One of the reasons I love soccer is the mental strategy of the game. Every move requires a counter move from the opponent. It requires players to not just look at the ball, but rather look at their teammates and opponents. Where are teammates and opponents on the field? How can we move the ball down the field? Who is in the position to score? Soccer players must have the confidence in their skills to see the dynamics on the field.
If you calculate the time a player has their foot on the ball during a 90 minute game, the number will probably be shocking. Most soccer athletes don’t have the ball for more than a total of 60–90 seconds during the entire game. So what are you doing for 88-89 minutes without the ball? What are your movements? How are you creating space? Are you creating strategic opportunities?
Especially at the beginning, soccer players tend to look down at their feet and watch themselves dribble the ball. In order to look up, the soccer player must have confidence in their touches and dribbling. This ability to look up and understand the dynamics on the field enables players to become more adventurous, and more successful, in their style of play.
I enjoy coaching at Excel because it gives me the opportunity to build a soccer players’ confidence in their skills and understanding of the game. There is nothing more rewarding than to have an athlete come into Excel after a weekend of games to tell me how well they played. Just today, I talked to a 9 year-old boy who I’ve been training since January. After playing travel and club soccer for the past two years, this young man scored his first goal ever just last weekend. This weekend, he scored again! I’m truly pleased with his progress.
The purpose of Excel Soccer Skills is to provide an opportunity for athletes to practice consistency of the fundamentals of soccer. Time and time again, I see athletes become more adventurous and more strategic in their play as they become more consistent and confident in their skills.
Soccer is a beautiful sport. I want my soccer players to go beyond the fundamental skills to learn and develop their own understanding of the game. Keep up the good work. And keep sharing your stories. I love hearing about your soccer successes!