Soccer Player IQ

Soccer Secrets to Better Decision Making

Unlike many other sports where set plays are drawn up and practiced in advance in the hope of implementing them in game-time situations (with stoppage play), soccer is a game of decision making where the majority of the decisions are taken by the players on the field in real time with no stoppage play. In a 90-minute game, the game will constantly evolve based on where the ball is on the field and what scenarios are presented to the players. A coach’s job is done in the weeks and days prior to the game, not during a game. Therefore, players need to have a well-developed soccer IQ in order to make proper decisions in split seconds over and over again. With that being said, how do you develop your soccer IQ? Below are certain strategies you can try-out with the aim of improved decision making in a game-time situation.

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Impacting your way into a team

You’re playing on a new team with new players, a different coach and they play a different system. Now you have to force your way into the line-up. How do you do it? Unless you’re a clinical goal scorer and can impact the game greatly, you’ll likely play where the team asks you to play. And yes, this could be in a position where you’re greater strengths are not as highlighted as before. This does not have to be a bad thing but now you have to do your best to understand your teammates, your opposition and communicate this as a unit. Here are three ways you can do so:

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Individual talent versus having a soccer IQ

After recently playing with a variety of new teams in a new city, I was surprised of the level of talent floating around Canada. More and more players are learning skills on their own and practicing tricks they’ve seen online. Not that long ago players had to learn tricks other ways but now thanks to youtube and other such social media tools, this footage is more readily available than ever before. However, what has also become more clear is we are developing many individually skilled players that have little to no idea how to play the game as a team.

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Becoming the player you want to be

There’s a danger in assuming your passion and skill will take you where you want to go.  I’ve seen players upon players who have the quality to become a professional simply fizzle out into the background.  This isn’t true for all cases, but definitely for the majority of cases. Most players are looking for a map: here’s how you train, here’s where…

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Nothing to prove?

This idea that you “have nothing to prove” needs to be re-evaluated.  If this is how you think then you need to re-think your ideas. Every time you step on the pitch you should have something to prove! This applies to all players at all levels of play.

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Don’t get so caught up in your position on the field

Positions on the field are overrated.  When a player is assigned to a central midfield role, for example, he/she will limit the options to their game. The thought process goes something like this: If I’m playing center midfield, well then I can’t go there and I can’t do that.  I’m here to suggest that you shouldn’t get so attached to your position.  What’s more important is team movement.

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What is soccer for?

In many of our blogs on Goalden, we’ve talked about the lack of a system in North America to develop players that have the calibre required to play at any level in the world.  When someone tells me something isn’t good, I like to ask: ‘ok, well compared to what?’  In this particular situation, I am talking about the North American soccer system compared to the European soccer system which, without a doubt, is the best in the world.  But what if we’re asking the wrong question?  What if we’re comparing it to the wrong system?  What if we have the wrong goals?  Suddenly, things change…

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A lesson for all ages

“What a lesson for these young people, that if you share, you give up some of yourself for everyone around you, if you care more about your teammates than yourself, it’s amazing what you can accomplish,” Kentucky coach John Calipari after winning the 2012 NCAA national championship.

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How to become a master

Canadian journalist, author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the 10,000 rule where he says if you want to become a master in anything then you must practice for 10,000 hours. Now 10,000 hours is a long time and will require a lot of hard work but let’s break this down and look at some professionals who did this. Afterward, it won’t be such a surprise that they became the best in  their field.

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