Book Report: Soccer iQ Vol. 2

Soccer IQ Vol 2“I promised myself that I wouldn’t release a Volume 2 unless I cultivated enough quality content to truly justify its existence. I wasn’t going to throw together some rubbish and hope that the second volume would ride the coattails of the first just so I could make a buck. If I was going to put out a sequel, I would only do it with a clear conscience. The question I asked myself was this: If Volume 1 never existed, would this book be good enough to stand on its own? I believe it would.” (Soccer IQ Vol. 2 – p1)

Title: Soccer iQ Vol. 2

Author: Dan Blank

Publisher: Dan Blank

Publication Date: 2013

Origin: I discovered Soccer iQ Vol. 2 while writing the report for Soccer iQ, and ordered it immediately.

Summary: In Soccer IQ Vol. 2, Dan Blank follows up his terrific Soccer iQ (a collection of 54 lessons and tips that every player and coach should know) with another 49 lessons and tips. As before, these new lessons exhibit enormous diversity, and cover both on-field and off-field topics.

Once again, the lessons are short and specific, and are therefore easily understandable. Each is explained with great clarity, including the ever-important “why” (as in, why this tidbit matters), and Blank includes a Note for Coaches component in each one. Where the lesson is something that can be drilled during practice, he includes helpful diagrams and instructions.

What Blank said in the original Soccer iQ (p1-2) still stands: “This book isn’t about soccer technique. This book is about soccer decisions that take place during the course of a match. These concepts are in no particular order. All of them are important and any one of them could provide your team with the margin of victory. Mostly, this book is a collection of soccer nuggets. The value of each nugget can be big enough to win a game or even a national championship, but conceptually they are very basic.” (p1-2)

My Take: After finishing the first book, I tweeted that, Soccer IQ is easily the best soccer tips and tactics book I’ve read.”

I extend that sentiment to Vol. 2, and really see them as one extensive set of lessons.

Read This Book If: If you play or coach soccer, and want to improve at either, or even if you just want to better understand what you see on the television.

Notes and Quotes:

Note: due to the sheer diversity of the lessons in Soccer IQ Vol. 2, and their already quite-summarized nature, I’m not going to do my normal notes and quotes thing; instead, I’ll just highlight some of the lessons that I personally found particularly interesting.

  • Plan B: having the composure to change your plan on the fly, rather than sticking to your idea even when the opportunity closes or scenario changes. Seems obvious, right? Then why do so many players still try to thread a pass through a needle opening even after it’s closed? Or try to catch the goalie by surprise even when the goalie has already gotten back into position? It’s because people become committed to an idea. Being an effective player means making the right decision, and, often, the right decision is to switch to Plan B.
  • Magic Numbers: how to create 2v1, 3v2, etc. situations
  • The Fishhook Run: I’ve used this run quite effectively a few times already since reading this chapter
  • No Blind Negative Passes: I’d also like to see players stop calling for (or demanding) the ball when they’re a terrible option!
  • Aim Small, Miss Small: basically, pick your spots when you’re shooting…then even when you miss your spot you’ll still have a good chance of putting it on-goal.
  • Five Will Save You Fifty: I learned this one myself, playing on the wing, years ago. Recover and get into a defensive structure immediately (you’ll usually have to run about 5 yards); the alternative is that you dawdle, the person you’re marking rips off down the field, and then you’ve got to sprint 50 yards to catch up. This one reminds me of the soccer example I used in the recent post Don’t overlook the quietly effective
  • Why Olympic Sprinters Don’t Dribble a Soccer Ball: One for you, Ruben.
  • Start Offside and Get Stealthy: “Understand this: Defenders hate it when they can’t see you and the ball in the same picture. That simple, solitary concept is the basis for this whole chapter. When they can’t see you, they have to find you, and that means they have to look away from the ball, and they hate doing that mos of all! And if you’re not consistently doing things they hate, then you’re not too good at your job. When you are a forward, you are certainly allowed to start in an offside position. You just have to get back onside before a teammate passes you the ball. So, instead of floating in front of the line of the defenders, float a yard or two behind them. Get stealthy. Move from side to side as if you’re playing a game of peek-a-boo. Keep popping up in different spots. Then, when the time comes to check back to the ball, those defenders will never see you coming.”
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Posted in Books, Soccer, Sports

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