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The Elite Player Evolution Program (EPX2)
is a club-neutral program designed to maximize a player's potential and
accelerate their learning curve. EPX2 is based on Kaizen (CANI),
Japanese for "improvement", which is a philosophy that focuses upon
continuous improvement. Originally designed for manufacturing,
engineering, and business management; we have adopted the philosophy and
designed it to suit the needs of elite soccer players. This program is
not for everyone, it's designed for players committed to improving.
provides a vision for the future development of elite youth soccer
player in the USA. It proposes the first year-round and club-neutral
player development program that delivers instant feedback and an
evaluation on the player. EPX2 gives a comprehensive view of where a
player needs to focus his or hers attention to and identifies areas
where they need to improve.
Epx2 will break down into 5 training cycles and will focus on the following stages of development:
The first 8-week training cycle will begin with baseline testing in
several tangible areas of players' physical conditioning, speed,
endurance and recovery. This process includes measuring the skill of the
player and recording that in our skill index and graphing it out for
the player to see. We also assess players tactical thinking process
through very demanding speed of play and transition activities.
The second 8-week cycle will be designed around position-specific
training. This will be done at Total Turf in their indoor facility
during the early months of winter. This will give players' ample time to
concentrate on themselves as an individual and focus on the position
that they play.
Whether they are a goalkeeper, defender,
midfielder or striker we will put them in a group with players of the
same mentality. This is done in order to give players an understanding
of the specific nuances that are crucial in the make up of that player
playing within that position.
* The third 8-week training cycle
will focus on the pre-season preparation. For this cycle, we work with
our sports development performance partner, Virtua. Together, we design
and implement a pre-season training program for players. This too will
be designed around players specific position giving them the best
opportunity for optimum performance during the upcoming season.
The fourth 8-week training cycle will consist of small group tactical
training. Using the knowledge and skill set recently acquired in the
position-specific cycle we will look to progress them to work within a
group of players. This is done a group setting so that players can
utilize the technical aspects of their position to learn and implement
the tactics of that position.
* The fifth 8-week training cycle
will feature end-of-year testing from the physical, psychological,
technical and tactical aspects. The video analysis and real-time
evaluation that the player has received on a weekly basis will be used
to graph and lay out an annual report for the player. In addition to our
evaluations, players will complete a self-analysis. Players are then
given the ability to analyze where they are and compare and contrast it
to what the coaching staff wrote down.
is common misconception that in order for you to optimally perform
during competition you must train hard all of the time. Wrong! You have
to train smart!
Players who are serious about planning their
training must also be serious about planning their active recovery
sessions. This is even more important to the high school athletes who
are training every day and playing matches. Lying in bed and relaxing at
home is not giving their body the ample rest that it is craving in
order to fully recover.
Incorporating this type of active
recovery training allows us to decrease the risk of injury and improve
performances. Active Recovery training is often complimented by mental
relaxation exercises. These training regiments instill confidence in the
fact that you are giving your self the best opportunity to be your best
throughout the season.
Training hard is not always training smart!
Here are some of the areas where we will be concentrating on our active recovery sessions.
Short to long-duration stretching. This will assist in reducing soft tissue and joint injuries.
self-massage exercises are demonstrated using a foam roller. These are
great for breaking down those tired muscle groups where the lactic acid
builds up leading to stiffness, soreness and cramps.
Light cardio, stationary bike, elliptical, rowing machine, swimming etc.
We have 3 swimming pools, heated to various degrees, at our disposal at
Virtua. We will be able to accelerate our recovery by using these pools
for various exercises. Hot and cold contrasting baths will be used for
players who just competed in a match. This helps tired muscles flush
lactic acid away allowing players to feel "normal" faster.
and visualization exercises round off the recovery program. This
program will also work muscle groups by tensing and relaxing the muscles
that we most-often use. Breathing exercises are also taught to
simultaneously increase oxygen supply to the brain and blood stream.
These steps also help the mind focus on techniques that allow you to
concentrate and block everything else out of your mind during key
moments in games.
This is just
for our 9-11 year olds as they cannot attend the pre-season at Virtua
due to age. So we have developed a spectacular Skills and Quick Feet
agility program around the Futsal program.
Young players from
around the world realize the benefit of participating in Futsal, and
these young players all around the world grow up with this game played
in the street. Futsal is organized street soccer and has tremendous
benefits for these young players. Its pace, size of the playing field,
number of players, modified rules all demand a much higher level of
concentration by the mind and quicker execution by the feet. In the
following I'll break it down why Futsal is a key ingredient in a
player's soccer development.
Touches on the ball - giving
only 4+GK on the field enables the players to touch the ball much more
often than in a regular 11v11 or the recreational 7v7 game. Players will
find the ball at their feet more often than ever before and will have
just a split second to deal with it. ...and it's going on non-stop.
Foot skills -
instead of touching the ball less than ten times in a 30 minutes
outdoor half, during a Futsal game, players will be able to touch the
ball close to a hundred times in each half. Their foot skills will
develop rapidly: it is a constant passing game spiced up with some
individual flair of dribbling skills.
Additional GK training
- it will allow the goal keeper to be an active part of the team both
in attacking and defending without any break. He/she won't have the
chance to "zone out" and take a mental break.
- the ball and the players are moving fast. The minimal time to process
the information presented by the actual situation demands quick
execution. Also, at every restart the ball has to be released in less
than 4 seconds.
Reading and anticipating the flow of the game -
quicker thinking and responding will enhance the player's ability to
read the flow of the game better and ahead of time. Playing proactively
rather than just reacting to the game will bring success on the Futsal
court, and will transfer over to the soccer field.
teams attack and defend together. In soccer (in the 11v11 game also!)
once we lose the ball we are all defenders, when we win the ball back
now we are all attackers. Given the small number of players and the
tight space provided, in Futsal this is more emphasized. Winning and
losing possession of the ball will happen quickly; hence changing gears
from defense to attack and attack to defense require super fast
execution in the mind and in the feet.
Small-sided environment & Tactical awareness -
the players will be exposed to numerous 1v1, 1v2, 2v1, 2v2 situations.
These are key elements of the 11v11 game also. If a team and its players
are not good in 1v1 and 2v2 situations, and if they can not perform
efficiently and successfully in those small fragments of the game, then
they won't be able to perform successfully on the big field when they
play the 11v11 game.