Hello Soccer Awareness friends,
Deliberate practice states that 80% of training should focus on 20% of the most important skills. So repetition of similar practices is of paramount importance.
The ability to possess the ball in tight spaces against high intensity opponents is vital to acquire for players to play at the higher levels.
This Applies to both on the ball and off the ball and hence our focuses with SAEA. Every individual practice we do involves a thinking process in terms of decision making, and of course some more than others.
We train the players on the EDGE of their ability in other words we create a challenging environment in EVERY individual practice, where mistakes can happen, but will be used by us and the players as opportunities to improve, essentially these mistakes are great learning moments and should be treated in a positive manner.
Over time with many training sessions with us the mistakes become fewer but not only that the play becomes quicker because the players are improving mentally (on and off the ball) and technically to maintain possession.
So therefore fewer mistakes but now in a much faster thinking and playing environment and this is a major sign of improvement in players.
This all takes time to develop mentally and physically.
The number of touches on the ball in a training session has to be high and we ensure this with our training model.
Again we combine faster play with faster thinking and faster decision making which produces many more touches because of it and this is all linked in our training.
What is very important also is the attention to detail in each practice, our staple rondos that all Barcelona teams from 6 years to senior level practice at every session are filled with many small details that when combined add up to important facts for improvement that really apply in the actual game situation. Many details perhaps some don't even realize?
Think about it, just in simple terms and without an in-depth explanation, we are working on technique, mobility, agility, body position, foot preparation, communication, the 1st touch, the 2nd touch, teamwork, collective tactical understanding, positioning OFF the ball, problem solving, and developing creativity, intensity, speeding up thinking and decision making, and ultimately providing a competitive environment and finally, I believe, they are fun to do.
And all done at an ever increasing pace over time
The brain as well as the body should be working overtime when each player brings their own intrinsic desire to the table. In many ways the brain even MORE than the body
I have been told players at Barcelona between the ages of 6 to 20 years will have practiced for up to 1800 hours on rondos.
I myself as ancient as I am have become better thru them in terms of my body position and foot preparation, I truly have and I love doing them with the players.
And we change up numbers, rules, number of touches, grid sizes (smaller and tighter), and variations of the rondos.
The more a player develops their cognitive ability in training the more of an intelligent player they become. The progressions, variations, and transitions in our training really help players stay intense and motivated but at the same time we need them to be relaxed on the ball. Two opposite thoughts, relaxation and intensity, so the feeling inside the head / body has to change in a second, in a heartbeat, and likely hundreds of times in a game and that itself takes much time to develop. Imagine that. Their brains are working overtime and it is as tiring learning this mentally as it is playing physically. But as they improve they develop good habits, one being the ability to have this mental and physical transition and once a great habit, it then becomes INSTINCTIVE and less mentally tiring because it isn't quite a thinking process anymore.
Training physically makes your body fitter; training mentally makes your brain fitter. The training of the brain is our forte I believe, and we address all the factors needed to make a better futbol player, but all in one way or another come back to the fitness, the education, the learning development, the thinking processes of the brain. It's the center of each players Universe.
So we go from a Conscious awareness to a Subconscious awareness, a major and massive development in their thinking processes to help the players reach the ZONE.
It is then we start to see the real futbol player develop like a caterpillar grows into a butterfly.
So we first have to undo various bad habits already acquired in some cases and that takes time, to then replace them with good / great habits (I will send an article on this topic of habits soon and explain how it works). It's a process.
One area away from the obvious playing ability improvements We have seen with various players who started from day one with us is the body posture, the body language of some players. They "Carry" themselves so much more confidently than they did. They stride into the training environment not walk in.
Sounding confident is easier to see, ok hear!!
Looking confident is harder to pick up by others perhaps but look around at the kids and see their behavior look at other parent’s kids too. It's a joy to behold.
And many players I'm sure don't even know they are doing it which is the really fun part for me.
But their inner confidence shines thru outwardly this way. It's beautiful to see and EVEN MORE important I bet their parents see this in their children away from the game too.
And this is another of our goals to help develop great human beings. You are all doing this already as parents of course, but we coaches see ourselves as a part of this too.
Being a father myself I relate to this like everyone does.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what our aims and objectives are for the players. Team development, tactical development, psychological development, social development it's a never ending challenge for us, and within it all, it is MOST important it is FUN.
Players can actually work really hard and play seriously and train seriously and STILL have a great big smile on their faces, we want to hear laughter in the ranks!!
It's an exciting time, thank you everyone for your support, I think what we teach is quite unique and as a coach and player developer We intend to keep improving our product to be the best it can ever be, regardless of what other organizations do, we want to be the best so will always provide 1000% service, love and passion to our programs.
Best wishes, Wayne