Passing the ball in-between you and your team-mate or dribble in-between the cones and shoot on net, or dribble from point A to point B while keeping your head up. I assume this sounds familiar. It has been the bread and butter the last 20 years in North America. With some coaches doing better variations of these drills. And yes, that is what these are….. drills. Remember, the number one reason why student-athletes join sport is to have fun and enjoy the sport, yet we typically drill the athlete to death all week and expect them to solve complex situational problems on Saturday or Sunday. You have to ask yourself? Is this fun? Does this prepare the athlete for Saturday’s game? Does this have the main principles of play, where the athlete can learn from? As you probably know, cones don’t have legs and don’t have the ability to grow them. If we are being blunt, dribbling through cones is boring, I challenge you as a parent to dribble through cones for 20 minutes and see how excited you get during and after the drill. Perhaps, you’re asking yourself how is the athlete going to get better technically. Since cones don’t move, don’t tackle, don’t add pressure, don’t provide a variety of lines, angles, space, distance, and timing… well the player isn’t getting much better, especially in the capacity of the decision making department. However… is there a better way to BLEND the cognition, technical, tactical, communication and character in an exercises that wouldn’t feel like a drill? The answer is YES with many many variations.
The one thing that really changes the landscape about these two situations is that one is much easier and has less preparation for the coaching staff than the other. The exercises or applications with different variations are a blessing in disguise for any volunteer or youth paid coach. The players know the application already and the coach just needs to provide coaching guidance, technical feedback and cognition cues to the players as they engage themselves in the exercises. Simple! Fun! And prepares the athlete for Saturday or Sunday’s Game! This blog is meant to poke the bear and re-think talent development not to provide a long essay or explanation of how modern day player development works from a curriculum point of view. I just want people in the local soccer community to start thinking that just maybe there is a different way of how to approach training.
If you are a Coach and need consulting or want to know more - contact Shawn Agnew @ firstname.lastname@example.org or Call / Text: 604 787 3976