Complete Soccer School

Book Review



The Usborne Complete Soccer School


EDC  Publishing, Tulsa, OK



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

May, 2001


Whether you are a player, coach, or soccer fan, the  Usborne Complete Soccer School offers a total reference for improving your enjoyment of the game. Complete Soccer School combines eight Usborne soccer book titles into a handy and powerful reference guide about soccer. The book is printed  in color and contains about 250 pages.

This guide is divided into eight chapters that parallel  the titles of the individual books. The topics that are covered include ball  control, shooting, attacking, defending, goalkeeping, tactics and training.  Each chapter introduces techniques that are demonstrated with both photographs  and drawings. The layout of the chapters is similar, teaching fundamental skills,  then putting those skills together into more advanced tactical concepts. Each skill discussed also includes a page of suggested practice drills and short  multi-player games to further assist in developing mastery.

This book provides extensive information about important basic skills. Kicking and heading the ball are demonstrated along with a variety  of techniques to retain control and getting the ball into position to score. Marking and tackling are introduced and tips are given on how to adapt these techniques to an individual style of play. A number of methods are shown to  dribble and pass the ball, and also how to move the ball to the area of the field that is best for a particular situation. Most of the technique sections include photographs of internationally known soccer stars using that skill in  actual play.

Each player position is examined and tips for both tactics and strategy are given. An entire section is devoted strictly to goalkeeping,  and midfielders will appreciate both the attacking and defending chapters. Man-to-man and zone defense is introduced, and the situations that require these tactics  are discussed. Another important issue that is addressed is transition play  - the point at which play shifts from defense to offense, or the ball moves  from the defending third to the midfield and attacking third of the field. Various  offensive and defensive systems are reviewed with tips on how to implement and use each for your team.

The section on training also gives valuable insights for improving your game. It covers warming-up, strength training, stretching, nutrition,  and mental preparation for a game, This chapter also explains how to handle various injuries and how to stay fit and healthy. Similar to the other sections of the book, various practice drills are suggested to improve player skills. The end of every chapter includes an interesting trivia test about playing the  game and the history of soccer.

The feature that makes this book exceptional is that it introduces and refines such a variety of basic skills. Emphasis is placed on kicking, passing, blocking, marking, and turning. Entire pages cover issues such as handling high balls, the variety of kicking methods, shielding the ball, and faking. Each skill is demonstrated using text, photographs and drawings  that are both clear and easy to understand. Another important strength of this book is the reading level - children of late primary school age can easily handle the vocabulary, yet everything is clearly and completely explained.

Anybody wishing to improve their ability to play,  coach or watch soccer will appreciate this clear and colorfully illustrated presentation of skills, tactics and strategies. It is a one-stop reference guide  for players and coaches of any ability level and provides an abundance of information for developing basic, intermediate and advanced soccer skills. It is easy to read, yet completely covers every major aspect of the game.

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