Demonstrate, Practice and Apply
The Thunder Director of Coaching(DOC), Larry Graiber, runs a structured session plan based on Illinois Youth Soccer Association(IYSA) and US Soccer guidelines. The DOC will demonstrate the skill, the players will then practice the skill with no pressure, then limited pressure, and finally apply the skill in a full speed scrimmage.
Many top clubs in the area stop teaching moves, 1v1, and ball skills right around U11/12. They expect the kids to already have and maintain those skills on their own. At Thunder, we focus on foot skills to build a strong base that will last a lifetime. The Thunder Academy is not a club replacement but augments your training so when the season starts or Spring returns you are ready. We run programs all year round.
The Future Stars
The Future Stars program is structured to start building hand and eye coordination, balance, body control, foot skills, etc. starting at age 2. It is important to start early. The great part of learning early is it will keep the kids active, healthy, happier and can use these skills playing any sport.
3v3 is a face paced, hard shot, small sided game promoted by Kick-It 3v3 and 3v3Live. In the Spring, the Thunder Academy will be hosting an internal 3v3 league for all ages both weekdays and weekends. During the league each player will be evaluated throughout the season. Then the top 6 players from each age group will be invited to travel with the club to local, regional and national tournaments.
The Thunder 3v3 Academy
Why is everyone calling themselves an academy or pre-academy?
Most clubs now have many teams called academy or pre-academy all the way down to U12. Why? It is for marketing reasons to bring in the best talent. The only True Academy program is funded by the MLS and starts at U14 in the Chicago Fire Juniors. Everyone else uses the word academy to help complete and promote the club.
Then why call the Thunder an academy?
We use the academy principle of ranking players top to bottom to help provide goals for kids to achieve. We rank every player 1 down to 20 that participates in our training sessions on a continuous basis not just end of year when it is too late. We then take the top 6 and invite them to participate on our Premier 3v3 teams traveling to various local, regional and national tournaments. The goal of the academy is to challenge each players to improve themselves every week. The rankings will change from month to month by the DOC's evaluation. During the evaluation the players size never plays a role but speed, pace and ball skills with both feet will. In other clubs, it takes a year to move a player on or off an academy or pre-academy team. We encourage the players to be the best they can every day.
More Questions? Email by clicking here Larry Graiber.