I see so many teams working out and playing soccer. They do all sorts of ball control drills, small game drills, and scrimmages.
Kids and balls are flying all over the place. It’s like a 100 yard pinball machine!
The problem is the kids don’t know how to stand and be ready. The ball (or their opponents) go flying past them. They turn their heads to watch, but it’s already too late.
If this is your team (or your kid), then you have to teach them to do athletic stances. You have to teach them how to be in a ready position and how to take that critical first step.
Because if they aren’t ready, they won’t be able to catch-up on defense. And they won’t be able to take advantage on offense. It all comes down to being ready.
I was working with a young soccer player today who has some physical disabilities and has had very limited exposure to athletics, sports or even exercise of any kind.
And like most of the athletes I watch, from 5 to 18, he had a hard time moving. His legs were straight and he stood fairly straight.
It doesn’t matter what sport it is either; soccer, basketball, lacrosse, softball or baseball. Most kids do not know how to get ready to move.
So rather than go into a bunch of technical jargon which would get him more confused than anything, I asked what his favorite animal was. Of course he said, “emperor penguin.”
Talk about not being a good mover on land!
Fortunately, his next favorite animal was a cheetah. Now, those guys know how to move. So we practiced stalking like a cheetah and getting ready to move like a cheetah and exploding like a cheetah.
He got it, or at least enough of it to greatly improve his skills. And he will remember the “cheetah stance”.
So have your kids or your team practice moving like an animal (hopefully, not a penguin). Knees bent. Body slightly leaning forward. Weight on the balls of the feet.
That’s all they really need to know.
They will need lots of practice to make it a habit and to give them the strength to do it all the time. Plus, when they get nervous or in stress situations, they might revert back.
But the first step every coach or parent needs to do is teach the team how to get ready to move.
And then, like a big cat, they will be the fastest on the pitch!