FOOTWORK BALANCE TOUCH INTELLIGENCE
Unique Technical Development Opportunity
TST is like nothing else available. Players will be challenged technically whilst having fun. Overtime players will find that they have an ability on the ball over and above those around them. The key word here is overtime. There is no magic wand when it comes to soccer development…….
Weak Foot Development
Too many good players are not 2 footed, and these players find it hard to take the initial steps required to become a 2-footed player.
However, it is such an easy technical weakness to develop, as long as time is spent developing it.
At TST weak foot development is an important part of the program. Unlike team coaches who need to win games, TST can afford to spend time developing the ball striking technique of the weak foot. We can take the time to break it down into its component parts and build it back up into a technically correct strike.
The Small Group Program
Groups of between 3 and 6 players are a great way to maximize technical developmental opportunities. It is important to note that all players in a group are of similar standards and all have similar attitudes towards developing their technical ability.
We recommend all players try these sessions!
However, opportunities exist for 1 on 1 coaching. These sessions are especially useful for specific technical weaknesses (for example; Weak foot development and ball striking in general), as well as allowing the focus to be wholly on an individual and their needs. They can be quite intense for a child and the games that can be played in a slightly bigger group are not part of the program. These sessions are about individual technical development in isolation. The fun needs to be in the challenge of learning and improving. A player needs to be very focused and determined to get the most out of these sessions.
Dexterity of Touch leads to the ability to play with the head up.
This covers a whole list of technical attributes and is relevant regardless of whether a player has 1 or 10 touches on the ball.
The most important long-term goal is that players can manipulate the ball around their feet and body, quickly and efficiently, without actually looking directly at the ball at all. With the right technical guidance, a player’s touch (weight and precision of touch), while interacting with the ball, becomes so precise that the feet know where the ball is, even if eyes are up.
Why is this important? It is important because a player needs their eye’s up as much as possible so that a player can be ‘looking at where the game is as often as possible, and not where the ball is!’.
It is impossible to play excellent soccer, and make excellent decisions, if you are looking at your feet.
Control, Touch and First Touch
The list is long when it comes to different ways to control the ball. Other than the obvious ways of controlling the ball, what about disguising your touch, dropping your touch, half volley touches and controlling the ball on the full.
But also note that being able to control a ball is not the same as having a good first touch. Much of the game is about manipulating time and space, solving pressure problems and setting up the next phase of play. An excellent first touch will do these things. So a first touch is about combining good control with intelligent decision making. This process is a critical part of the TST curriculum.
Footwork : Lateral movement, 1v1s, Turns
The ability for players to move the ball in all directions (relative to the pressure) is a critical technique in soccer. The ability to move with the ball to deal with pressure (evade or go past) is possible one of the most important technical areas but quite often the most neglected.
TST however, works hard to give players the ability to play in all directions, to deal with pressure (evade, go past, turn etc) and tries to do this both in isolation (to get the fixed repetition) and in a fun way using specifically designed games to further develop these specific technical components of the game (using variable repetition).
Passing Accuracy under Pressure
Everyone talks about the first touch being a players most important touch and there can be no doubt it is essential that a players first touch is good, but in reality it is a players last touch which is the most important. A player’s last touch defines how productive their time on the ball has been. At TST accurate passing combined with good decision-making makes up a huge part of the program.
After all the whole point of the game is to ultimately release the ball.
Vision – Awareness – Analysis – Decision
Ultimately the game is a decision-making exercise. Most players can develop great technique, but for most players they develop good technique too late. By the time they have good technique they are too old too learn the even more important task of learning how to best use their technique.
At TST the goal is to get the technique (touch, footwork on and around the ball, Balance etc) nailed as early as possible and then where ever possible get players to play with their head up. Only then will players have the opportunity to make the decisions required to play top-level soccer.
So only when touch and footwork is advanced can the real game begin: That is;
It is not what you can do with a ball that matters as much as when and why you do it.
TST’s view is that
“Excellent technique is the base which allows a player to play excellent soccer”
Development is a Long Term Project
There is no magic wand when it comes to individual technical development. It takes hard work, time, practice, direction (guidance and a framework) and patience.
At TST however we aim to prepare young players for the future. A lot of skills practiced and developed today, may not have a massive impact in games for a couple of years after their introduction, for a number of reasons.
The dexterity of touch and level of execution may be difficult to acquire and so needs time to get up to ‘game’ standard.
Young players may not have the intelligence or maturity to know when to best use certain techniques and so will need to experiment with their decision-making processes, in order to learn valuable lessons.
Players may not be able to fully utilize skills until they mature physically. 1-on-1 skills are a great example of a skill which, when young, may be hard to make work due to a lack of explosive power, speed and strength.
However when all these factors (maturity, intelligence, experience, as well as power, speed and strength) all align wouldn’t it be great to have the technique just ready and waiting to be used intelligently?
Why technique is often neglected when young only for it to be too late to acquire when older
Too many players and coaches neglect anything that does not have any immediate effect on performance. This might seem to make sense especially when you consider the fact that the needs of a 10 year old player in a game are different to the needs of a 16 year old player in a game.
But this is the big paradox. If a 16 year olds wants to be advanced technically at 16, then they need to start developing towards this at age 10 (or even younger but not much later), even though this may make little difference to their ability in games at U10 level. If 16 year old decides to develop advanced technique at 16, it is probably too late.
TST players, who start young, develop touch and footwork way ahead of the time they will mostly likely need them (in games). In turn this means they can jump into the decision-making component of the game, the real essence of playing the game, once the time is right.
Who is welcome at TST
Any player is welcome at TST as long as there is a suitable group (players of similar attitude and technical ability) to join.
TST would love to produce a long line of Soccerros, (and we have helped players who have played for Australia (full and Junior level) and for professional clubs) the players we most want to help are the ones who love the game and are passionate about improvement. If this is your child, then they are welcome!!
However, the more natural talent a player has, then the more benefit they will get out the program. Naturally talented players pick things up quickly. Players with natural game intelligence learn how to apply things quickly in games.
Natural talented players who are intelligent potentially have a big future in game!
Having these sorts of players involved in the TST technical development program, allows not only the program to introduce progressively more difficult technical challenges, but it also means players can play the game in an increasingly advanced way, at a much earlier stage than they otherwise would have been able to do.
This program is also especially important to elite junior female players (who show potential both from an athletic point of view but also with a ball) who may not be getting enough technical exposure to the game. Any girl with athleticism, enthusiasm and an ability with a ball (which at 10 years old can match any boy) can go along way in the sport with the right guidance and technical framework in place. We have have helped girls reach as far as the Matildas.
Having speed is another massive weapon as a football player. Quite often players with speed get used by coaches and players to win games. Long balls over the top to the fast player may win games but it does not develop football players. If you child is very quick then TST is an essential development tool for your child, as we take speed completely out the equation. TST is about technique and intelligence. Develop this and then add speed then we are talking about a player who can go a long way in the game.
Fun and Relaxed
TST is not a boot camp.
All players at TST should be committed and there to learn, and if that can be done with a smile on their faces then even better.
The sessions are hopefully fun and it is expected that players enjoy their sessions, whilst also taking them seriously.
We isolate footwork to get the repetition of fundamental and essential game functional footwork patterns (not the most fun thing the world admittedly, although the challenge and development of these is very rewarding).
Otherwise sessions are very much game based (mostly) and players are encouraged, supported, and allowed to develop at a speed their natural talent allows.
Any player who can’t focus and is a distraction to others is not welcome at TST.
FOOTWORK BALANCE TOUCH INTELLIGENCE