There is lots of nonsense written about playing football in the streets in years gone by. Some of the articles I have read seem to have completely lost the plot. There are no magical qualities in playing football on tarmac or bumpy wasteland or in games that involve 26-a-side.
Personally I don’t think there is anything lost in the mists of time. We can do similar things now but it is harder than simply opening your front door and walking out of your house with a ball under your arm.
For me the so called ‘magical qualities’ of street football are more about
1 – The amount of hours the game of football was played.
2 -The games played generally had all the elements of football involved i.e team mates, opposition, direction and a way to score.
3 – The players had a level of autonomy.
I am not going to go into all the benefits that this brings as I think that has been covered numerous times even in the articles that romanticise playing in the streets to a ridiculous extent.
So let’s address the points above one at a time.
1 – Amount of hours playing football – Could we as Coaches schedule in an extra session each week were the players played football from start to finish or possibly every 2/3 weeks just have a session like this.
Obviously with careful management we can still allow the players autonomy here but you could include elements of what you have been working on i.e goals from crosses worth double, blocked shot worth a goal to the defence etc.
2 – Could we use more Games Based Training instead of drills in our sessions?
3 – Perhaps the most difficult part can we allow the players to make some decisions about how a session is run. Can we listen to their feedback, notice their body language and find a balance between what we as Coaches want to do and what the players want.
The point of this blog is simple don’t get bogged down in the details just remember we can find other ways to bring the same benefits playing on the street brought if we think about it enough.
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Till next time