Held an enjoyable Player Development Clinic last week for up coming football talent from West Cork. The focus was on educating players on the ‘why’ of improving your movement skills but also the ‘how’ that is done.
Playing really well is the number 1 goal for every player while maximising the performance of the individual/team is the number 1 goal for the Manger/Coach. Therefor football preparation is the number 1 priority and rightly so.
We get frustrated though when a player is unable to tackle correctly! Tackling starts with the legs. Can your player move lateral, change direction, go from rear start to forward acceleration efficiently??
Another example, we expect our midfielder’s or full forward to field the ball in the air. Does your player know how to jump properly?
We want players to acceleration onto the ball to create an effective support running game..but do they know how to run properly?
Working on movement skills in isolation will only get you so far. Don’t limit some players progress due to mobility/stability deficiency’s. A player may understand the drill but unable to perform it optimally due to a lack of range motion in a certain joint! How do you warm up?
As coach’s drills are great but do we know how to coach it properly. Players learn in many different ways. It’s not about providing 10 teaching points but rather selecting the right ‘cue’ which will paint a picture for the player. This will increase chances of player performing exercise correctly.
Then it’s about integrating these movement skills with increased decision making or football skills to ensure we get training gains to transfer to game day. Just practicing isolated drills and you will not get the performance you desire. A player need’s to use the different movements at the right time.
A final point sometimes forgotten regards improving ‘movement’ is it’s benefits in helping reduce the risk of injury. Poor movement can lead to compensatory movement patterns, muscle overload and subsequent strain.
Movement skills or ability is only 1 spoke in the wheel per say..but an important area none the less if a player is looking to “be the best they can be”