“The Machnik Method”
By Christine Huber, CAO – Regional Director No 1 Soccer Camps
Soccer parents ask me: “Does your camp play 11 vs 11?” Me – “No!”
Here at No. 1 Soccer Camps will use what is called the “Machnik Method.” All of our games are played small sided in 4 vs 4 or 5 vs 5 situations.
Think about it, would you rather your child be standing as a left defender only touching the ball a few times during the course of the game? Or would you want them to get them involved in a diamond formation where they are constantly moving, constantly touching the ball, while constantly under pressure?
From the youngest age groups to the professional ranks; teams, leagues, and soccer organizations are now incorporating more small sided play into their practice plans. The reason is simple: more involvement. We call the small sided theory the “Machnik Method” after Dr. Joe Machnik. “Dr. Joe” as Fox Sports, Rob Stone and Lexi Lalas love calling him…. is US Soccer’s Renaissance Man. He was recently inducted into the National Hall of Fame and his influence on US Soccer is unparalleled. From starting “Goalkeeper Wars”, “Dutch” tournaments, and many other small sided games, he has had his impact on coaches and players thought the world.
At No. 1 Soccer Camps we make our fields about 40 yards in length by 30 yards wide. On offense, we are encouraging a diamond shaped formation. This formation stretches the field in length and width. With 4 players on the field, and one goalkeeper, everyone is not only touching the ball but will need to move off the ball and think ahead to be successful. No matter what position you play, you need to be able to handle the ball in pressure situations. In a 5 vs 5 game on a 40 yard long field, the pressure is high and the play is quick. The player needs to think about how to create the best scoring opportunity quickly. The first touch is crucial. A bad decision can send the opposing team immediately to a goal scoring opportunity on a quick counter attack. Due to the small field, players learn that if they lose the ball, they must be the first one to try to win it back.
The results we see week after week are amazing. In just a few days, we see players gain confidence on and off of the ball by learning from their mistakes that they made earlier in the week. We see players picking their head up and looking to score from 20 – 30 yards out. We see the goalkeepers increase their communication and angle play because every player is dangerous with the ball at their foot in small sided games. The bottom line is: the more involvement in the play, the better one will become. This is the “Machnik Method”.