I see a lot of coaches running the crap out of their players before, during, and after training. I can understand every now and then doing such grueling, NTF (not-that-fun) kind of work with older players, but what about younger players? A study on Spanish elite youth players, average aged of 13 years old, showed that small sided games are as effective as interval training for maintaining aerobic fitness in elite youth soccer players.
Johan Cruyff was a famous Dutch soccer player who also became a great coach for Barcelona. Many people credit him for coming up with the 4-3-3 and attacking style of football that Ajax and Barcelona play (and now many teams). He was extremely intelligent and was known speaking his mind and ruffling feathers. The Yogi Berra of soccer.
We all saw Tim Howard destrominate at the World Cup in Brazil. Against Belgium he was a man possessed and kept the USA in the game with some breathtaking saves. He was moving like a cat. Guess what, Tim Howard follows the Paleo Diet.
Soccer in Brazil, oh how I love you. I want to start by addressing the 2014 World Cup and any left over Brazil haters. I was not a huge fan of the way the team performed, and I agree with many people that some of the player selection was confusing. However, Brazil (including the Brazilian soccer league) is already on top of it, and I am confident they will continue to produce some of the most exciting players in the World as they have been doing for years. It is no wonder people want to learn how to play like soccer like a Brasilian.
It is pretty safe to say that Dr. Jay Martin knows the game of soccer inside and out. More important than his knowledge of the game is his understanding of competitiveness, character development, and what the pillars of success are whether we are talking about sports, or life in general. He is the John Wooden of soccer. It was both an honor and privileged to access the mind of this incredible man and soccer sage.
A proper and professional training environment where players are held accountable for every action they take is crucial. However, anyone who understands success, finishing first or winning on a consistent basis, understands that you never get there simply because you have talent. I believe that what sets successful players apart is hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. The ability to concentrate consistently at a high level is an underrated quality that can make or break anyone. Making it to the highest levels in soccer takes uncompromising desire to be the best which is directly related to being able to rebound consistently from failures. You cannot be afraid to fail. Living in fear means you'll never succeed.
The Soccer Poet is none other than Dan Blank. His bio is at the bottom of this interview where you can find out more information about him. I am very confident that after you hear his insights on the game of soccer, you will definitely want more of his knowledge bombs. After reading one of his books called Rookie: Surviving Your Freshman Year Of College Soccer, I told Dan "if only I had read it before entering my college soccer career, it would have saved me so much frustration and agony". Let's dive in, not on a tackle, but into the wisdom of the Soccer Poet.
occer performance demands and development are on the forefront of research these days and within the last year there have been some huge studies. Not every study is done perfectly, but I think when they use large enough sample sizes and actual soccer athletes like they did in the cases below, there is a lot to learn and it would be dumb of me not to use this valuable information to help players and coaches. So, lets get nerdy and dive in to the science.
It took me a long time grasp that the pressure I would put on myself to succeed was causing me greater agony than being hurt and not playing at all. In other words, I was comfortable sitting on the sidelines telling myself how great I would be playing versus actually playing and not meeting my own expectations. That was a huge realization for me and it took a lot of time and self-reflection to embrace the fact that it is always better to play poorly and lay it on the line than to not play at all. This new and more courageous approach helped me nip some of what Viktor Frankl called Organ Neuroses (disorders involving physical symptoms that appear caused by a medical condition, but are in fact caused by psychological factors) in the bud, Due to my fear of failure, sometimes I would feel pain in a part of my body that had actually already healed, or I would feel pain where I had suffered no injury at all.