I was a young lad, no more than 13 years old. My Dad and I were roaming the local library and I was looking for something to catch my eye. Behold, the green cover:
At the time, I knew little about any movies or literature on soccer. I was giddy, and asked my Dad if we could rent them and stick them in the good ol' VCR. "Sure", he said. My Dad was always extremely generous, especially when it came to sports. Plus, we were at the library, so it was FREE.
It was that same day I popped the first tape in and stood there flabbergasted, inspired, curious, and in shock... the normal feelings one gets when they see Maradona highlights for the first time. There was plenty of Cruyff, and Beckenbaur, and Pele. But I could't get over the Maradona highlights. He would just glide past player after player. And he was small, like me. But what power.
The tapes had this inspirational music playing while they showed highlights from the pros. Then the young kids who would demonstrate the skills and drills would come on. Boy they were good, all very fit and dressed professionally with looks of extreme focus on their faces. I had yet to see this as a soccer player in the US.
Coerver Coaching places great importance on comfort with the soccer ball using dance like exercises, or "coervers" that involve a bunch of touches. In addition, they teach the correct way to perform different moves such as The Cruyff, or Scissors, or Step-overs and show when they should be used. They say the great players are capable of beating other players 1v1 because it unbalances the defense. I couldn't agree more.
Immediately I got the soccer ball from the beloved "sports closet" and started to train along with the video, executing the skills in the living room floor. It was my first taste of individual, deliberate practice. It was a new feeling for me and I remember thinking to myself, "will this stuff help me improve on the soccer field?"
The next time I would play soccer was a game day with my club team. Was I going to pull of these moves and cuts in the heat of the moment under an opponent's pressure? You bet. I was so comfortable on the ball compared to before. Not only comfortable, but I was confident. It was at the moment I realized that the sport of soccer became exponentially more fun as my command of the soccer ball improved.
A lot of coaches argue that skills should be trained in a game context otherwise the skills wont transfer. While I agree and believe in playing the game as much as possible so we learn how and when to execute different skills, we still need to have ball mastery. All of the best players fall in love with the ball first, then the game. Watch Maradona constantly practicing with the ball on his own:
I have talked a ton about the development of speed and strength, preventing injuries, and bringing it on the day of the big match or tryout. Success in soccer really is a marriage between high level skill and the athleticism and fitness levels to carry those skill out quickly and efficiently. But without skills, no amount of freak athleticism or ultra endurance matters.
Coerver has since grown over the years, but their concepts on skill development are fantastic. So the answer is yes, Coerver Coaching works. I recommend it to anyone looking to improve their soccer skills.