Play the 1v1 Way: Soccer Tips from an Emerging Talent Centre
New Book Outlines Steps for Soccer Success
Play the 1 v 1 Way: Soccer Tips From and Emerging Talent Centre is aimed at parents, coaches and players, and details both McClurg’s philosophy on development, as well as practical tips for building young male and female players looking to take their game to the next level.
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“When a player gets serious about the game, and wants to improve, they are often looking to go on to play professionally or at university or college,” says McClurg, who founded 1 v 1 in 2000. “What we’ve found, in talking with top clubs across Europe and North America, is that the one thing their coaches are looking for above all is technical ability. Does a player have the skill on the ball to be able to make decisions quickly and accurately? That is what we try to teach in our system, and what I’ve outlined in the book.”
Unfortunately, says McClurg, the traditional club system often places too much emphasis on results, pressuring teams and players to win games and progress through promotions rather than looking to improve the skill of individual players.
“That’s where the academy system comes in,” he says. “We’re not under pressure to win game and trophies, so we are able to take the time to give players the skills they need to move forward. We have a number of partner clubs in Europe who are continually telling us that those are the skills they are looking for in youngsters.”
As proof of the success of his approach, McClurg, a former Ontario provincial coach and holder of the UEFA A licence (the highest available worldwide) cites two 14-year olds who visited English professional club Wolves FC last March and are returning for three weeks of additional training this spring as evidence of just two players who have flourished in this system. As well, several players in the academy are under consideration for spots at US universities and planning visits to professional clubs overseas.
In addition to the technical aspects of the game, Play the 1 v 1 Way stresses the importance of what McClurg refers to as the “development triangle” – a model that places equal emphasis on coaching, family support and the individual player.
“All three sides of the triangle need to be equally strong,” he says. “And each side needs to respect the influence of the other. For example, parents need to support their kids and help them make the best decisions. Coaches must supply the technical expertise. And the players have to be committed.”