Quotations and Soccer Tips

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When your feet won't take you any further, you should use your head. While it may not be the natural order of things, would it not be better to walk with one's head...than to think with one's feet? (Renť Daumal. Writer.)

In youth soccer, not only is the level of soccer skills so-so but, often, there is not an acceptable level of fitness. This means that players, more girls than boys, are out of shape and get tired too soon! Besides the basic problem for the team, because of this, they can easily get injured, too.

Many times, I said that the first muscle that gets tired is the heart, the second is the brain and the third is the soul. By soul, I mean the great characteristics that define us. The ability to know that we are, that we exist.

A long time ago, the greatest philosophers said: ĒCogito, ergo sum.Ē ĒI think, therefore I am.Ē When we are not able to think clearly anymore, because we are exhausted, we donít exist anymore. We go down to the same level as a chicken, a cow or a sheep. In our brain they exist, but they donít know, so for them, they donít exist!

When I plan my team practices, Iím always in doubt about what to do. Having just a little time, I clearly need to make choices about what to do. This is very hard because, basically, I have to decide what NOT TO DO, even though it would be great to do it, instead of deciding what TO DO.

It seems a paradox. To decide what to do, I have to decide what not to do!

Imagine this: You didnít sleep, eat or drink for days. So you are very hungry, thirsty and you can hardly keep your eyes open. Itís obvious that you need to do these 3 things but you have time to do only one thing! What do you do?

It would be a nightmare for me. If Iím hungry, I canít sleep. But I canít eat if Iím thirty because I canít swallow. But, because Iím so tired by lack of sleeping and I canít keep my eyes open, I canĎt eat or drink! So, this is the dilemma.

What to do?

Coming back to soccer games, and consequently practices, all the players, basically, need to improve in 3 aspects:

-Basic soccer skills

How much can the players improve, by working on soccer skills, just 1 hour a week? Honestly, not too much.

And in fitness, with the same amount of time? Same.

Strategy? In my opinion, strategy can be improved a lot, even without too much time.

So, without too much time, Iíll concentrate the practice around strategy. What to do, all together, by simulating real games situations and repeating them dozens of times, until it becomes mechanical. That way, they can repeat it during the games.

We can simulate, corner kicks, counter attack, keeping the right shape, moving together, going back fast to the starting position, and on and on.

In theory, it seems correct. There are only 2 problems. In simulating these games situations, if players CONSTANTLY make wrong passes, are unable to control, pass or shoot the ball, after a few seconds, the counter attack is gone, because the ball goes to the other team or out of the field. Not only. If after 10 minutes of back and forth, the players are DEAD and are unable to run fast (or at all) anymore, we canít continue because itís impossible.

So, coming back to the quotation: When your feet won't take you any further, you should use your head. While it may not be the natural order of things, would it not be better to walk with one's head...than to think with one's feet?

In conclusion, if we canít work daily in improving soccer skills, fitness and strategy, I suggest to work basically on strategy, slowing down a lot in running so, we donít get tired too soon and the ball will be easier to control, because it will be slower and, your heart, your brain and consequently your soul, are not too tired yet!

In rereading this piece, Iím not sure that I was able to make myself clear. I hope you get the concept to walk with your head instead of thinking with your feet.

Coach Gianni