MASTER Coaches. These master coaches have been with Coerver for over 7 years and have a true understanding of the culture, techniques specific to Coerver and the best ways to push players to the edge of their comfort zones establishing mistake- based soccer. While some coach teams at the Club level, our program is strictly “club neutral”.  It will not be a venue for scouting or player recruitment, either by coaches or parents.  Its focus will be fully on developing the talents of already talented players.  As the program has grown, we have brought in some of the best coaches from many clubs, as they had the desire to take our “Skillful Players First” approach back to their home programs. We also use assistants (summer staff members training to be master coaches) and “Big Brother / Big Sister” role models, high school players who have grown up with Coerver® and are on the path to joining our Summer Camps staff.

ESP’s (Exceptional Soccer Parents)

Navigating the youth sports landscape is not easy for families.  An important element of our COE involves information and education about how to make the youth sports experience the best it can be for both parents and players.  We draw heavily upon the ideas of the Positive Coaching Alliance and the thoughts of some of the great coach/educators in sports.   Among the topics to be covered are the importance of rest and recovery, the false promise of early specialization in a sport, “ownership” in youth sports, and how to deal with over-training and other common but potentially harmful practices.  (Walking the talk: the U12 and older COE teams will be at Infinity Park on Friday evenings in order to leave the weekend days for basketball, skiing and other sports and activities that will help these players develop personally and athletically.

Registration Details

The cost for a year’s COE program is $ 545.00.  That includes the training sessions, an Adidas Coerver® Center of Excellence uniform (New Design) (shirt, shorts, socks) 

PLEASE FILL OUT CORRECT SIZES ON YOUR COERVERCOLORADO.COM registration to allow for efficient jersey distribution. A $325.00 deposit at the time of registration will hold a place in the program, with the $220.00 balance due December 1st

Cancelation Policy

A $325 cancellation fee will be processed with any cancellation made before the first day of camp. Any cancellations made after the program begins will not be refunded except in the case of an injury incurred at the camp.

 COE 2019 SUMMER DISCOUNT 

For being a part of the Center of Excellence a substantial extension (through March 31, 2019) of the deadline for our 15% “Earliest and Best” 2019 Summer Camp Enrollment Discount

COUPON CODE = COE2019

Questions and Comments. Coerver Colorado’s Center of Excellence is a demanding program and your suggestions are welcome as we want always improve.  As it’s said, “Let’s Get Better”.  Please let us know what you think by calling 720-255-4911 or an email to coervercolorado@gmail.com