As The Game Gets Faster, Quick Thinking Is More Important Than Ever
Wayne Harrison is known for his approach to player development. Internationally recognized for his coaching leadership and experience, Harrison has written and published many books on soccer and player development as well as several coaching videos. Visit SoccerAwareness for more information.
Soccer News: Soccer is a thinking game and it begins in the head of each player.
Soccer Awareness is all about developing the mind of each player.
Goal = Developing the Thinking Player.
One Touch Mentality is more than playing one-touch. It is about scanning the field and knowing your options before you get the ball. It is about thinking first and then your actions.
There is a real link between the cognitive development thinking process and teaching how to really play great soccer with a one-touch mentality,
As we all recognize, the game of soccer has been getting faster and faster, requiring greater accuracy but with fewer touches on the ball. This speed of the game creates the need for quick thinking with more intelligent movement off the ball.
It all adds up to better decision-making players
The important questions have always been: WHEN, WHERE, HOW and WHY.
Whether you are a player watching your teammates play, a coach working with players or a soccer parent on the sideline, how often do you see a soccer ball arrive at a players’ feet and he or she doesn’t know what to do next?
The speed of the game is now less forgiving than in past years and players must learn how to think before they receive the ball. How a player plays without the ball is as important as what they do when they have the ball.
After more years coaching youth soccer than I want to admit, I can tell you there are three different groups of players:
- Youth soccer players who a thinking ahead and can anticipate what is happening before it does
- Youth soccer players who realize what is happening but only as it is happening
- Youth soccer players who never seem to know what’s going until it is too late
We need to teach our youth soccer players to see the game unfold before it happens.
We should train their “minds” to sub-consciously be Proactive rather than be Reactive. The net result is the game cognitively slows down for them, even if all around is chaos.
My goal is to develop behavior that is automatic and subconscious and develop great habits at a very young age. The Focus is to teach the ONE Touch “MENTALITY” and this does not always mean playing ONE-touch soccer.
The goal is to create time and space to realize the optional choices.
Everyone makes mistakes, but it is the player who learns from his or her mistake(s) and starts thinking quickly — they are the ones who will develop into better, elite players who can make an impact on the game.
Advice: How often do you look over your shoulder before you receive the ball? Have you scanned the field to discover your best options?
Related Soccer News: Wayne Harrison on THE ART OF SOCCER AWARENESS