Making Soccer Great: Albert Puig on Why It Is So Important to Keep Your HEAD UP
Albert Puig is a former Barcelona F.C. Football Academy coach at La Masía, and now the Assistant Coach of New York City FC. A director with a UEFA PRO license, Albert Puig is determined to help American youth soccer coaches improve their craft.
With 35+ years experience as a coach, mentor, scout, instructor, author, and a speaker, Albert Puig has traveled the world spreading this methodology with unique results, including developing more than 100 players who are competing in top leagues around the globe. The founded APFC Courses as a way to spread this methodology to coaches, players, and parents in youth divisions.
Youth Soccer News: Head up! It’s the beginning, the alpha of it all.
The 4 critical steps to being a great player:
- If I have my head up I can look.
- If I am looking then I can understand.
- If I understand, I can make decisions.
- If I make good decisions, I’m a great player.
It all starts with head up! Everything else comes after.
It’s like driving a car; you need to look in order to avoid crashing.
In the same way, a soccer player must play through understanding the game and not by reactions — active vs reactive.
You control the ball with a purpose, an end goal and not the other way around; where you are under the mercy of where the ball goes and must react to these unknowns. You must seek to position yourself in the best scenarios.
A good soccer player must always have the head up (maintain a peripheral vision) when in possession of the ball and without it and be continuously gathering the most amount of information from his surroundings to speed up the key mechanisms of:
In my experience, the level of technique between a first division player and a third division player is usually 80% similar. The main difference is that the first division player is with her/his head up during the actions of the game.
Most of the actions taking place during a soccer match are made much easier if you have your head up —versus having the head down.
This is what elite players understand and dominate.
A pro player dominates the ball and the situation, thus playing through understanding and not through reaction.
In other words, an elite player isn’t playing blindly. We need to understand the principles of soccer, which are time-space-deception.
If I have my head up I will position myself in the free space — the principle of space.
The consequence of this I will have more time to execute once I receive the ball principle of time. Because of the two principles mentioned before, I will be able to effectively deceive my opponent making them think I will do something when instead I do another.
At APFC we understand the importance of this concept and have created this short video where coaches, players, and parents will understand Head Up.
The best form for the development of the soccer player is the constant circulation of the ball. Thus, ball reception sequences are constant. If the player has the ability, in each first touch of the ball, to generate an advantage over the game, then, we can afford to use an associative game. This is only possible through the application of action of head up
In Conclusion: Having the head up helps in achieving a superb decision making speed. This is what diferentiates great players.