Lloyd Biggs on What Makes One. Soccer Schools’ Player Development Successful
America is flooded with youth soccer camps — how can a soccer parent decide which youth soccer camp is the right one? To help explain the differences, we are interviewing the founders and directors of the top options.
one. Soccer Schools was founded by Jeff Johnson and Lloyd Biggs and their goal was to make a difference in the competitive landscape of youth soccer. Their youth soccer camps are held across the country — but the pinnacle of their program is the residential camps for players who want to take their game to the next level.
While it is hard for any anyone to significantly improve their skills by attending a single camp, if a youth soccer player wants to gain an edge and try to move to a more competitive club or team, or has big dreams for playing the game, one.Soccer School is one of the best options in the USA. Many of their players each year are from U.S. Soccer Development Academies (DA).
Diane Scavuzzo interviewed co-director of one. Soccer Schools, Lloyd Biggs, to find out why this program is able to help players develop and what makes the camps so successful.
Diane Scavuzzo: Give our readers an insight into one. Soccer schools — when did you start your program?
Lloyd Biggs: We started one.Soccer Scools the summer of 1999 — this will be our 18th consecutive year!
Back then our mission was simple, to provide a camp that supported our core values. It is very easy to write down intentions on a piece of paper — we wanted to make sure that our mission and core values truly came to life on the field through actions, not words.
While it would be naïve to say that talent is unimportant in soccer, without grit, work ethic and sheer determination to succeed, talent is a wasted gift!
We wanted to sow the seeds for these important character traits and core values within the young players’ mind through the training implemented on the field. We also wanted to make certain that we were using our training methods to nurture character traits integral to helping the young person become a great person off the field!
Diane Scavuzzo: I think of your camp almost like a Boot Camp for serious players. Would you agree?
Lloyd Biggs: In regards to teaching the importance of work ethic and developing an intrinsic drive to never give up, most definitely.
I think the kids that come enjoy the hard work and standards we set for them. They most definitely leave feeling proud in what they have accomplished.
Diane Scavuzzo: I enjoyed visiting your residential camp a few years ago and was very impressed. The coaches were around the players throughout the day – not just in sessions. Are your coaches still eating with the players and walking around talking to them before and after sessions?
Lloyd Biggs: Yes, the coaches care a lot about the players who attend and like to get to know the players. The coaches are there to discuss soccer and answer questions, as well as train the players in the sessions. We create a real immersive and meaningful soccer environment.
We have 12 member coaching staff, creating a 10-1 player-coach ratio at the camp, as well as 2 qualified athletic trainers, all of which stay on campus 24/7.
In addition, we bring in qualified yoga instructors to deliver yoga sessions for the older players. Teaching older players the importance of recovery and self-care is paramount.
Diane Scavuzzo: Tell us more about your curriculum for this summer session — what makes it special?
Lloyd Biggs: Firstly let me say that over the last eighteen years it has changed considerably. We are always looking to evolve and improve every year. Lets us also remember that camps and camp environments are considerably different than the team or club environment.
As a camp, you have a very small window in which to impact a player in a positive way. Our entire philosophy is based on the individual player, of course, we always come back to the importance of how the individual fits within the team, but we are solely focused on the individuals’ development.
We want players that attend our programs to leave with improved ability and confidence in the following:
• Technical Superiority
• Decision Making
• Offensive and Defensive Mentality
• Training Intensity
• Competitive Mentality
Our curriculum plays a huge part in helping us reach our goals. We are not recreating the wheel, but we are clear in the attacking and defending principles we want to teach the players.
For a player lacking the technical toolbox, when in possession it is impossible to solve the numerous problems that arise within the game. We pride ourselves on the technical work we do throughout the week.
We believe that players learn through first class demonstrations and determined repetition.
We specifically select our dribbling and technical staff with exactly that in mind, to provide the players with first class demonstrations and clear breakdowns of the techniques they must master.
Tactically we want to use the game as the teacher.
We create a challenge — opponents, pressure, competition — and allow players to solve problems.
We coach our key offensive and defensive principles through our many and varied game related exercises.
The curriculum is supported by our vision of teaching, we want soccer to play the lead role, and we want players to solve problems within the game.
Diane Scavuzzo: What type of player attends the one. Soccer camp?
Lloyd Biggs: We attract the young player who has a dream and wants to go to the next level of competition.
Last summer we had many players attend from the USSDA as well as high-level club soccer. They all had one common desire, they were all intrinsically motivated to take the step forward to a better, more improved them! We are truly privileged to have such an amazing group of young players every year.
Some youth soccer players take the summer off and do nothing, some do other sports, what ever players choose is fine, but their is no doubt that the player who chooses to join us at the resident camp, or a day program, is better prepared for the upcoming season.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are you most proud of at one. Soccer Schools?
Lloyd Biggs: That’s a tough question as there are many aspects to be proud of however the two keywords that come to mind would be longevity and impact.
Longevity: Its now our 18th year, it is nice to know that we are becoming known by coaches and players as a camp that provides excellent training and a first-class environment.
Impact: Over the last 18 years it is amazing to see the impact we have had on so many young players and coaches. Through our time we have seen a player grow into
young men and women who are making a positive impact in the world.
What is very special to see is when we have alumni go full circle and come and coach with us in the program. That really is special!
Diane Scavuzzo: What is Cate School like?
Lloyd Biggs: Set in the foothills of Carpinteria, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara Channel Islands, Cate School is a true hidden gem.
Boasting three beautiful full-size soccer fields, a state of the art indoor sports gym and theater, Cate’s facilities support us in the goals we want to achieve.
The added bonus is the food, Cate truly cares for its guests and provide the players and staff with the very best nutrition while on campus. The food is first class and the emphasis is based on the importance of the player eating a high percentage of whole food nutrition.
We work closely with the players on nutrition throughout the week.
I am a qualified health coach and many young kids are not being educated on diet and education. We need to get kids to buy in to eating healthy! When yo]uth soccer players understand and recognize how food works within the body, they are more motivated to eat the good stuff and stay away from the bad stuff!
Diane Scavuzzo: what is a typical day like?
Lloyd Biggs: A Typical Day in the life of a one.Soccer resident athlete — Birth year 2005 and older:
6:00am – wake up
6:15am – Soccersize session in the Gym — this is a session on ball mastery to music, hard work but lots of fun. Great way to start the day.
7:00am – Breakfast and downtime
9:15am-12noon – Field sessions
12noon – Lunch, downtime and pool time
2:30-4:45pm – Field sessions (2x55min sessions with water breaks)
5:00pm – Dinner and small amount of downtime
6:15-8:15pm 2X45min sessions of Footvolley – 2v2 fotovolley competition (music being played, lots of fun while developing touch)
Small sided games – time for the players to have fun and express themselves.
8:15-9:00pm – Shower and laundry
9:05-9:45pm – Yoga – gentle stretching and relaxation to end the day
9:45-10:30: brief amount of down time
10:30: Lights out
A typical day for a player who is 2006 birth year and younger is very similar apart from a later start time for soccersize in the morning and no yoga in the evening, with a slightly earlier lights out of 10pm.
Diane Scavuzzo: How many players attend the program?
Lloyd Biggs: We max out at 120 players per week.
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