Overtraining Syndrome Can Sabotage Performance

For athletes, the concept of overtraining might seem odd. You understand a high training load is needed to adapt and get better (known as “supercompensation”). However, too high of a training load with too little recovery is a poor way to achieve proper gains. Recovery is when the actual training adaptations occur, not during the training session. In fact, sometimes overtraining may not even be evidence of training too much, but recovering too little.

Wreck Defenders With These 1v1 Soccer Moves That Actually Work

Below are 3 soccer moves that will destroy defenders and look cool at the same time. Like all good moves, they require change of speed and change of direction. The sole of the foot single leg hopping backwards is the cool part. It frustrates defenders who will then dive in and then you break them, wreck them, shake them, and humiliate them. Just exaggerating. However, my friend as a club player who used to do the first move in the video would always brag about how stupid he made defenders look in the car after our games. Try them out and leave a comment about what you think!

Video: Escape Pressure With This First Touch Technique

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The best players in the world see where pressure is coming from and use their first touch to escape. This is a good soccer skill using timing and body feinting to create space from the defender. It works particularly well when a defender is closing you down as the ball arrives on a pass. I am not the smoothest with this technique, but I will keep practicing.

As much as I love talking athleticism, soccer is a skill sport and we need reps and reps to get better. Like the legendary stories about Ronaldo and David Beckham taking free kicks after training, all of the best players I ever played with would come early or stay late to training and get extra reps on things like long balls, finishing, dribbling moves, etc. “Repetition is the mother of skill”, so get out there and make it happen. In your next soccer game, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Developing Athleticism For The Soccer Pitch: Interview with Track and Bobsled Olympian Craig Pickering

If soccer players want to run quickly, then they need to be producing a lot of force against the ground. There are two ways to do this; firstly, we can produce this force via our muscles when our foot is on the floor, or, secondly, we can have our foot moving at a very high speed once it hits the floor. For elite sprinters, it is, of course, a combination of the two. So, ideally, you want to have a large range of motion in which to accelerate the foot towards to ground (requiring good front side mechanics); you want to be able to accelerate the foot downwards (requiring good hip extensor strength); you want to contact the ground in the optimal position (requiring good sprint mechanics), you want to be able to absorb and reuse much of the force you apply (requiring good foot and ankle stiffness), and you want to be able to produce force quickly (requiring an optimal level of strength and power).

Video: Break Defender's Ankles In Soccer with "The Delgado"

Beating defenders 1v1 comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes its running at speed, while others we are in a more static situation like in the corner or when we get closed down immediately upon receiving a pass. Either way, beating defenders is one of the most fun and effective parts of the game. When we eliminate one defender, the whole defense gets unbalanced. That is why guys like Mbappe, Ronaldo, Messi, Salah, etc. get paid the big bucks.

Realities of Speed: Interview with Track Coach Hakan Andersson

Team players gets a lot of acceleration, start&stop and change of direction stimuli in the team practice in general… small sided games in particular. The problem though that it develops a rather restricted movement patterns and poor sprinting mechanics. You often see 12-year-old soccer players moving better than 22-year-olds. Fore obvious reasons, I suggest some time is spent doing linear sprinting of various lengths and intensities at all ages.

How the Best Attacking Soccer Players In The World Move Off The Ball

The best soccer players in the world are not just killers on the ball, but they are sneaky buggers off of it as well. Research shows that ore goals are scored when the defenders are positioned farther away from the shooter. That sounds pretty obvious, but creating space on the soccer field is getting harder and harder in today’s modern game. Of course, having a ton of speed helps because you can literally just blow by defenders. But the best, like Leroy Sane and Sterling from Manchester City, Mane from Liverpool, Son from Tottenham, all use intelligent awareness and timing in addition to their speed to unravel defenses. Aguero isn’t the fastest guy in the world, but he knows how to hide behind defenders or draw them to one area and then move to the space left. Check out the video I made below to see some examples. Try these runs and ideas at your next practice and watch how you are getting more crosses from the wing and more shots on goal.

6 Simple Ways to Become a Tougher Soccer Player And Stand Out

A lot of the greatest soccer players are not just skillful and athletic, but they have strong minds and bodies that are resistant to fatigue, quitting, and settling for anything less than their best. They don’t just handle the pressure, the live for it. But what if we are not naturally tough, can we make ourselves tougher? Absolutely. In the last article called “Stop Being a Pussy: Real Talk On Developing Toughness” we took a deep dive into toughness, one of my favorite topics. In this article I will give you some things you can do starting TODAY to get the process going. They are not fun in the short term, but on the

"Stop Being A Pussy": Real Talk On Developing Toughness

Don’t mistake me with Freud or any other trained psychologist, but I think its safe to assume that people’s past experiences shape their reactions to similar experiences in the future. A simple example is a player who decides they don’t like soccer anymore because the parent or a coach was overly critical. The negative experiences create an avoidance behavior. Some of these issues can creep up again later in life when we least expect them.

Why Won't My Teammates Pass Me The Ball?: How To Receive More Passes Soccer

Few things are more frustrating than having several minutes go by and not touching the ball during a training match (including possession) or a game. We all want to feel like we are contributing to the outcome of our team’s performance.

The Blind Side: How to Destabilize the Defense and Become a More Dangerous Soccer Player

Scoring more goals in soccer requires good vision and passing combined with smart positioning off the ball. Learning how to get to the blind side of defenders will be a massive way to get more passes and increase your chances of being considered a dangerous player. At the highest level of elite soccer, it comes down to the little things.

Key Performance Indicators In Team Soccer

KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, is defined as "a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, athlete, etc. in meeting objectives for performance". The first time I heard the term KPI was in a talk by Olympic track coach, Dan Pfaff. While track and field is an objective sport based on distance and time, soccer is often interpreted as a more subjective game. Sure, a striker's goal count can be easily tracked, but coaches may like the way one midfielder plays more than another and it is hard to quantify which player is indeed more effective. All of this is changing, as technology advances and becomes more integrated into world and youth soccer. 

Increase Soccer Speed With Two Simple Methods

Soccer 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 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.

Soccer Development Versus Winning

In their publication "Foundations of Sports and Exercise Psychology," Robert Weinberg and Daniel Gould explain the critical factors contributing to early withdraw from sports are a lack of enjoyment, excessive pressure and an overemphasis on winning. In fact, if you ask young soccer players for reasons why they enjoy playing soccer, “winning” isn’t even in the top 10 most common answers. As adults, we hijack their experience to satisfy our purposes.
All too frequently, games represent the “big stage” and are overhyped by parents and coaches. For instance, listen to pregame “pep-talks” and you’ll too often hear coaches saying things like: “This team is really good, you guys are going to have to bring your A-game if you want to beat them.” Or, “Remember, if we don’t play smart out there, they’re going to punish us.” Or, “If you don’t work hard, I’m going to sub you out.” Or, “Last time we played them, they beat us on a bad penalty call. We owe them this time!”
The great majority of young soccer players already want to do their best; they don’t take the field with the plan of playing poorly. The research is clear: these types of pregame talks actually inhibit young players’ performances by pushing them beyond their “sweet spot” level of arousal.

Frans Bosch and Soccer Performance Training

Bosch has changed the way many strength and conditioning and soccer coaches approach training, His dynamic systems approach is far superior than the usual reductionist approach. Here are my basic findings related to soccer players. 

Strength, Speed, and Squatting for Soccer Players

Many strength coaches in America come from powerlifting backgrounds and Olympic lifting backgrounds, so in this whole get strong to get fast movement, squats, aka the "King of all exercises", were promoted heavily. Not just squats, but DEEEEEEP squats. I began to think that anyone, anywhere, who wasn't shit staining the floor was a phony lifter and definitely not improving much of anything. That is one area where I was flat wrong. And here is a study to prove it: 

The Magic of Small Sided Games

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.