Soccer Drills Involving Controlled Repetition are Best
Soccer Players that will Train Players to be Able to Perform Skills Instinctively, Without Thinking
Some Soccer Drills are better than others for teaching skills
A high ball ratio and our soccer drills produce faster results
Some Soccer Drills are better than others for teaching skills – the importance of efficient and effective practices. When I first started coaching I thought I should use many different soccer drills. For a while after I started using Soccer Practice Games I still thought it was good to play a lot of different Practice Games. A problem with that approach is that some Practice Games simply do a better job of training soccer players. If you can use the most efficient and most effective Practice Games your players will improve faster. Another problem with playing a lot of different Practice Games is that setting up a lot of different Practice games can be time consuming. A third problem with using a lot of different soccer drills or practice games is that you aren’t getting the repetition needed to develop Motor Memory Skills.
Soccer Drills that Involve Controlled Repetition are the Best Way to Teach Soccer Skills. To be a good soccer player requires the ability to perform certain skills under pressure at Game Speed, especially dribbling a soccer ball and being able to pass the ball while running, neither of which are natural. To become good, a player needs to be able to perform some skills such as dribbling instinctively without thinking. In addition, because real soccer matches are chaotic, fast and played under pressure, a player needs to be able to perform these skills fast while under pressure in Game Realistic conditions. The only way to train a player to be able to perform skills instinctively without thinking is by repetitive training, which is called “Motor Memory Training”. Just talking about the skills won’t train a player to be successful - the player has to have a lot of repetition of the skill at a fast speed while under pressure in Game Realistic situations. The reason scrimmages aren’t a good way to practice is that scrimmaging doesn’t allow many touches on the ball. If 10 players are scrimmaging with one ball, that is a 10% ball ratio. Most of our Practice Games have a 50% to 100% ball ratio. A 50% ball ratio allows 5 times more touches and a 100% ratio is 10 times more than 10%. Our Practice Games are designed to allow players to repetitively practice skills in a Game Realistic way – meaning fast while under pressure and in chaotic conditions. The result is that players learn to perform soccer skills instinctively at a fast speed while under pressure and in Game Realistic conditions.
4 SoccerHelp Soccer Drills that are good examples of “controlled repetition” and can be monitored by the Coach:
Dribble Across a Square, Dribble around Cone & Pass Relay Race, Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball and Win the 50/50 Ball or be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking and Defending (a SoccerHelp Premium game).
Keep it Interesting by Mixing Up Your Favorite Soccer Drills with Games that Practice Important Skills. For example, instead of doing Dribble Across a Square every time, you can substitute "Across and Back Ball Tag" (a SoccerHelp Premium game), which is essentially "Dribble Across a Square" with a few defenders. It practices almost the same skills, but it’s a change of pace, so it keeps the interest level high.
Repetition is Critical to both remembering what to do AND for Motor Memory Skills. You MUST have repetition, so the challenge is “How to keep it interesting?” I think the best way to do that is to keep things moving along without “dead” time. That means being able to set-up a game FAST, keep it going fast, and keep everyone involved with minimum lines. Just jump into things fast without giving your players time to think about it – that will limit complaining. That is also a big advantage of competition and giving rewards – they will quickly focus on the game so they can win.
Let’s use an example. Suppose you want to teach a child to play the piano. You know you want to try to make it interesting, but you also know they must practice and that there must be repetition of playing the piano. Although the guitar and the flute are also musical instruments, practicing them won’t teach you to play the piano. If you want your players to learn how to dribble, they must repetitively practice dribbling so they can dribble instinctively without thinking. And since the objective is to learn how to perform skills fast while under pressure in a real soccer match, they must practice skills fast while under pressure in Game Realistic conditions.
A good example of Motor Memory Training by repetition is the “SoccerHelp Foot Skills and Soccer Moves Training Program (Motor Memory Training and Aerobic Workout) DVD”.
Copyright David Huddleston, All Rights Reserved
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