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Power of Training Solo

Internal Drive. Joy. Commitment. Discipline. Desire. Inspiration.
Social. Fun. Training to Prepare. Fear. Competition. Sweat.

What is one thing that these words have in common?

Motivation.

Everybody is motivated differently. Some people seem naturally motivated and others need a nudge, push or pull.

The good news is everyone has motivation but it can take a little cajoling to find the right mix.


As you know, the world is experiencing an unexpected break. But, it can be an opportunity.

Yes, players are missing soccer badly.

Supporters and fanatics can't march to professional matches and chant in unison.


Coaches miss laying down perfect cone lines and helping players get just a little better each day.


Parents actually miss road trips and watching their players compete.

What can you or your player(s) do during this downtime?

The answer is as easy as......

P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E and T-A-K-E C-O-N-T-R-O-L.

It has been fantastic to see the amount of positive support from coaches, clubs and organizations working hard to give players ideas to take ownership of their individual development.

From the grassroots level to the top professional ranks, all people are working to connect and learn from each other all around us.

There have been social media campaigns to challenge players and teams.

Clubs are challenging other clubs in online friendly competitions.

There are virtual team trainings with and without the ball led by coaches and players.

Free access to apps with amazing content and tutorials.

YouTube videos and webinars are popping up across the board.

Interviews with alumni who are willing to share their experiences playing at a higher level in college or professionally.

It really has been remarkable! (*clap) (*clap) (*clap) 

Everyone realizes how difficult it is to replicate playing at game speed or recreating "the game."

But, we cannot discount what it means, internally, to each player who dedicates their time to improve, in their own way. The players who take on this challenge are developing better habits, being proactive, taking control of their future in more ways than just soccer.

There is one of the most common and simple ways coaches encourage players to do something on their own: Juggling.

The power of training solo and learning how to juggle with various body parts is a big deal.

As players try and fail and try and fail and try and fail and try and fail and repeat for hours and hours on end, they are slowly gaining valuable information.

It can be frustratingly painful for some.

Other players just can't handle the difficulty.

Maybe they lack the focus at this time.

Maybe they think juggling is a useless skill that doesn't relate to the game.

Ball ‘Feeling’, Control, Confidence, Determination, Technique, Strength, Coordination…...just some reasons to enjoy juggling.

Plus, you can do this solo. Nothing needed but you and a ball. 

Oh, and time. Lots of it.

The tangible and intangible characteristics compound over time. It becomes automated. Instinctual. Like riding a bike.

This seems so obvious to encourage juggling. It's not obvious to all which is why this is important.

There is REAL power in subtle, repeated self encouragement to persist through the struggles of the juggles.

Coaches can be piling on heaps of encouragement too. Incentives can work.

We use color coded wrist bands at Coerver® Ohio programs. Kids love it!

10 juggles, feet only. BAM - you get a yellow wrist band. Go for 20 and you'll get the green band. "You've got this!"

It’s A LOT of failure. And we know how much people don’t like to fail.
But those willing to put themselves in this mental state of failure will ultimately succeed. Counterintuitive, right?

In due time, players who have put in the time, will have the ability to be more composed with the ball. Players with confident juggle ability will now have more time and space to make better decisions because they do not have to worry.

Worry….Why would players worry?

When a ball is approaching a player on the ground or in the air, they realize they will need to do something (good) with it. Now, if the ball bounces away on their first touch to their opponent or out of bounds every time, they will become frustrated because they cannot be productive, like dribble (running with the ball), pass or take a shot. It’s also simply less fun.

Teammates will also become frustrated with players who cannot control the ball and do something good with it. Over time, players can become too worried and over compensate because they know there is some external and internal pressure to do something good with the ball.

Players who do not worry as much can have more fun focusing on other parts of the game. Like dribbling.

Running with the ball otherwise known as dribbling is a very important skill for players to have. Speed dribbling is increasingly overlooked as an important skill. Many players lack the confidence to dribble the ball well, with speed, and take players on to get beyond them.

Why?

2 Reasons: it’s risky AND it’s not practiced enough.

Players who are less confident with the ball do not want to worry about losing the ball, so they choose to pass. 

Here are several reasons why it’s a risk to dribble: 

1. They want to do something good with the ball but getting past a defender is tough. 

2. Their teammates get frustrated when they lose possession. 

3. The coach is unhappy when they lose possession so they get subbed out of the game. 

4. Parents and the dreaded car ride home. 

5. Fans and supporters can become frustrated when perceived good decisions are missed. 

How can players overcome this stigma?

Idea: Practice speed dribbling. Incorporate aggressive and deceptive 1v1 moves into training.
Have the courage to be persistent and invest in the long term success. 

Over time, players can develop the skill, confidence and creativity to endure high pressure moments while having instinctual habits to take risks and solve problems using the dribble.

Dangerous players off the dribble are able to create much more dangerous passing and goal scoring chances as well. Defenders will offer more space as a sign of respect or fear of getting beat.

When players are back in the team environment, it will also help tremendously when coaches are supportive, open-minded and can structure training to allow for 1v1 risk taking and creative moments to flourish. It’s competitive and fun for players. Sink or swim. The pressure is good and players will walk away having learned every time.

There are more than enough good pass-first players in the world.

We can use more 1v1 artists that can improvise and create. From all positions.

Imagine if every player on the field had the ability to win the majority of their 1v1 duels.

Training alone could be considered the backbone of their ability. 

Players should enjoy training alone. It’s shouldn’t be worse than going to the dentist.

There is so much a player can do to add to their skill sets.

Encourage them to be as creative as they’d like with their solo exercises. Ask them to come up with their own Individual Development Plan. Feel free to give ideas to support them.

There is always more than one way and players should feel empowered by all the hard work they put in, when nobody is looking.

Help your player(s) Design their Individual Development Plan (IDP) today or contact us to discuss your ideas.


Written by: Sam Fiore 4/19/20
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