Contributed by Ron McEachen, Technical Director
The Fall session was a great opportunity to focus on skill development. My objective was to have players touch the ball a thousand times before they left each training. We accomplished that by working on individual moves, dribbling, shielding, and receiving balls with foot, thigh, chest, and head.
We spent an inordinate amount of time striking the ball properly. The game is not just a short passing affair. The highly organized defenses of today mandate that players are capable of striking balls 25-50 yards accurately. Many teams concentrate exclusively on short passing. When they are unable to have success in contested areas, they are unable to solve the demands of the game. We believe that one and two touch passing are essential and will enable players to compete at the next level.
During Fall training, players also used tennis balls to improve technique. Over the years, I’ve found that it takes greater focus and concentration to strike and receive a tennis ball. We did an entire session in bare feet. In soccer boots, players can kick the ball any which way and it doesn’t always get where it’s supposed to go. I’ve found that by taking off the boots, players really focus on the proper technique of using the inside and instep of the foot. It was remarkable how much better they became in only one session.
Skill is the ability to use techniques successfully in the context of the game. There are many technical players who look the part but don’t get it done. We want to develop players who have the skill to make a positive and sometimes magical impact on the game. This comes from lots of practice and great coaching. We can do this together.
Onto the Winter session.