Monday, March 30, 2009

US Soccer 2009 Directives...Broken Down

Hopefully by now all of you have visited the US Soccer webpage and read up on the 2009 Directives (if you haven't, then please do so).

One of the elements of this edict from above is "Keys to Identifying Handling the Ball" and deals with a subject that is probably debated at least once every single game. This, again, is one of the topics that is directly applicable to our games, not a high-level theory that we have to adapt for use. Consistency, or the lack thereof, is a common complaint amongst coaches which is why it is so imperative to read, understand and implement these concepts. When we as a group apply this interpretation of the Laws of the Game uniformly it will makes things easier by educating and conditioning players, coaches and fans to what is handling

I won't post the entirety of the memorandum here so make sure and read it now...

Personally I find it best to break down offenses into a set of criteria; that's what helps me remember the information when in "the moment of truth." Let's look at the handling offense as five elements:

  1. Making yourself bigger.
  2. Is the arm or hand in an unnatural position?
  3. Did the player "benefit?"
  4. Reaction time.
  5. Hand/arm to ball.

We often recognize the hand/arm to ball and unnatural position, but how many times have you thought about an offense when the player makes themselves bigger? This often is a more subtle gesture and can slip past us but we need to try and catch it. Remember that we have to take into consideration the player skill level when making this call. The higher the skill level, the less of a benefit of the doubt you'll give to players.

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