Speed Variations

Has anyone ever made a visit to an arcade with one of those old pinball machines?.  Some people take their time with the controls, careful to judge and decide when to press the buttons, the classic decision making approach.  On the other hand you have those who simply press those controls frantically hoping that by luck or faith one of their shots will come good, a frantic approach at speed and with little thought or care.  Football now day’s has resemblance to both those approaches.

Pinball Machine

The game of football is suppose to be a game of skill and decisions, a thoughtful contest that intelligent footballers shine in, the beautiful game where decision making is key! Unfortunately football has those contrasting styles and approaches similar to that of the pinball machine players.  You’ll not have to travel far to find a match and see the football booted around relentlessly all at a frantic pace with little thought, with little patience, with little skill.  A contest of strength and fitness played at a frantic speed where there is little time for players to think or make decisions.

Are the players to blame for this or is it the coaches.  How many times do we see coaches demand 100% effort?  Giving 100% effort is often a reference to the willingness to chase and scrap for the ball now days.  Why is giving 100% effort rarely used as reference to demand that a player be composed, calm, intelligent, make good decisions, be brave and patient.

Maybe the fan/crowd who attends games is to blame? How often now days do we see a crowd demand tempo and speed to attacks regardless of its value during that situation, pressuring the players into poor thoughtless decisions.  Where are the players who recognize when to play quickly and when to slow the game down? 

Irish fans

How often will people refer to the tempo of play in Spain (La Liga) as being “Much slower than the English Premier League”.  Yes the statistics will back that up, however...in terms of quality or technique and their ball retention statistics, La Liga is miles ahead!  The art of recognizing when to use different game related speed variations is far more prominent in Spain than on the UK or Irish shores were possession is often lost needlessly through playing at unnecessary speed and with little or no patience on or off the pitch.

Van Gaal and Pep Guardiola