During the course of a soccer match, there are many times when a good athletic stance is necessary.
When I watch high school JV matches and youth soccer matches, I see lots of kids who should be in an athletic stance but never get there.
An athletic stance should have the knees bent and the weight on the balls of the feet. This position allows the body to move quickly and in any direction.
The head should be up and the hands low. Again, this permits the player to move quickly and in any direction.
This position does not come naturally for most players. It takes strength and awareness to get into the position.
It takes good conditioning to maintain the position.
It takes excellent endurance and lots of practice to be able to get into the position at the end of a game.
How do you get your team to practice the position?
Whenever the team is doing soccer drills, conditioning, or ball control drills have the players rest in an athletic stance. It’s not really a rest…they will have to be focused and working to do it.
The athletic stance is not just a stance. It is a position to achieve when you move. When playing defense players have to move backwards and diagonally. The should confront the ball handler to the side, forcing them to one direction of the pitch.
Or away from the ball, moving from an athletic stance to a run can give you a moments head start. One second is all a player needs to get advantage.
Again, this has to be taught, practiced and rehearsed.
At the lower level games I observe, the players don’t do it. They stand up straight with straight legs. They have to get ready before they run.
At the higher levels, the best players do it. I don’t think they got there because they are at a higher level of play.
They are at a higher level of play because they do the basics. They do the soccer basics all the time.
The kids on the bench are still trying to figure out why.
For more ways to bring the athletic stance to your team or child go to www.athleticskillsforsoccer.com. Soccer success is not just about ball control and tactics. If your kids don’t have the fundamental athletic skills, they won’t be successful. Click the link for soccer fitness and athletic skills.