Back to the Past…

Last week I needed to do something in my front garden so I took my iPad out with me and watched a live game while I was out there. About halfway through the first half it stuck me how times had changed.

Growing up I looked forward to the FA Cup Final all week because there would be a live game on the telly. A live game was a really big deal. The whole family would be watching no matter who made it that year.

It prompted me to think how my football viewing experience has changed enormously since I was young. I can watch a live game just about any time. It is so unremarkable I even watch one while I am doing the gardening.

I won’t bore you with going through a list of things that have changed since my childhood but needless to say if I was a 12 year old now then my life with football would be a completely different experience from what it was.

What is strange is that I can chat with Coaches about this and everyone will agree and come up with their own story about how football has changed but as soon as you mention maybe we should train our young players differently from the way we were trained ourselves the majority seem to need huge amounts of convincing.

It seems that we are happy to acknowledge that our whole experience of football is completely different but at the same time feel this has little impact on how we train our young players.

Last week’s blog

A Most Fascinating Player……

prompted many discussions with Coaches and after a while I began to realise all I was doing was trying to convince Coaches not to do things in a very similar fashion to the way they were trained when they were younger.

I feel I should flip this argument and ask Coaches to convince me that since a young player’s life with football is a completely different experience nowadays why is training in a similar fashion to the way we were trained as children still relevant.

Love to hear what you think.

Please leave a comment or email me

Or if possible leave a comment on Twitter @SeanDArcy66

Till next time


A Most Fascinating Player….

Over the last 3 or 4 weeks I have seen the most fascinating player I have come across in years. I know very little about him or his background but I have seen him play 3 times in that period. All I know for sure is that he is 14 years old.

So here are the facts he is right footed and shows above average technical ability for his age. He can control the ball as it comes to him to a good standard with both feet although he prefers to use right foot. He can strike the ball well and can shoot strongly with both feet. He can run with the ball and has decent 1 v 1 ability.

His most obvious flaw was that he was a really poor footballer.

He was fascinating to watch because he clearly had a good level of mastery of the ball but played football as if he had no idea how many opponents were in the other team and they just popped out of the ground randomly to surprise him.

At this point I think it is a good time to mention that he wasn’t a player who just looked to take players on all the time as we have all seen players who have a good technical level but just run with the ball constantly.

He was a player of huge contrasts. He had little difficulty controlling passes he received but he never scanned before they came to him. He played quite difficult first time passes comfortably although there was no real reason or advantage to play first time. When he ran with the ball a couple of times even though facing forwards and could see the whole picture in front of him he dummied to go into space then ran literally straight into 1 or 2 other defenders.

The way that first came to mind to describe him was that he had the technical ability of a good 14 year old player but played like a 7 year old.

The point of this blog is how a player manages to attain this level of mastery of the ball while still being at the very beginning of learning any mastery of the game itself.

I have followed the recent debate on Twitter about opposed and unopposed practices at training. I can’t help feel that this player has done lots of unopposed practice.

Therefore he has had less practice at the perceiving of the football situation and also the decision making about the football situation but he has done lots of practice at performing the football action.

I just found him fascinating as I couldn’t figure out any other reason unless there was some other (possibly medical) issue I know nothing about to explain how he could be so good and so bad at the same time.

Love to hear what you think.

Please leave a comment or email me

Or if possible leave a comment on Twitter @SeanDArcy66

Till next time