See - Dream - Do
It’s one in a million who can come up with something truly unique. For most of us, coming up with a truly new move, skill, technique etc isn’t going to happen. On the other hand, if we can see something done, we can then dream about how to do it (or maybe even do it better) and then with work get to the point where we can actually do it.
It’s great to be able to see a Messi or a Marta do a move in a game that frees them from 2,3 or even 4 players. The problem is it’s frequently done so quickly and at an angle that makes it difficult for players to truly see it and understand how it’s done. At that point, it’s hard for them to dream about doing it or actually do it.
While I have never bee a fan of juggling simply for the sake of juggling (especially in training sessions when time is so limited) giving players the opportunity to watch fast footwork, talented performers and new moves and skills that many can only dream about is a great way to encourage players to be creative, take chances and become the player many admire and few help develop.
Once a month consider taking some time and showing players videos such as “Freestyle Soccer” featuring the Futboleros. Let them watch the quick flicks, subtle touches and fast footwork and then take them out the field.
Give them 15 minutes to watch the video and then 15 minutes to work on their own freestyle. See who can be the most creative. Encourage them to take chances.
Next, create a competition for a week or so later. Encourage them to work in groups of two or threes and see who can come up with the best “show”. All of a sudden players who normally don’t touch a ball outside of formal practices and games now are working out on their own. It might not be traditional soccer training but any touches on a ball are good touches and the more they do this on their own the more likely they are to be able to apply some of those skills in a game. So much of what the players need is the confidence to try things and working on these types of touches will help them get that type of confidence.
Freestyle soccer shouldn’t be used as a replacement for soccer training but done alongside it can give you some pretty interesting results.
Give it a try!