At IFAST, we’re serious about helping soccer players succeed.
Our programs have worked for athletes of all shapes and sizes – from the middle- or high-school age player who wants to make the team, to MLS All-Stars and US National team members.
But if you’ve never heard about IFAST, or you don’t know anything about our programs, let me tell you a little bit about our philosophy when it comes to training soccer players!
#1 – Fun Comes First
While it may sound silly, fun absolutely MUST be a part of the training process. One of the biggest issues we see nowadays is burnout. Imagine a typical Monday for your child… They go to school all day, head to a grueling 2+ hour practice, and when they finally get home for the evening they have to shovel down their dinner so they have time to do their homework.
As a result they go to bed too late, get up too early, and then have to repeat the cycle for four more days that week! The routine alone can get boring – but when coupled with the demands of sports, things can get overwhelming fast. That’s why having fun is such a big part of our program.
Sure we want little Johnny to be faster to the ball, or to have the ability to hold that defender of a second longer, but the process of training has to be fun. Otherwise, it simply becomes another thing they “have to” do on a regular basis.
#2 – Movement Comes Second
While movement training may not sound exciting, let me explain why it’s so important for your child. Over the past year, I’ve consulted with at least 20 parents of high-school age kids who are coming off serious injuries.
- ACL tears
- Fractured backs
- And everything in between
Which reminds me of a famous saying in sports: The most important ability is availability. I can personally attest to this. I’ve worked with budding high school stars up to professional athletes like the Indy Eleven, and I can tell you that if you aren’t healthy, you won’t get better. Period.
So it may come as a shock when a parent drops their child off to train with us and we aren’t killing them their first session in the gym. That’s because every child is different, and we need to make sure that they move well first.
You have to build a movement base before you can start layering in advanced techniques like speed, strength and power.
Now that doesn’t mean we’re going to lie around and do breathing exercises or mobility drills for an hour. That’s not what our training is all about. But our approach is a holistic one – we want your young athlete to move well first and foremost.
To understand what a good squat, lunge or push-up feels like. To understand not only how to be fast, but how to control their speed and their cuts as well. If we build this base early-on, we can not only help them stay healthy in the short-term, but give them a movement base that they’ll be able to use for the rest of their life as well.
#3 – Training Goes Third
When it comes to sport-specific training, soccer is a unique sport. There are certain demands on the athlete – from the changes of direction, to the distance of the runs, to the conditioning – that make it unique.
But to build a better soccer player, we need to build a better athlete first.
Have you (or someone you know) ever said something like this: “That kid’s just a great athlete.” That’s what we want people to say about your kid. That they’re fast, explosive, strong, and well conditioned. But it starts with building a general athletic base first.
Squatting, lunging, push-ups, chin-ups – they don’t look sexy, but when done well, they can build a significant strength base. And while other trainers might use 695 different speed drills that make for a good highlight reel on Instagram, we know the difference between what looks cool and what actually works.
That’s why we use a blend of speed exercises and games to help your athlete build the speed they need to be successful on the pitch. At the end of the day our program may not look like the coolest thing since sliced bread, but it’s brutally effective in the results it delivers.
So that’s a little bit about our philosophy here at IFAST.
If you want a bunch of smoke and mirrors speed training, if you want brutal, grind-it-out and beat ‘em down training sessions, or if you don’t understand that training is a process, then we’re not the people for you.
But if you can get behind the fact that kids needs to have fun, that they need to move well, and that smart training will impact them both now as well as in the future, then I think we have something to offer you.
Whether it’s our athletic development classes for kids age 10-13, or our semi-private training for the more serious high-school, collegiate or professional athlete, give us a buzz at 317.399.7914 or email us at email@example.com so we can tell you a little bit more about our programs!
All the best,
P.S. – If you’re interested in helping your child get faster, stronger or more athletic this off-season we’re hosting an Off-Season Training Seminar at Sogility on Wednesday, October 23rd at 7:30 pm.
If you’d like to learn more about our systems, or how we can help YOUR child this off-season, we’d love to see you there.
- October, 19
Strength training is a critical piece of the development puzzle for young soccer players. While the soccer culture 15-20 years ago seemed very “anti-lifting,” I’d like to things have changed quite a bit since then.
Nowadays, we realize that a sound strength program can not only improve athletic qualities like speed, strength and power, but can also reduce the likelihood of injuries as well. But being in this world for 20 years now, I know there’s a reason that lifting still gets a bad rap in certain circles.
Here are three of the most notorious offenders, and what we can do as concerned parents and coaches to make lifting programs even better!
(Shameless plug – if you’d like to learn more about our approach to lifting be sure to attend our upcoming Off-Season Training Seminar!)
Reason #1 – We’re Not Trying to Become Powerlifters
Here’s one thing we need to make very clear up front:
The goal of lifting weights is to improve athletic performance, keep people healthy and to ultimately become a better soccer player.
Period. The goal isn’t (or shouldn’t be) to squat, bench press, and deadlift as much weight as humanly possible.
As an athlete matures, we realize that lifting weights is a great tool for building strength, power, speed, and reducing the likelihood of injury. But like most things in life, there’s definitely a point of diminishing returns. At a certain point continuing to add more plates to the bar not only increases the likelihood of injury in the weight room, but can have negative effects with regards to speed, power and coordination on the field as well.
Remember, the goal here is to improve soccer-specific athleticism – NOT become a powerlifter. If the only goal of the program is to try and hit a new personal record in the weight room each week, you may need to re-think the program as a whole.
Reason #2 – We’re Not Trying to Be Football Players
Just like we aren’t trying to become powerlifters, we aren’t trying to be football players, either.
If you walk into most high school weight rooms, you’ll see football coaches pushing a program that consists primarily on the power clean, squat, and bench press. And while that may be fine for a foundational strength program, it also has a lot of gaps that need to be filled in.
Furthermore, when it comes to soccer, there are certain areas that must be focused on and addressed to keep a young athlete healthy. Whether we’re talking about specific work to protect the knees, hamstrings, or lower back, you can’t just pound an athlete with big-bang lifts and hope that everything will work out okay.
A smart soccer strength program will have a mix of the following:
- Big-bang, compound lifts,
- Hamstring injury reduction work,
- ACL injury reduction work,
- Body weight exercises,
- Single-leg exercises, and
- Core training exercises.
I’m all for developing base levels of strength, but a good program is a lot more all-encompassing.
Reason #3 – We’re Not Trying to “Correct” Everything
One of the biggest issues I have nowadays with training programs is we’re constantly working on “fixing” things.
I have a degree in biomechanics, and if I wanted to, I could focus on all kinds of little muscle groups in an effort to make someone move “perfect.” (The word “perfect” is really a misnomer, though, as there’s no such thing as perfect movement!)
As I mentioned in my post from a few weeks back, one of my primary foci when training is to help someone move well first. But it’s not about nit-picking movement issues.
Teach them the basics, and then work to get progressively stronger – because strength can go a long way to building resilience and keeping an athlete healthy. So forget about perfect movement – instead, shoot for good technique and then work to build strength and resilience on top of it.
Like I said up top, if you’re interested in learning more about our approach to strength training for soccer players, please attend our Off-Season Training Seminar on Wednesday, October 23rd here at Sogility!
- October, 16
“Technology driven soccer training helps players develop in less time and with less wear and tear on their bodies,” said Chris McGrath, Sogility’s Founder.
“Adding Rezill’s VR shows our commitment to technology driven soccer training and we are excited to take the lead and be a part of Rezzil’s North American expansion. The Rezzil system will be a second secret player development weapon for our player clients.” Sogility also offers TOCA training.
Rezzil’s VR Training and Cognitive Development Program, powered by Mi Hiepa, runs a series of compact, measurable drills. Rezzil players interact with a virtual ball using natural soccer movement patterns. With thousands of “natural movement” data points, the VR training helps create a ‘snapshot’ of player’s wellness, cognitive capabilities, and skill levels. Sessions are about thirty minutes long. There are no ‘learning curves’ to the drills; the conditioning practices intelligently adapt to the capabilities of each player to maximize the session.
The system can also simulate game environments, and is valuable for concussion detection and rehabilitation.
Players can train year round and track their results. At the end of each session, Rezzil provides players a single, easy to understand score, which helps to track performance over time, and to create individual development plans.
- May, 24
Mistakes…and moving on.
“Forget it. Move on.” That’s what we say and hear a lot when we make a mistake, see someone make a mistake. Sometimes coaches say that. No one wants to goof up, especially when we’re trying hard, pushing for a result, trying to contribute or improve.
The sentiment is correct: leave the mistake in the past. Don’t dwell on it; if you do you “play in the past” and let it affect your performance.
But there are a couple of steps before you forget about it. First, is recognizing you made one. Second is admitting it. Third, and most importantly is learning–determining what you can do better when the next opportunity presents itself. Then, with the lesson learned, move on. Slipping through this process quickly is important.
Not all mistakes matter much, but each is an opportunity to learn, to improve.
To learn how building better soccer players occur in a mistake friendly, club neutral environment, check out www.sogility.net.
Until next time,
Chris McGrath, Founder
- May, 16
I’ve been a soccer dad for at least 15 years, more if you count time that overlaps. My experience in that role runs the gamut. Early on it was Friday night sessions at Dynamo FC, where I had to hold my daughter’s hand. Then it was travel. My second daughter, in the words of one coach “had no passion for the game,” to which she readily agreed. So the one who felt she should be able to wear whatever color socks matched her mood left the game early.
Later it was youth recreational leagues and travel soccer. Now its Division 1 , travel, indoor, futsal, CYO and high school. And that is supplemented with soccer in the basement, beach soccer, soccer in the street, and futsal on turf at Sogility. I enjoy them all. Each has something different to offer my love and understanding of the game.
We see a lot of players, and we talk to a lot of families about selecting the best club.
As we move into spring and tryouts are quickly approaching, our recommendation is that three things are important to selecting a soccer club:
1) A coach you respect and will play hard for
2) Developing as a player
3) Having fun
Every club has a unique feel, style, and points of emphasis. We see players from every club in the metro area at Sogility. Our focus is on their development, helping them improve or perfect elements of their game. This is the essence of building better soccer players and our hope that by positively impacting player development, we’ll throw a rock in the talent pool not just in our area, but in this country and so support a love for the game that can be passed on for generations.
Until next time,
Chris McGrath, Founder
- May, 7
I’ve spent thousands of hours on the pitch as a player, parent, coach and soccer team owner. Consider this perspective on practice.
THE WORLD OF SPORTS TRAINING IS CHANGING.
Futurist Richard van Hooijdonk categorized the dramatic gains in athletic performance that can be gained from the use of wearables, studying genetics, data analytics and virtual reality.
I started my career in auto racing when data analysis was just beginning to penetrate the sport. Those who had the most up to date technology had improved car and driver performance at rates that far outpaced opponents.
Last year, I discovered a way for players to significantly improve their skills in less time. I was skeptical of a ball delivery machine and a size 2 ball, so I traveled to TOCA and tried it out. We opened Sogility six months later.
Since then, we’ve been tracking our players’ performance. Parents seem to notice their kids are “playing better.” Players, call the session “FUN,” and later on relate that they have more confidence, and are able to read and impact the game more effectively. Coaches notice that the player’s speed of play (and THOUGHT) picks up.
These are the results of hyper focused soccer training at Sogility. In training, ball service is subject to field and weather conditions, and a bad strike. In a TOCA studio all those variables are removed. The ball gives feedback, and the trainer simply focuses on helping the player improve.
A player touches the ball about 22 times in an 11v11 match. In a TOCA session, players can see 400-500 perfectly served balls per hour. Sogility trainers work on skills specific to the position, incorporate shielding, moves, passing, shooting, SAQ (Speed, Agility & Quickness) and cardiovascular elements, and more, involving the player and his or her coach in the process.
We see these gains after about 2000–3000 touches. Meaning, in about 5–6 hours. Are 5 hours of fun worth the investment? Come on in and check it out.
Until next time,
Chris McGrath – Founder
Have questions on where to start, or how we can help you reach your goals? Shoot a quick message and we will get back with you quickly.
- April, 28
We all know that players need to practice outside team training. Sogility provides a platform for players to improve in a short amount of time so that when they train, they can work on what makes them better as a team.
THE WORLD OF SPORTS TRAINING IS CHANGING.
Data analytics, virtual reality hyper focused on accelerating player technical development.
I played soccer starting at age 12, and my career included club, ODP, college, indoor, coaching, and team ownership. However, I started my career in auto racing when data analysis was just beginning to penetrate that sport. Those who had on board systems improved car and driver performance at rates that far outpaced opponents.
Last year, I discovered a way for players to significantly improve their skills in less time. I was skeptical of a ball delivery machine and a size 2 ball, so I traveled to TOCA and tried it out. We opened Sogility six months later. You can look at other articles or call me to discuss the benefits of this training.
The bottom line is: MODERN TRAINING TECHNOLOGY IS HERE, and more of it is coming. Those who embrace it set themselves up to be great coaches in the future. Adherence to old technology and methods will not generate the same result.
Some coaches believe that Sogility’s hyper focused soccer training, displaces them or takes away their revenue. That’s not true. OUR PLATFORM IS OPEN TO YOU. Work with us as a doctor would a specialist by referring players to us and we’ll build them for you. Come in, and work with individuals or your team on your own.
Until next time,
Chris McGrath, Founder
Referral and shared training revenue opportunities are available. Reach out for more information.
- April, 23
“We can’t win the World Cup unless something changes.” This is what went through my mind at full time when I watched the USMNT lose to Trinidad & Tobago in October 2017.
I’d been thinking of starting an indoor soccer place for a while when I discovered Eddie Lewis, a former USMNT player. He invented the TOCA Machine. It serves up to 500 repeatable, high quality balls per hour. It sends them on the ground, in lobs, and straight shots in the air, at 5 different speeds, 9 different intervals, and 5 different angles. You can use it by yourself, with a trainer, with a trainer and a couple friends, or just you and a couple friends. Its run on an app, and from the app you can see your training. Its motivating, fun, a great workout.
First touch is everything. Players who can control the ball naturally are more aware. They can see more opportunities, pick the best ones. First touch makes executing the second–a shot, a pass–a move–all the better.
In his book Outliers, The Story of Success Malcolm Gladwell talked about the “10,000 Hour Rule,” the theory that repeatedly practicing the right way was the key to world class success. I believe that there are some other factors in play, but Gladwell is correct in that repeatedly doing something the right way can make you better.
I’ve been playing on the machine since September. In 45 minutes I can get about 240 touches, and I get a good workout. I have to do that to keep up with the kids I coach, the son I raise, and the pounds I fight.
I discovered that I wanted to build a place that makes soccer players better. So I created Sogility, a place where players can train with TOCA. They can also train with IFAST and make their bodies stronger, with Jon Busch and become a better goalkeeper, or Brad Ring to become a better field player. And have fun all along the way.
“That,” I remember thinking, “could make a difference.”
Chris McGrath – Founder
We are ready to help make a difference in your game. Share your email and we will set up a time to learn more about how Sogility can be a part of that journey.
- April, 22