The Most Crucial Overlooked and Under Appreciated Secret in Soccer
As a soccer coach for over 20 years, you get a chance to see many games and many exceptional players over that time. Often times coaches will work with their team on developing soccer skills with the ball. They will work on developing an unbeatable system of play, where they believe their game tactics will win games for them. They will work on creating grids and small sided games to help their players with passing and dribbling and they will work on fitness, of yes fitness!
But I want to talk about what happens in a game where all of these skills don’t mean a whole lot if you aren’t addressing this one crucial skill. This skill is what separates good from great, it is key whether you are a defender or a striker and it is rarely worked on at all by coaches. I don’t know if coaches don’t see it, they don’t believe it, or they don’t know how to teach it. But with all of that said, if a player lacks BALANCE, they will not be as successful and the team won’t either.
Let me explain what I mean when I say balance. I am not referring to a team’s shape on the field. While that balance is important, that is not what I want to discuss. A players balance centers around their movements. These movements could be linear or lateral or backwards…any time you are off balance when you move, you leave yourself open to be beaten as a defender or you lose a scoring chance as an attacker or you lose possession as a midfielder.
Most times when you see a defender get beat 1 v 1, the attacking player has unbalanced that defender. He may have made the defender go back on his heels or his first step was either too short or too long, depending on the situation. In order to achieve and maintain proper balance, a soccer player must work at it. Proper balancing will help with a players soccer speed, their change of direction and their over speed and agility on the soccer field.
In order for a soccer player to achieve proper balance, several things need to be addressed and worked on.
Let’s start with their core. A soccer players core needs to be functionally strong and flexible. In order to address a players core strength, a coach or player needs to realize that there are three components to their core. The players abdominals, their back (upper and lower) and their hips. Focusing on building a stronger core will dramatically help a player with their balance as well as other athletic needs on the soccer field.
Another critical component to achieve proper balance on the field is a player needs to focus on where their foot is striking the ground. If you need to go backwards tangkasnet android and you are landing on your heels, then you are totally off balance and will be out of the play very quickly. Conversely, if you are back pedaling and you are landing on the front part of your foot, you will be in a better position of balance allowing you to change direction quickly and show good speed and agility on the field too.
Also important is a soccer players forward lean. If a player is leaning too far forward he is susceptible to a change of speed move that again will unbalance this defensive player.
A drill that I like to do often to help my players develop this balancing skill, is to create a grid of approximately 20 yards long by 10 yards wide with a line of cones down the middle of this grid separating this grid into two 10 X 10 yard grids. I have two players go to the middle of their respective grid (the middle line separates the one large grid into 2 grids now) and face each other. One player is the leader, the other player is the follower. The leader can move in any direction he wishes and the follower must mimic or mirror their movements. Have the follower focus on his footwork (don’t cross his feet) and his foot contact (weight is distributed more on the front part of his foot) and creating proper balance. Once they get better at this, then increase the speed and change movements more frequently.
By doing this skill drill, you will dramatically help your players gain more speed and agility on the soccer field and will be able to maintain proper balance too. By working on this, I believe you will see more goals being scored by your team and less goals allowed….obviously a great formula to success!
Have a great day!