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Why is it sometimes good to play soccer barefoot?

Iím sure that you noticed that among the greatest soccer players, a good number are from South America.

There is more than one good reason that explains this. One of the most important is the enormous number of kids that begin to play at an early age in FREE PICK-UP GAMES.

This way, by playing everyday, inevitably they develop individual skills.

Another reason is that, not being rich countries, the most simple thing to do, not having computers, video games or TVs, is to PLAY SOCCER. But the most fundamental aspect that permits development of individual soccer skills, is the fact that they play BAREFOOT. Itís not important if the reason is that they canít afford soccer clits, because you donít need them to play on the beaches. Barefoot they learn to touch the ball in different ways, using different parts of their foot and kick the ball properly, accordingly with the situations.

How much time have we spent teaching kids not to kick the ball with the points of their feet? Months if not years! With bare feet, the first time that they kick the ball with the tip of their toes, they will say ďOUCH!!Ē and immediately understand not do that, anymore!!! They will understand that itís with the soles of their feet, that they can send the ball in the direction they want, better and faster. The soles of their feet are the equivalent of the palms of their hands, and there is no quicker way to learn to handle the ball, just as if they were using their hands.

They will understand that the big bone at the center of their instep, is the right spot for hitting the ball, without getting hurt, by locking the ankle and snapping the knee!

They will learn that, by handling the ball with different parts of their feet, the ball will go exactly where they want.

Learning to play soccer with cleats, is like to learning to play basketball, wearing boxing gloves! Where will the sensibility of the fingers and palms be in trying to catch the ball with boxing gloves on?

Millions of years ago, we used our feet like another pair of hands. By playing barefoot, they will be able to bring back a little of that original sensibility and enormously improve their individual soccer skills, by correctly using their feet.

Of course if sometime, in the future, they play barefoot, it doesnít mean that they will automatically become Pele, Batistuta, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Emerson, Rivelino, Rivaldo, Socrates, Zico or other hundreds like them, but one thing is for sure, all these players entered into the history of soccer by doing these 3 things:

-Playing barefoot
-Beginning to play very early
-Playing free pick-up games

So, this doesnít mean you should send your sons or daughters to my clinic at Baker beach, which in any case would be really good for them. It means that since we live on a peninsula between the ocean and the bay, it would be good to go to the ocean and have fun with your kids, without referees, lines on chalks, cleats, jerseys, tournaments, play off, standings, leagues and all the rest that, apparently, our kids need to have fun in this country. Iíd like to share a secret with all of you. Itís only like that in this country!!!!!!!

Coach Gianni
Posted on 12 Jul 2006 by coachgianni
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