We have have all seen it, the classic YouTube videos displaying the fancy tricks and flicks. Such videos often followed by comments like "what a player". Recently Keepitonthedeck.com was sent a video from Greece featuring an 14 year old schoolboy footballer. The video sent in by his father with the words "Hi friends, please look at this video of my son *******, he is looking to sign for big club one day and dreams of becoming a professional football player". The video was very well edited but contained three minutes of tricks and flicks, dribbling, and shots. The kid had ability but in reality the video done him little favours and it really prompted this blog piece to be written.
Sitting watching the aforementioned video it was quite clear the kid in the video had good technical ability. What stood out most though was the kids lack of game intelligence in terms of his decision making. Although the flicks and tricks he attempted looked cool, you couldn't help but notice the options available to the kid, you couldn't help but notice beyond the tricks and flicks he was making poor decisions. Although some of his shots were well hit you couldn't help but notice the opportunity to play a teammate clear on goal. In a modern era were skills and flicks are glorified online, more needs to be done to glorify the ability of the disciplined decision makers. The kids all see the fancy runs and tricks from Messi, but very rarely is his discipline in possession highlighted.
The when, why, where. Discipline is one of the most under rated attributes a player can have. The ability to keep doing the simple pass, the ability to keep making those runs that create space, the ability to process the correct decision in relation to the scenario. The mark of discipline is when a player is at peak confidence, does he turn into the fancy dan tricks and flicks player, or does he maintain the pattern that his confidence was built upon. The message of this blog simplified would be this.......technical ability is a tiny part of this game, it's the ability to consistently make the correct decisions that separate the best players from the rest, the key to it all is discipline with or without the ball. Beyond the Tricks and Flicks what matters most is that the decision made was the right one.