“Football is played with the head. Your feet are just the tools.” Andrea Pirlo
We work with coaches, clubs and coaching organizations every day. Styles, objectives, and goals are different based on environment, backgrounds and philosophy. StriveFar will highlight coaching styles, objectives, and philosophies that we believe have a positive impact on the development of the athlete.
SIQ Academy (www.siqacademy.com) started running year rounds clinics in Denver, Colorado in 2014. The curriculum, for U8 – U13 boys and girls, teaches European possession style soccer . The focus is on improving the athlete’s technique, awareness, and soccer IQ in a team setting.
Recently I watched my daughter play in the State Cup soccer finals. Was her team as talented as their opponent? Debatable. Could they have won the game? Definitely! Were they as confident? No. Did they play smart soccer? No.
The girls lost this game because they reverted from possession soccer to “Boot-ball”. Boot-ball is very effective at the younger age, you need fast forwards and a strong kick. Similar to basketball, lacrosse, football…. as the athletes mature, speed and size is no longer a primary advantage – skill and smarts separate the teams.
Skill, technique and footwork require repetition and instruction. The more reps, the more confident the athlete plays on the field or court.
IQ in sports is often defined in sports as the ability of the athlete above the shoulders. How the athlete makes decisions and reacts to the changing dynamics during a game. Effective situational decision-making, while keeping up with the speed of play elevates an athlete with similar athletic and technical ability.
Leading up to the State Cup Finals, my daughter’s team trained hard to possess the ball and connect passes. As they progressed through the tournament, playing slower teams, their possession soccer resembled the Spanish National Team. Receive the ball, connect passes, and attack when the opportunity was available
In the finals, they reverted to rec style boot ball. Instead of calmly receiving and knowing what to do with the ball, they “booted” it. They lacked the confidence to control the ball when a defender was charging.
Why is this important?
There are camps and clinic such as Coerver that provide technical training to improve first touch and an assortment of moves and turns. Important, yes, but Coerver and skills camps do not teach game strategy and soccer IQ. There is a limit to the effectiveness of the learning taught at Coerver.
Organizations such as SIQ Academy provide the instruction that helps the player improve:
Technique: Developing the player’s technique with specific purpose to play possession soccer. Learn to receive the ball in a way that allows a player to possess or attack.
Awareness: The player should know what to do with the ball before it is received.
Speed of Play: Technique and awareness need to become second nature in order to play fast – natural reactions instead of thinking. When the speed of play and aggressiveness increased, my daughter’s team reverted back to an old habit of booting the ball, instead of possessing and passing.
SIQ Academy believes that knowledge is the root for confidence. Players who know what they should do on the field in specific situations feel much more comfortable during the game in high-pressure situations.
Individual technical & skill development are critical for the players’ development. It gives them confidence on the field. Understanding the game, decision-making, and soccer awareness creates a complete player.
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