Nobody has a right to say what is right or wrong in football, this is a game of opinions and each coach will have his own unique way to do things. With the aforementioned said, debate is always the best way to challenge thinking or methods. This blog piece invites input from coaches about the following.
It's a cold wet morning in Dublin Ireland. In a park there is a schoolboy side training, the kids possibly 12 years old at most. Their coach has a session set up filled with poles and cones. As this admin watches on the coach runs his kids through a tough running routine that includes shuttle runs, SAQ and even a fitness bleep test. The session includes a ball near the end for a game. You'd see similar up and down the country at all levels, training that focuses on fitness, training that focuses on the body. But at young age groups should the training not be focused on the brain? especially given the fact that training of the body can be done in individual training hours. Has anybody ever heard of Myelin? if not it would be seventeen minutes of your life well spent to watch the following video that explains myelin and it's link to talent.
If you don't have time to watch the video above then a brief summary of myelin would be "A mixture of proteins and phospholipids forming a whitish insulating sheath around many nerve fibres, which increases the speed at which impulses are conducted", so basically the more myelin grows the quicker or more effective you preform a task. We know myelin grows through challenge, so with that said is team training challenging?. Teams up and down the country are training the body not the brain?. Running laps or sprinting are things that can be done on an individual training basis. Sessions that provide challenge and decision making tests, these sessions are what develop the brain, sessions that grow myelin. Take the session below as an example.
The session above is filled with challenge, constant problem solving, quick thinking and decision making. When played at good quality this session will challenge every player within it. All the while the brain is challenged and developing. Sessions like the above cannot be done on an individual basis, it requires players. Maybe part of the problem within development is the lack of responsibility given to footballers to look after training of the body on an individual basis?. If players looked after things that can be done individually, this would allow more coaches create sessions that challenge collectively. Have a listen to the following videos.
There are some very good points made in the videos above. In most 90 minute football games a player will touch the ball for three maybe four minutes, the rest of the game is mostly made up of decisions based around shape/tactics, movement and so on. Yes it's great to have players that are fit, quick, sharp and so on......it's all well and good being able to run, but how effective is it if you don't know why, when or where to be running to?