Recently in one of the many debates that I see discussed (rage) over Twitter about benefits of isolated practice one person chipped into a conversation with the tweet
‘If you can’t control ball you can’t make a decision. Technique first. No brainer’
and then left immediately as if he had stated the obvious and surely everyone would understand now.
I know how he felt as I heard a comment very similar to this perhaps 20 years ago. At the time, it really resonated with me and provoked a mental image of a perfectly weighted pass being completely miscontrolled in front of goal. Of course, it just seemed to make perfect sense you have to have the technique before anything else. I was hooked.
In hindsight, I took this completely on face value and yet this thinking had a strong influence over how I coached for quite a number of years.
As is fashionable at the moment I am going to write this blog in the style of a letter to my younger self.
The first advice I would give to my younger self would be why don’t you ask a few questions because anything that is worth basing how you are going to coach on deserves to be checked thoroughly.
If ‘can’t control ball can’t make a decision’ is the basis of your coaching then what type of coaching do you do with a player who can consistently control the ball.
What level of controlling the ball does a player need to reach before they can train with decisions.
You constantly tell the players you coach that the best players know what they are going to do before they get the ball. Why haven’t you considered there is some conflict between this and the way you coach. Shouldn’t the fact that you believe technique should be taught first yet you tell the players that a decision comes first in a game at least set off a few warning bells?
Why do you tell players the old chestnut ‘the top 3 inches are the most important part of your body’ then remove players getting practice making decisions from large parts of your training?
Why haven’t you considered what affect adding decisions into the mix at a later stage will have.
Why don’t you consider your training might be the reason when players display good levels of technique in sessions but less so in games. Why don’t you think about what is the difference between your training and the game?
Why do you lament that ‘young players today’ can’t read the game or suggest young players don’t play enough football and then play so little football yourself in the sessions you plan?
There are many other questions but the last one is this why when in other walks of your life you always look for the best way yet with your passion, football, you simply copy what everyone else is doing.
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Till next time