Grassroots football teams in England face a common dilemma and that is the lack of contact time with players. The most that players of local football teams can expect is one or two coaching sessions at their club each week. That is definitely not enough time for proper football coaching. I believe that personal football training with either a parent or coach can help with this. Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book, Outliers, that to be an expert at anything, no less than 10,000 hours of focused practice over a 10 year period is required.
Each week, England’s elite academy players get about 9-12 hours of coaching. I think professional clubs would like to increase the coaching hours if possible. That’s because they understand that they need to make regular contact with their players if they are to show any drastic improvements.
One more issue is the fact that this is the digital age and more English children are opting to just play video games or use their mobile phones. When you factor in the reduced free outdoor playing surfaces then you’ll begin to understand why England is no longer producing the same amount of talented footballers as it did before.
What is the Solution?
Regular one to one support is the usual solution for schoolchildren who struggle in certain subjects. The reason for this is that the school recognises that for the struggling child to have success with the subject and be at the same level as the rest of the class they will have to be given personal tuition. It is the same in football.
Kids no longer spend the time to develop the critical skills needed to play the game properly due to the demise of street football. I am amazed at what extra personal football training can do to make a player who’s one footed and has a little understanding of the game to someone who knows the game better and capable of using both sides. My belief is that personal coaching benefits players of every age, but it is most beneficial for players aged 5 to 9. With this kind of coaching, I am quite convinced that good habits can be installed which can prove invaluable to any young player’s subsequent playing career.
The typical personal football training session has the following:
- Consultation/developing the program.
- Ball orientated warm-up.
- Critical skills i.e. Passing, Running with the ball, ball mastery, etc.
- Training, game situation (Decision making, awareness).
- Cool down.
This short video will give you more insight into personal football training.
“The coach’s job is simply to help the player’s play better soccer. He accomplishes this by accelerating the learning process”. Larry Paul.
What is Personal Football Training?
Personal football training hones in on the development of player technique as it is a more concentrated service. It is one to one or in small groups (2 to 6). That way, actions and situations that are usually missed are noticed regularly and easier to correct.
Every time I have a coaching session, my first priority is to create the right learning environment. To produce players who have great game understanding, I try to merge “street soccer’ elements in my methods. It can be difficult to carry out in one to one coaching, tough. But you need not be discouraged and just infuse more creativity in your coaching.
When players only keep practising techniques then they will not know how to make the right decisions or when to use those techniques within the real games they play. An example of what can turn a simple practice from being isolated to realistic is the simple cue of raising your hand so that the player has to look at which hand you are raising while dribbling. One way of accelerating the learning process is by testing both the player’s technique and decision-making.
Practice Makes Permanent
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, he claims that through his 10,000-hour rule, anyone is capable of achieving greatness but it is going to take a tremendous amount of practice. The claims that he made are very clear in many of today’s sports stars such as tennis superstars the Williams sisters. They repeatedly practised and honed their tennis skills 5-6 times every week from a young age.
Another example of this is golf superstar Tiger Woods, who relentlessly practised from his childhood days and has resulted in him being one of the greatest golfers ever to play the game of golf. Yet another example is Lewis Hamilton, the star driver who honed his abilities relentlessly from childhood to become the expert that he is today. By simply looking at the top football players today, you’ll find that they were completely dedicated to their sport from their formative years. That should make us question whether our kids could actually become successful in the sports from just 2 hours of coaching every week.
Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule requires that a player puts in 3 hours a day over a period of 10 years in practising. That sounds a lot but it’s never going to seem like work if you love what you are doing. Remember though that it is only a guide and you are not compelled to do it for a decade so you are quite free to make adjustments as you see fit.
Personal football training is undoubtedly going to be helpful to players who want to improve their game seriously. At a time when “street soccer” has largely been replaced by video games and social media, it is important to find alternative ways of producing talented soccer players has never been greater. It is also ideal for parents and players who have a hard time going to training since the coaching sessions can be held in most training venues.
Let’s Play the Game Ltd. is a provider of excellent personal football training in Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, and Solihull. For those who would like to try our services don’t hesitate to contact us. Like our Facebook page or subscribe to our You Tube channel for great one to one football tips.
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