Customer Reviews: Soccer IQ: Things That Smart Players Do, Vol. 1
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on January 10, 2013
I am an assistant coach for an NCAA Division I women's program and also coach a boys' high school team during the winter. I bought and read Soccer iQ toward the end of the college season and decided it would be a good idea to get our high school booster club to buy copies for the varsity team. I gave them copies just before the Christmas break, assigned them to read the entire book, and told them there would be a quiz when we reconvened. Based on the quizzes I know that almost all of my players did their homework, and based on what they've said, they enjoyed the reading and got a lot out of it.

As our season winds down, here are my thoughts on this book and how it has affected our team.

For starters, at some point during the season, we've dealt with every one of the chapters. Whether it was the impossible pass or throw-ins or the toe poke, at some point or another each chapter was applicable to my team. The material in this book is very relevant and it's presented in a simple and direct way that makes it easy to remember.

My core group of players have really gained a lot out of it. I can see how the things they picked up from reading are being applied during our practices and games, which is really cool to see. But my favorite story is this one, which I've also shared with the author:

A few days ago we were heavy underdogs in our district final game. We were playing a much more talented team from a much bigger school, but we went up 2-0 on them by the middle of the first half. Shortly after our second goal, a player of mine was sent off, so we would have to play the rest of the game 10 v 11. At half-time we still led, but the score was now 2-1.

As I was trailing the players over to the spot on the field where we were going to have our halftime talk, I was trying to sort out the thoughts in my head as to what I would say to them. But then a bunch of them started saying, "Chapter 50, right, Coach? Chapter 50!" At first I had no idea what they were talking about and then one of them said, "The chapter about clock management." Then I realized they were talking about Soccer iQ. Chapter 50 is entitled Clock Management With The Lead and it provides strategies for shortening the game.

My boys are not savvy soccer players. We don't live in a soccer area and I doubt this town has produced a single college soccer player. Most of the guys on my team only play 3 months a year and I doubt any of them have ever watched a game of soccer on TV. But they had done their homework and they had remembered what they read and they went out and killed off the second half better than any high school or college team I've ever seen. It was almost surreal to watch how they milked seconds off of every single restart like they had been doing it their whole lives. They applied all of the strategies in that chapter and held on for a 2-1 win and a district championship. It's really crazy to think that one chapter (three pages) of a book had such a dramatic effect on the outcome of a playoff game.

The other big benefit I've come to realize is that because Soccer iQ has addressed so many of the `small' things, it has freed me up to focus on more big picture topics. And when I need to make a correction, a lot of those corrections have been discussed in the book so there's a quicker sense of understanding from the players.

Soccer iQ is a fantastic book for players and coaches, and it's a steal at the asking price. As I told the author, we are winning games because of this book, and that's about the best review I think anyone could hope for.
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on October 9, 2014
This book is well written and contains practical soccer best practices for a player. The author breaks down common tactical situations and provides meaningful advice for them. These situations might be described as patterns of play at the individual level. I recommend this book to players at a U13 level or higher.
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on May 30, 2015
A really good book. Lots of common sense advice. I read the book and gave it to my ten year old son. He loves it! He has been asking me questions to clarify some of the pointers but generally understands most of the concepts. I really like that the chapters are short and concise. My favorite is the one on using the "toe kick" with a reference to a YouTube video that brings the point home. A must for soccer players young and old.
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on May 4, 2013
I've been coaching for many years both Boys and Girls teams. As a coach I always feel that there is something else I should have pointed out to my players, but lacked the insight and or words to convey it to my players. I feel that Dan has touched on many of the "Soccer Problems" that occur in a game but are never addressed by the coach. In each chapter you will find a common soccer problem addressed and dealt with with insight and humor! Like the other reviews I too plan on getting this book for each of my assistant coaches and players. Thanks for taking the time to write this book Dan.
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on March 10, 2014
Some very good insight on the little things that players can and need to do. I don't agree with all of the author's points, but nonetheless, I think the book is extremely valuable due to its conciseness and the simplicity with which he makes his points. I think it is a great read for soccer players from around 11 years old on up.
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on February 2, 2015
I have the joy of assistant-coaching along side the top HS Boys Varsity Soccer coach in the USA. Our coaching team has frequently referenced Dan Blank's IQ1 and IQ2 as the most comprehensive sources of easily taught, though powerful, how-to-play-soccer concepts. I have watched players adopt Dan's lessons immediately create more opportunities for themselves and their team. We have had the HS boys read his IQ 1 book and the coaches draw ideas from the IQ 1 & 2 books all season long.
I recommended Dan's books to all engaged parents, and tested his lessons with select club players ranging from U10-U14 with great results. If you want to get more out of your passing, ball control, movement on the field, and your attacking/defending skills, the Soccer IQ1&2 are fantastic. One bit of advice.... don't try to adopt every lesson at once. Read through the books and then incrementally add to your game 1 or 2 of the ideas each week or two. If that is too fast, add 1 idea every 3+ weeks. Focus on getting the concept to work for you before moving on to another lesson.
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on August 18, 2015
This is, without a doubt, the finest book I have read regarding playing soccer (and it certainly helps focus a coach too) and what to do and not do. It is written capably enough that my teenager has no issues understanding what is being said and grasping the point made in each chapter. The chapters are only a page or two, some are just a paragraph. The book wastes very little time, it gets to each point quickly and there are plenty of examples to go with each point.
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on July 22, 2013
A really great read. Each concept is broken down in a very short and understandable way for players and coaches. I coach girls and it's nice to have a book written from that perspective.
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on July 25, 2015
Enough good things cannot be said about this book. I got it for helping me to coach as well as to see if it would improve my own play. I was able to immediately apply the information from this book after only reading a few pages the first day. There is so much good stuff in here, you have to be careful to pace yourself since you won't remember it all, and you certainly can't coach that many points in a practice or two. As the book suggests, I coached about one new point per practice. I could see immediate improvements in the game of my U14 rec girls. Some of it may be a repeat of what you have already learned, but presented in a way that you can teach it better.

As for my own play, I'm in my late 30s and have played soccer for 20 years, but didn't get to a high competitive level and did not have good coaching during my formative years. I learned how to play my own game better as I coached my girls and I had to figure out how to improve their game. This book helped me become a better player in addition to a better coach, and I remember the first game where I applied a couple of the points in this book, and I was complimented for how well I played that day. I didn't play any harder, but I definitely played smarter, and that's even more helpful when you're my age trying to keep up players 10 and 15 years your junior.
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on February 22, 2016
Like others said, mostly things you may know but good to have it here and fun to read. It's basically a collection of random blog post length chapters on a topic. Sometimes a chapter follows another one the same topic. Other times not. It's not a comprehensively organized book but a collection of tips. There are some examples you may not agree with. For example figure 9.1 where he does not want an overlapping run makes no sense. The hold up player who should have already evaluated the next step has two drop options and a flick or heel to the overlapped into better space is an easy pass for intermediate players. Either that or do short short long with a third man run, but do NOT have a third player be yet another drop pass option. Just one example where most tips seem geared toward retention and circulation more than creation, penetration and risk taking in the final third. Or perhaps where the book is about individual and team tactics, it is sound common sense stuff, but in some small group tactics, many might disagree. I've started reading vol 2 which I like better but there is the same problem (but he says some may disagree) in one chapter on a run he dislikes but it's a decoy run that makes space and is used by top teams! Teams want to play like Barcelona who is referenced in the intro but ironically at this time tiki taka was getting predictable and now Barcelona is much more aggressive and uses more flair and direct play and fewer of the more conservative tips would apply if your team is trying to learn from the best. As another side note sometimes he talks about mistakes players make and I find myself appalled at how bad US soccer must be, tactically, if college players do not already know certain things (!). However in general I like this book and wish certain of my teammates either knew or did most of the tips even if many are basic. Lots of notes to coaches on drill ideas or points to make. Good nuggets on making communication more concise.

Bottom line: good if you are coaching youth or less advanced players who need reminders of solid basics like passing is faster, square balls to center and dribbling in your own third are dangerous, etc. May not be as interesting if you are an advanced player or already have basics of strong possession inculcated in your team. Not very interesting from a group tactic or positional play point of view. For that there are other materials like the zonal marking blog which perhaps makes it clear (from analysis of the very top teams) just how bad even the best get things wrong at times. From that point of view, this is a minor quibble. Worth a quick read.
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