From Adam Schwager
SoccerWire Staff Writer
This week SoccerWire continues our efforts to highlight the best youth soccer books available to players, coaches and parents Dan Blank |The two-part series, Soccer iQ: Things Smart Players Do, is a collection of short, high-quality coaching advice.
The Soccer iQ series is one of the most popular resources for those looking to delve into the mental aspects of the game that become increasingly important during your soccer journey.
Blank has a lot of experience having coached college soccer for schools like the University of Georgia and Ole Miss since 1991. In 2010, Blank founded SoccerPoet.com, where he runs his blog and promotes the nine books he has published on the internet over the past decade. Blank published Soccer iQ, his first published work, in 2012 while working at Ole Miss.
Many in the football community accepted the book with a six-time Big 12 Coach of the Year testimonial Colin Carmichael It says, “Dan Blank has just written the first definitive textbook on football.”
For all the wealth of information contained in the two volumes, the book feels less like a vague unit projecting knowledge onto you than more like a soccer coach guiding you through key concepts on how to play the game more effectively can. The tips are all easy to digest, with most chapters covering exactly two pages. Almost all of these tips are incredibly easy to understand. Combining all of the 100+ tips in the two volumes can greatly improve your opinion on the game.
One of my favorite examples of his brief but extremely effective tips is in Volume 1, Chapter 24, on Throws. Blank says one of the most important things you can do is get the ball behind your head from the moment you receive it. If you want to see the open target before you get the ball behind your head, your opponent is sure to rave about your target before you have a chance to complete the throw.
He also recommends that you throw the ball on the line outside of your teammate when you throw it to prevent the ball from going immediately to the other team and that the ball doesn’t ricochet before it reaches your teammate as balls are easier to fall control than balls rising from the ricochet.
In this one and a half page chapter, which takes about a minute to read, Blank has not only given the reader three simple and effective tips for improving their interjections, but has also thoroughly explained why these tips will help you optimize your game.
At the end of each chapter, Blank leaves a short “Note for Trainers” on how you can best practice the optimized methods described in this chapter. Another helpful resource that Blank provides are 10 video companions for the chapters of his YouTube channel, which are covered in more detail in specific chapters and contain visual references.
I would recommend this book to anyone in the youth soccer scene, but especially youth coaches for themselves and their clubs, especially if you are in an area of the country that has made it very difficult to train personally. Many youth football coaches are engaged in multiple teams and may be responsible for more than 100 players in a given season. While you might want to take the time to work with each player individually, sometimes you can’t. Instead, you can give players chapters to read for homework based on what the coach wants to highlight, or a coach can assign them as a preseason reading and reference them throughout the season.
I would also recommend this book to parents looking for a nice gift to get their soccer-obsessed middle school student to massively improve their game. For a modest price of $ 9.99 per volume ($ 19.98 total), the books are available in paperback or on Amazon Kindle. And if your child isn’t a big reader, the two book collection is also available as an audiobook, so you can even listen to it on the drive to the next game.
In addition to Soccer iQ, Dan Blank also wrote:
- Everything your coach never told you because you are a girl
- Possession – Teach your team to hold onto the damn ball
- Shutout Pizza – Smarter football defense for players and coaches
- Rookie – Survive your freshman year of college football
- Happy Feet – How to Be a Gold Star Soccer Parent (Everything the Coach, Referee, and Your Child Want You to Be)
- High Pressure – How to Win Soccer Games by Choking Your Opponent
- In My Tribe – creating a kickass culture for women athletes