Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Youth coaching kingpin Ron Smith, the man who nurtured golden generation stars like Mark Viduka, Vince Grella, Craig Moore and Lucas Neill, has added fuel to the furnace of the Socceroos’ FIFA World Cup exit by claiming the country’s development systems produce “robots” high on energy but short of goalscoring technique.
Updated Updated 17 hours ago
By Dave Lewis
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With the recriminations over Australia’s impotence in the final third in Russia raging, the former chief of the now defunct Canberra-based AIS finishing school for budding Socceroos insists an "obsession" with producing players "who run about like lunatics" in adherence to a methodology put in place by Dutchman Han Berger during his five-year reign as the FFA’s technical director from 2009-2014 is partly to blame for what ails Australia.

Famously hailed by the legendary Viduka as the best equipped coach to lead Australia, Smith believes a lack of focus on encouraging individual technique and a return to a landscape which sees youngsters playing the game at a competitive level for only six months each year have also contributed to a vacuum in the production of top-tier talent.

"Are we looking for strikers who are like Olympic athletes and can do shuttle runs ad-nauseam but may not be able to score goals?” Smith said.

"If someone else pops up do we just go ‘oh no he’s not going to fit the mould’.

"I’ve always been about tailoring the team’s playing style around the quality of the players. Right now in Australia we have people chasing the ball and running around like lunatics.

"We’re more concerned with that than we are about nurturing people who can put the ball in the net.

"The mentality is ‘yes, he can score a goal but he can’t chase people around all day, so I’m not even going to have a look at him’.

"That attitude that emanates all the way down to the junior teams. Why can’t we develop flexible players and allow our coaches to be flexible in their thinking. People are obsessed with systems.

"I’m beginning to hate that word. I’m sick of hearing it. Everybody has one but they never say what it is."

The AIS Centre of Excellence, under Smith and his predecessor Steve O’Connor, also produced Mark Bresciano, Brett Emerton and Mile Sterjovski, plus the likes of Ned Zelic before that.

It was closed in an FFA cost cutting measure last year.

Smith, 67, traces the beginning of the end of Australia’s ability to harbinger intuitive players of the ilk of Viduka and fellow great Harry Kewell to the arrival of Berger and his Dutch coaching manuals.

"When he rode into town he virtually kicked out everything that had been the standard procedure before," Smith said.

"What was implemented was a system where you blow a whistle and players all run to their starting positions like robots.

"It was the complete opposite to the philosophy that had been in place for 25 years, which was about developing individuals within the team structure.

"Decision-making was at the crux of everything. Players had the freedom to do pretty much what they wanted but within the realms of the structure.

"There was a consistent message from the state institutes up to the AIS.

"All the advances we made were just thrown out of the window. Culturally there was a mismatch.

"I tried to educate Han Berger on what had gone before but he never listened to a word I said," added Smith, at the time an analyst within the Socceroos set-up following his departure from the AIS.

"It was a case of ‘you’re going to have this, whether you need it or want it because I have it in my manual’."

The advent of the A-League in 2005 also played a part in the suffocation of the talent pathways, with Smith explaining: "Between 1992 and 2005 we had the opportunity for kids to virtually train and play all year around. All the NSL clubs had a youth team.

"But that ended with the A-League and from that point on kids put their boots away and went surfing.

"So we went back to what we used to refer to as a six-month mentality - that was the situation in the 1970s when we all played in the winter.

"It’s hard to compete on the world level when you’re only training and playing six months of the year because nobody else does that.

"If you’re a national youth coach now and you want to find players it’s like a dogs breakfast. There’s nothing in place.

"There’s also not the same dedication to go out and play for the love of the game as there used to be ... kids just have too many other distractions."

Smith describes Daniel Arzani - an uncut Socceroos gem who began his football education on the streets of Iran - as "a breath of fresh air".

"But why aren’t there more like him?" he added.

"I think it’s because there is zero emphasis on teaching technique in our coaching programs and I don’t believe kids just become great technicians just through playing the game.

"At some stage you need to be able to refine technique. That requires a fair amount of ability from the coach; you don’t just inhale that through the atmosphere."


I remember the days when the McDonalds Soccer Skills Program was going and kids had to go through a series of skill tests and be rewarded with badges and Burgers.

All the kids were involved in it and loved it until it was knocked back by the Food Police for encouraging kids to eat fast food.

That was a stupid move, as it was a great way to encourage kids to learn skills they would never have bothered to learn otherwise and as it took time to master the skills, they were actually burning off more calories than they would have consumed with the burgers
.OM
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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Ron Smith is 100% on the money. Bra friggin' Vo !
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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Bomber wrote:Ron Smith is 100% on the money. Bra friggin' Vo !

I know him quite well and he has always had his heart in the game and in encouraging young players to do their own thing.

I always encouraged my players to practice skills after training and used to hand out homemade certificates for achieving a high level, it worked very well and the kids loved it.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Bomber »

Old Master wrote: I know him quite well
This bit doesn't surprise. :)
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by God is an Englishman »

Bomber wrote:
Old Master wrote: I know him quite well
This bit doesn't surprise. :)
Image
West Adelaide Soccer Club president Alex Alexandrou said the club was still in a position to be playing and training at the new ground either by the end of the 2015 season or in 2016.

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by MegaBonus »

gee Bomber.....I thought you were more intelligent than accepting the ramblings of a person who has an axe to grind.....

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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MegaBonus wrote:gee Bomber.....I thought you were more intelligent than accepting the ramblings of a person who has an axe to grind.....
If you accept this infection of creating robots then I'd have to question your own intelligence levels. Free thinkers aren't the problem. Those who are limited by systems and repetitive methodology certainly are, or at the very least, blinkered.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Arfa Fuxake »

Who is Ron Smith?
You can lead a horse to water but they are bloody hard to drown.

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by zzz »

Bomber wrote:Ron Smith is 100% on the money. Bra friggin' Vo !
Indeed.

Expect denials from the usual suspects around here.

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by MegaBonus »

"What was implemented was a system where you blow a whistle and players all run to their starting positions like robots.
WTF is this even in relation to??? is this during a match or at training???

how can you take this part of the article seriously???

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Slinky_Pete »

Arfa Fuxake wrote:Who is Ron Smith?
Youth coaching kingpin

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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MegaBonus wrote:
"What was implemented was a system where you blow a whistle and players all run to their starting positions like robots.
WTF is this even in relation to??? is this during a match or at training???

how can you take this part of the article seriously???
If you don't know, or cannot tell, why are you questioning other people's intelligence?
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Old Master »

Bomber wrote:
Old Master wrote: I know him quite well
This bit doesn't surprise. :)
I met him on a Coaching Course back in the mid-1970's, it's not my fault that after a lifetime's involvement in the game, at just about every level, that I have met so many others who have also dedicated their lives to the game they Love.

Most of you guys are just armchair supporters or are only concerned about what happens in your own little worlds.

Don't keep putting me down for having a very interesting and fulfilling life just because yours are so pathetic - Jealousy only shows you up for what you are - SAD.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Bomber »

Old Master wrote:
Bomber wrote:
Old Master wrote: I know him quite well
This bit doesn't surprise. :)
I met him on a Coaching Course back in the mid-1970's, it's not my fault that after a lifetime's involvement in the game, at just about every level, that I have met so many others who have also dedicated their lives to the game they Love.

Most of you guys are just armchair supporters or are only concerned about what happens in your own little worlds.

Don't keep putting me down for having a very interesting and fulfilling life just because yours are so pathetic - Jealousy only shows you up for what you are - SAD.
How is what I said a put down?
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Brian the Postman »

Arfa Fuxake wrote:Who is Ron Smith?
Barney's Dad
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by MegaBonus »

Bomber
MegaBonus wrote:
Quote:
"What was implemented was a system where you blow a whistle and players all run to their starting positions like robots.


WTF is this even in relation to??? is this during a match or at training???

how can you take this part of the article seriously???

If you don't know, or cannot tell, why are you questioning other people's intelligence?
since you agree with him 100% maybe you can clarify....im looking forward to it....

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Bomber »

MegaBonus wrote:
Bomber
MegaBonus wrote:
Quote:
"What was implemented was a system where you blow a whistle and players all run to their starting positions like robots.


WTF is this even in relation to??? is this during a match or at training???

how can you take this part of the article seriously???

If you don't know, or cannot tell, why are you questioning other people's intelligence?
since you agree with him 100% maybe you can clarify....im looking forward to it....
You do know how to read don't you? Try reading the article again and understand what he is saying. It's not in a foreign language FFS.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by MegaBonus »

that's weak and you know it.....

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by limozeen »

Arfa Fuxake wrote:Who is Ron Smith?
The bloke who congratulated a kid on being selected for the Joeys but the kid was actually cut from the team.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Bomber »

MegaBonus wrote:that's weak and you know it.....
There's no hope for you. Clearly! :roll:

Your failure in reading comprehension is a sign of your weakness, not mine.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by MegaBonus »

sorry...you mean theres no hope for someone who continuously criticises something without really understanding it.....

I'll tell you what....lets for a second agree that I don't comprehend English.....explain why you agree with him.

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by Sunny Vanilla »

Old Master wrote:
Bomber wrote:
Old Master wrote: I know him quite well
This bit doesn't surprise. :)
I met him on a Coaching Course back in the mid-1970's, it's not my fault that after a lifetime's involvement in the game, at just about every level, that I have met so many others who have also dedicated their lives to the game they Love.

Most of you guys are just armchair supporters or are only concerned about what happens in your own little worlds.

Don't keep putting me down for having a very interesting and fulfilling life just because yours are so pathetic - Jealousy only shows you up for what you are - SAD.
When was the last time you spoke to him?

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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MegaBonus wrote:sorry...you mean theres no hope for someone who continuously criticises something without really understanding it.....

I'll tell you what....lets for a second agree that I don't comprehend English.....explain why you agree with him.
Because I agree with what he wrote as it makes logical sense. I can read and comprehend. The underlying message is we are training players like robots due to blinkered systems and methods from a book or "mentors" that say its this way or the highway. The whistle/players running into positions drill is merely an illustration/example.

Perhaps you'd like to reciprocate to what and why you oppose his commentary? I'll even excuse spelling, grammar and parts you don't understand to make it easier for you.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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simply because there is a difference between what should be taught and how its being taught......youre blaming the curriculum whereas I have grave doubts that coaches actually understand the methodology thus aren't able to deliver the curriculum...I doubt its the curriculum that's preventing the lack of 'creative' types being developed......

you and others are fixated on the idea that "we are being told how to coach" and don't like being dictated to....learning how to play football is like learning any new activity/discipline. while learning can occur in many different ways, there should be a consensus on what constitutes essential learning at various age levels. the curriculum is designed to foster a proactive approach based on individual and team skill.....something that Australia as a footballing nation has only just recently highlighted is not capable of playing.

while we can defend and play on the counter (playing reactive, which is how we usually set up against 'stronger' nations') we really struggle when we have to chase a win (like against Peru) and try to be more proactive.

what we want from the curriculum is to help develop players who can be comfortable in possession as well as not in possession. Its easier to coach players to play in a reactive manner than it is to player in a proactive manner which is why there is an emphasis on a 1-4-3-3 formation at youth level.

Ange knew this thus implemented a 1-3-4-3 approach in the qualifiers against the supposedly weaker teams knowing that during the world cup, we would need to chase a game...

anyway....I can keep on going but you've made up your mind...

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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"Knowing we would have to chase a game" - interesting - It's like going in with a thought process, "we're bound to go a couple goals down so lets try and chase the game". How about a thought process that understands NOT being 2-0 down in the first place?

Until we teach various formations, various styles, encourage those with personal high level skills (ie good at dribbling, long range shooting etc) we'll always lag behind and have little choice other than to play reactive football within limitations of years of tedious process and curriculum.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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Until we teach various formations, various styles, encourage those with personal high level skills (ie good at dribbling, long range shooting etc) we'll always lag behind and have little choice other than to play reactive football within limitations of years of tedious process and curriculum.
I'm glad you agree with me...thus the need to teach a proactive means of playing from a young age....

not sure why you use the term 'curriculum' as if its a dirty thing...just think of it as something that gets taught...

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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MegaBonus wrote:
Until we teach various formations, various styles, encourage those with personal high level skills (ie good at dribbling, long range shooting etc) we'll always lag behind and have little choice other than to play reactive football within limitations of years of tedious process and curriculum.
I'm glad you agree with me...thus the need to teach a proactive means of playing from a young age....

not sure why you use the term 'curriculum' as if its a dirty thing...just think of it as something that gets taught...
Maybe, but I still cannot see what Smith has said is so off the mark (in your eyes).

I just think it is sad that "coach heads" are all virtually insistent on this is the way we are going to do it and if you don't comply, then basically its off to the scrapheap.
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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by zzz »

MegaBonus wrote:simply because there is a difference between what should be taught and how its being taught......youre blaming the curriculum whereas I have grave doubts that coaches actually understand the methodology thus aren't able to deliver the curriculum...I doubt its the curriculum that's preventing the lack of 'creative' types being developed......

you and others are fixated on the idea that "we are being told how to coach" and don't like being dictated to....learning how to play football is like learning any new activity/discipline. while learning can occur in many different ways, there should be a consensus on what constitutes essential learning at various age levels. the curriculum is designed to foster a proactive approach based on individual and team skill.....something that Australia as a footballing nation has only just recently highlighted is not capable of playing.

while we can defend and play on the counter (playing reactive, which is how we usually set up against 'stronger' nations') we really struggle when we have to chase a win (like against Peru) and try to be more proactive.

what we want from the curriculum is to help develop players who can be comfortable in possession as well as not in possession. Its easier to coach players to play in a reactive manner than it is to player in a proactive manner which is why there is an emphasis on a 1-4-3-3 formation at youth level.

Ange knew this thus implemented a 1-3-4-3 approach in the qualifiers against the supposedly weaker teams knowing that during the world cup, we would need to chase a game...

anyway....I can keep on going but you've made up your mind...
You could not be more wrong.

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

Post by zzz »

MegaBonus wrote:
Until we teach various formations, various styles, encourage those with personal high level skills (ie good at dribbling, long range shooting etc) we'll always lag behind and have little choice other than to play reactive football within limitations of years of tedious process and curriculum.
I'm glad you agree with me...thus the need to teach a proactive means of playing from a young age....

not sure why you use the term 'curriculum' as if its a dirty thing...just think of it as something that gets taught...
You sound like a schoolteacher. School doesn't encourage innovation, it stifles it.

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Re: Ron Smith claims today's players are Robots

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I met him on a Coaching Course back in the mid-1970's, it's not my fault that after a lifetime's involvement in the game, at just about every level, that I have met so many others who have also dedicated their lives to the game they Love.

Most of you guys are just armchair supporters or are only concerned about what happens in your own little worlds.

Don't keep putting me down for having a very interesting and fulfilling life just because yours are so pathetic - Jealousy only shows you up for what you are - SAD.[/quote]

Sunny Vanilla asked:
When was the last time you spoke to him?[/quote]

About 4 months ago and we met up again last year.
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