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PODCAST EPISODE 44: Joseph A. Luxbacher, PhD

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Joseph A. Luxbacher, PhD joins the Upper Hand Sports Pod. Dr. Joseph Luxbacher has more than three decades of experience in the fields of health, fitness and competitive athletics. A former collegiate and professional athlete (soccer), he holds a PhD in Health, Physical and Recreation Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Luxbacher has authored more than a dozen books and numerous articles on health, fitness, and sports performance.

You can read an overview of the interview with Joseph A. Luxbacher, PhD or listen to the podcast below for the full interview.

Q. It is interesting with your background, you coached collegiately for over 30 years, are you taking a lot of that experience and putting into your academy or taking it in a different direction?

A. Philosophy in training players is that it should high paced, lots of reps. For example, in a 60-minute session, you are touching the ball hundreds of times. They are working hard. How I would train a college team is similar. For a camp, you have different ages and different abilities, not a one size fits all. But for an academy, you get a sort of similar age and a group who wants to get better and train. You can set up a better structure, higher paced and overall harder training. That’s what they want and that’s what I want to do. I have been doing this for so many years, its not a big change. You have to gear to the age and abilities of the player. But overall philosophy stays the same, work hard and have fun. At the end of the day the objective they want to be a better player than when they came in.

Q. I like to ask this question a lot, especially when we have soccer coaches and trainers. I want to get your pulse and I think you have a good pulse because you have been a soccer coach for over 30 years and now direct a pretty large soccer youth organization. What do you believe is the state of US Soccer?

A. I think the state is solid. I Really do. It is a disappointment that the national team didn’t qualify for the World Cup and everyone looks back on that and says we are doing everything wrong. I don’t think we are. In terms of more kids playing and the talent, we have guys playing in Premier league, Bundesliga. There is talent. US Soccer revamped since not making the World Cup, the revamped the coaching philosophy a bit. Its called the grassroots. It is for the coaches I deal with, local communities, travel, club teams. They want players to have to solve problems on their own.  A players centric approach to coaching. It is less structured coaching as it was before when players come to train they play a small-sided game before they even stretch. The coaches provide little feedback, just lets the play. Then they train and end will full sided game. Where the coach does provide a lot of corrective feedback. It is different than it was, overall I think it is a good philosophy. Our players haven’t been coached to solve their problems, and if you make bad decisions it will hurt your performance.

Q. You just said not all players can coach which then brings the question, you were a great player and coach, how were you able to make that transition?

A. Well, it is definitely different. I played collegiately and professionally but I was at the end of being a player. The coach told me what to do and obviously, I remember those drills. But dealing with players and different ages, how to structure a practice that keeps them moving. For instance, when you are not experienced if you have 15 kids you may put them in lines of 8 or 7 to shoot. So they get one shot and have to wait for 15 kids, which is not how you coach. What I did was attend US Coaching schools, even when I was still a professional. C license, then B and finally the A. You learn a lot there about how to structure, create an environment where players can develop. I have been in coaching for 30 years, you learn all the time. If I go to a clinic or just working with another coach and see something, it will strike a note and I will say “hey I could use that too.” It is constant learning, but it is good to take a course. US soccer offers a variety of course, starting with that grass root program and all the way up to a national diploma.

Learn more about Joseph A. Luxbacher, Ph.D. and STS Elite at stselitetraining.com.