With most regular soccer seasons under way and Euro Cup 2012 about to take the soccer world by storm (June 8th) I felt it a good time to talk about the art of finishing in soccer. Or better yet, how to score a goal and who better than to learn from than Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
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.
I recently came across the story of ultra marathon runner Stu Mittleman. Stu’s story certainly puts the importance of training and goal setting into perspective. At one stage of his life he wasn’t even a runner and now he’s in the Ultra Marathon Running Hall of Fame. After reading the distances and times that he ran, think about the distances that you’re currently running in preparation for the upcoming season. Obviously the training for a soccer player and ultra marathon runner are completely different, however, it certainly puts things into perspective in terms of what people are willing to settle for in life.
If you’re looking to achieve maximum recovery between training sessions then there are specific steps you must follow. For starters, you have to treat your body the same way a race car driver treats his race car – with a lot of care. Race cars don’t take regular fuel and therefore you as a player can’t ingest the normal foods and liquids that the everyday person does. It’s also important to stay clear from certain foods. So why do this? If your goal is to get the best results from your training sessions you must take care of your body in the down time away from the pitch in order to get maximum recovery between training sessions.
Balance…that’s right, balance! Many people overlook balance and take it for granted. Balance is a skill. Balance requires practice…and a lot of it. The best players in the world all know this, do you? Here’s how you add balance to your game.
I recently watched the Toronto Raptors of the NBA take on the LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers was obviously the player to watch. After reading up on him I learned some interesting facts. Kobe Bryant is obviously an incredible talent but in a recent interview he stated that to prepare for the upcoming season he was up running at the track everyday at 6am. He then went on to take 1,000 shots from all around the court before team practice. For example, he had to make (not attempt) 400 free throws before moving on to the next shot. After team practice he watched up to three hours of game footage of himself and his opponents. He did this every single day of the summer in preparation for the upcoming season. Kobe is truly a student of the game and his success is no mistake. Success leaves trails and it is up to us to follow those same patterns.
Brazilian Ronaldo was nicknamed “the fenomeno” for his brilliance early in his career. However, unfortunately, many people remember him for his later years as a footballer. Those were the years when he let his body go in terms of conditioning. His lifestyle off the pitch had eventually caught up to him and his weight gain and poor conditioning shortened his career. Nevertheless, he is arguable still the best striker of all time. Despite two massive knee injuries in the prime of his career he was able to become world player of the year again and lead Brazil to world cup glory. In this blog we take a closer look at Ronaldo in his early days at FC Barcelona and what we can learn from the young fenomeno.
Remember the days when you learned how to jump with a jump rope? Whether those days were recent or several years ago, it’s time to bring jump rope training back into your routine. Yes I am referring to soccer training. Not only is the jump rope an excellent cardio work-out but it is also a great full body work out. In order to keep the jump sequences going you must have complete focus. Furthermore, you will greatly improve your foot work, foot speed and overall agility. All areas that are incredibly important to the development of your soccer game.
If you’re looking to improve your touch of the ball and overall soccer skills, I have provided some simple yet excellent drills you can do each day on your own that will surely help these areas of your game. Within days you see improvement in your overall ball control.
If you want to be faster player overall and have a quicker first step then it’s time you start running on the balls of your feet. There are a number of reasons for this:
- it will make you a lighter player when you run
- you will become a smoother player
- you will become more mobile. The more mobile you are with and without the ball, the more difficult you will become to stop
This blog is about shooting from half or as far out as 40 yards. I don’t recommend shooting from this distance regularly. However, if the opportunity arises seize it like any other scoring chance. The key element to scoring a goal from this distance, besides accuracy, is to surprise everyone including the goalie. Normally, goals that are scored from outside the box are not a surprise to anyone. The goalie simply isn’t able to move in time to save the ball. However, when shooting from even further out there is a key difference compared to a normal 25 yard shot.
I recently came across the video series “Code Red” on Manchester United. The series discusses the various exercises and training routines that Manchester United uses. In truth, there is much more preparation involved behind the scenes that most fans never see or learn about. Fortunately though, these brief videos provide an inside glimpse as to how they break down the various aspects of their training routine.