Kids involved in Soccer from a very young age will inevitably practice and play to their strengths. I can hear you already argue that
“this is a good thing”
Soccer players these days have different skills and physical attributes. Some have lightning speed and can be seen burning up and down the flanks, others showcase their strength while man marking strikers and the strikers dazzle us with their short bursts and sharp turns. So what’s the point? Although senior players play to their strength I would strongly suggest that the youngsters do the opposite.
Are you scratching your head yet? Coaches in Europe and in the Soccer Academies devise training methods that create a better overall player. Player development is based on working on your weaknesses. The training programmes create a balance between the strong and weak skills of a player. When Kids are left to their own devices at training, they will only train and work on the fun areas of the game. Give any young child a ball and an empty goal and they will spend the whole afternoon shooting the ball into the empty net. Is this a good thing?
In order for any player to significantly improve he must first eliminate all his weaknesses. So how do we combat this? Most players these days are designated right foot or left foot. Why? Most players have a psychological block that denies them the chance to strike the ball with the opposite foot. Why would you allow your child to only develop one foot? The best youth coaches in the world ensure that their players develop both feet. Not every child has access to these coaches so how do we tackle this problem? If you are aware of the problem you can easily fix it. Let your player strike the ball with his “natural” foot. Set a target and let your player try and hit the target using his stronger foot. Watch the player and study the approach and the striking technique. After a certain amount of repetitions, change feet. The idea of this training method is to replicate the same technique on the less desired foot. If the player struggles to use his opposite foot I’ve got three words of encouragement. Do you know what they are?
Practice, Practice, Practice.
With practice, encouragement and a lot of patience the player will develop confidence in his less preferred leg. The confidence will allow the player to use both legs efficiently and remove the psychological block that denies them the chance to use both legs. Could your players or child benefit from this? Absolutely, how many kids do you know that can kick with both legs? If you do know any, they are definitely the minority. Being part of this minority is a great way to get noticed and separated from the other millions of players that grace the green turf.
Has anyone heard the saying
Good things come in two’s
I couldn’t agree more, the left foot and the right foot.
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