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We seem to have embraced a circus approach to training. As coaches we feel compelled to change a drill every six minutes and make up sensationally complex exercises to keep the attention of the players.
We are not entertainers; we are trainers.
We do not need light shows, fireworks, or half time rock stars to motivate our children to play soccer.
What we need to consider is how children develop and how they learn. How they process information and how they wire experience into an ever growing skill set. When we do this, we will probably do a lot less and accomplish a lot more.
We do know that our players learn through the recognition of patterns. They apply what they have seen, heard, and experienced before to similar situations. They do that pretty well as it turns out. It allows them to apply concepts to complexity. It allows our players to seek solutions with the confidence they have tackled the scenario several times before.
Unless, of course, they have not seen the same scenario several times before.
If they have seen one thousand different drills, pattern recognition becomes quite difficult. If we expect them to master a skill or a concept in six minutes we are woefully misguided.
"Remember that it may take some time for lessons or concepts to sink into young brains. Repetition over time will help form those memories and associations so that they stick." (Dan Peterson)
Consider cleaning out the drill closet a bit.
Focus on rondos, position play games, and training games to present a repetitive but dynamic series of learning activities.
Then let the kids go home and sleep on it.
When you wake up a few Saturdays from now, you will be delighted by the way your players play the beautiful game.
Just takes a little courage to toss your drills.
Reprinted with kind permission from Todd Beane
Founder of TOVO Training and TOVO Academy Barcelona. In TOVO Training, Beane has combined proven pedagogical practices of experts in the field of education with the visionary components of a total football legend into a dynamic and practical training methodology.
Christchurch United FC is rethinking Talent Development with TOVO Academy Barcelona which is regarded the best holistic program in Europe for players aiming to excel in football and beyond.
"Training extraordinary educators and crazy good coaches." - Todd Beane