August 2, 2007
One Of The Key Aspects To Effective Training Is…
Koach Karl - Here is Part 4 of Gary Allen's article…
One of the key aspects to effective training is to continually provide players with different types of challenges that are just beyond their grasp. Because of the varied and free-flowing nature of the game of soccer, doing so in an efficient way requires constant innovation, but also a huge amount of time on the ball in game-like situations for the players. It is mainly through inefficient experimentation that players learn intrinsically and efficiently, and develop the instincts for the game that are activated once they are engaged in full play.
"They had to work things out for themselves, as did Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, and if they fall below today's masters in technique, they tower above them in creative power. The same comparison can be made between Newton and the typical newly minted Ph.D. in physics."
Of major interest for all soccer fans, and really fans of any sport, is to watch an incredibly talented player solve problems in ways no one else has tried before. Highlight reels are loaded with heretofore-unseen feats.
It is interesting to note that some of the greatest players of all time: Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Platini, Bobby Charlton, etc. were not especially tall players, but each of them was electrifying to watch. Yet, because we tend to focus on the results of games, and selecting future stars out so early, our attention most often turns not to the player with a spark of something unique, but to the physical attributes of the precocious "early bloomers." While this may seem to reinforce collective efficiency at a given time, because of the nature of development, it ends up placing a premium on being bigger, faster and stronger, and eschewing the creative methods that less physically precocious athletes use to solve the problems of the game. In addition to bypassing many future potential stars, this focus also causes the "selected" players, in these very crucial years of their development, to learn to be successful by using a very rudimentary, direct style of play.
Soccer is a game played on a relatively large field. Arguments for years have centered on trying to make the field and the numbers per side smaller. Unfortunately, even though strides have been made in these areas, fields generally tend to be too large for younger players. This often results in footraces to balls driven into spaces that are mostly won by the bigger, stronger and faster players. Thus, in the formative years when they could be put in smaller environments that require them to solve problems by developing many different tools, these players are rewarded for relying almost exclusively on their precocious attributes. Thus, they learn to be efficient, direct players, but don't develop the creativity to work out different problems of the game for themselves.
"Motivation appears to be a more important factor than innate ability in the development of expertise."
This statement is immensely important, because it affects both the type of players we develop, as well as whom we develop. First, as to the type of players we develop, by placing such importance on the physically precocious player, we motivate those players to perpetuate the physical and direct style and method of play. The premium placed on winning games and having successful seasons actually diminishes any motivation for players to experiment, or try to solve a problem through guile or indirect and crafty play, because of the penalty for failure.