Improving Dribbling Skills for Soccer Players and Coaches with Concurrent Goal Training – Article 6

Just about everyone can dribble a soccer ball when there is no resistance coming from an opponent. Obviously however, there will be great resistance during competitive matches. So the objective here is to properly get young players comfortable and confident with dribbling while an opponent is applying pressure by endeavoring to gain possession of the ball. If any field-soccer player wants to improve, this skill is paramount.

These are the basic objectives that must be developed for young players and possibly others for maintaining possession of the ball.

1. Dribbling the soccer ball must be kept close to the feet around opponents. This is obvious.

2. But what may not be obvious is that the sense of balance of the body, needed for rapidly changing directions, must be developed.

3. Looking out around the field for open players and open spaces is another necessity. It can only be accomplished by keeping one’s head up while dribbling. This of course will not happen with newly introduced players into the game, but it is one of the dribbling objectives.

4. Another necessity for retaining the ball while dribbling is to shield it from one or more opponents.

So what is the optimum approach to improve the dribbling skills for young players?

1. In general, precious soccer practice time should not be spent on dribbling drills. Dribbling should be practiced away from the soccer practice. But, there are some exceptions:

  • (a) The youngest players must be taught the basics via dribbling drills at soccer practices. There is nothing new here.
  • (b) After say two soccer practices, end the dribbling drills at these practices. Valuable training time is needed for spending on kicks, trapping, defense, shielding, endurance etc.
  • (i)Without endurance, soccer players cannot perform to their maximum abilities
    and will make more dribbling and other errors.

    (ii)A professional should be consulted on the optimum level of endurance training.

  • (c) Then, assign homework drills. Drills that are designed to teach
  • (i)the young player balance while turning

    (ii)control of the sensitivity of touch on the ball

    (iii)players to keep the ball near the feet when moving with the ball.

  • (d) Coach demonstrations and player demonstrations should be performed so the players understand their assigned homework drill.
  • (e) At each subsequent practice (after a drill has been assigned), players should be asked to demonstrate their homework skills for about 30 seconds each. Say two players at a time–to conserve training time. After each player has shown his or her skill preforming the drill, a demonstration should be repeated by the best young dribbling player. This acts as a teaching-aid to the others.
  • (f) Every player is to own and bring an identifiably marked ball to practice. While on the subject, water and warm clothes in cold weather should also be a requirement.
  • 2. During scrimmage games, insist that players dribble with their head up and with the ball close to the feet when near opponents.

    3. The importance of shielding the soccer ball from an opponent cannot be overemphasized. Shielding properly keeps one, or possibly two or three opponents from dislodging the ball from a dribbling player.

  • (a) Various drills are designed to elevate shielding skills from its most elementary level on up. Start with little opponent pressure, as the players develop expertise add pressure to each advanced drill.
  • (b) In addition, there is another drill especially designed apply the shielding technique. It is a variation of the monkey-in-the-middle drill. When done right and constantly overseen by the coach, players properly learn to shield the ball from aggressive opponents. Furthermore, players also learn to make safer passes to «teammates».
  • The following notes should add clarity to this article.

    Note 1: Very young «talented» players often make «breakaways» and dribble the ball towards the goal unimpeded. Before taking the shot at the goal with only the goalkeeper in front, these players push the ball about two to three yards (or two or three meters) out in front of them. At this distance the ball is in an ideal position to kick it at the goal. Often these young players score against an unskillful very young goalkeeper, and of course the parents of the scoring child are elated. However, this may or may not indicate that this child will go on to be a great soccer player. That «skill» just witnessed is not a skill at all, because it was not learned. As the children progress up in age, opponent defenders ordinarily do not allow an attacker the room of two or three yards to set up the ball for the kick on goal. On older teams, this «tactic» is no longer a tactic. So what point am I making?

    Competitive soccer players need to discipline themselves in keeping the ball near their feet when opponents are near. This is a necessary skill that must be learned for dribbling as well as when making attempts at scoring. It takes training both with dribbling and while employing the various types of kicks to be competitive as a player goes on up in years.

    Note 2: Advanced players must also develop the ability to lunge in one direction while flicking the ball in the opposite direction. There are several of these feinting moves that a skillful soccer player must master, but they are beyond the scope of this article.

    Note 3: What do the young goalkeeper(s) do while the field players are training for their skills? They need to be developing their skills. They need an assistant coach to train them on defending the goal, to practice diving and punting. The coach must instruct the assistant coach in proper goalkeeping-training techniques while overseeing these techniques until the assistant coach gets it right.

    Note 4: Much of the above training information can be learned from good soccer books containing further descriptions and applicable drills.

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    Five Tips to Prevent Soccer Injuries

    Soccer injuries do happen. This sport is a highly physical one that getting injured can sometimes be plainly unavoidable. Nonetheless, this unpleasant consequence is not just confined to the soccer sport. Everyone recognizes that there is always some form of risk for injury no matter what sport you participate in. The best thing a soccer player can do is to avoid these injuries from happening, or perhaps, lessen its number. The following are five tips to prevent soccer injuries.

    1. Get in shape. Don’t just participate in any game out of a whim. Soccer is physically demanding sport and your body needs to be in good overall shape in order to meet its demands. If you are not prepared physically, injuries will likely happen. It is essential that you delve into aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility exercises before the start of the soccer season. Preparing your body right before each game is also important. You should take time to do warm up and stretches because cold muscles are prone to injury. After your training, don’t forget to cool down and stretch to reduce muscle soreness.

    2. Use appropriate equipment. Soccer players must always wear appropriate protective gear and equipment. Shin guards should be worn to provide protection to your lower legs. It is really important to wear shoes that fit properly. Ill-fitting footwear can contribute to injuries related to the ankle and knee. You should also choose the right shoes that match the surface you are playing on. When playing on wet soccer field with high grass, use shoes with screw-in cleats to provide more traction for you. Molded cleats may be used on natural or synthetic grass field with short to medium grass.

    3. Make sure that the playing surface is safe. Avoid playing on soccer fields where you can obviously see holes on the surface. Check out the area for debris and other things which might cause you to trip. Soccer goals should be padded to avoid severe head injuries when you collide to the post. Never hang or crawl under the goal as many injuries and deaths happened because it tipped over.

    4. Pay attention to the weather. If it is hot outside, take frequent water breaks. If it is cold, wear thicker clothing, gloves and hats. If there are thunderstorms, get inside the building and cease your soccer game or practice.

    5. Take regular breaks from soccer. Lots of soccer players think that training year-round and focusing on soccer will help them excel in this sport. Although you may become a proficient player doing this routine, your body, however, runs the risk of serious overuse injury. Give your body a rest and try playing other sports that requires a different skill development. Limit also the number of teams you are playing with during one soccer season so you don’t suffer the pain of overuse injury.

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    How to Kill Depression Before It Kills You

    Depression kills.

    Sadly, these people did not live to tell of its horrors – 16,467, aged between 45 and 85 +, almost half of the total deaths by suicide, across all ages, in the US in 2014, making it the country's 10th leading cause of deaths .

    The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention believes the figure could be higher if some families were not hesitant or reluctant to report a suicide in the family. Already traumatized by the loss of a loved one, they did not want to be stigmatized as a family of loonies.

    What drve them to end their lives? Mostly depression.

    What makes it sad is that depression can be cured. What makes these deaths tragic and unnecessary is that depression usually starts from harmless "blues" we all experience in any given day. For failure to plug a leak, a deluge was created.

    They did not recognize it coming or too complacent until things have gotten way over their heads. By then, they thought blowing their heads off was the only way out of their misery ..

    Can it happen to you? Will you become a part of this morbid statistic?

    It depends on how you value life; on how you cherish your family who will grieve over your death, on how strong is your belief that no matter how bad things are, they will soon pass; that the storm ravaging you now will soon be pushed away by sunbeams that will fill your heart and soul with joy.

    It depends on your awareness that you are not alone. That somewhere, right now, others are also suffering as you are.

    They, too, are:

    o Feeling sad or low;

    o Suffering from loss of interest in activities that normally enjoy doing;

    o Having eating problems, losing or gaining weight for no apparent reason;

    o Having problems sleeping or not wanting to get up;

    o Feeling tired or lethargic;

    o Restless (hand-wringing or pacing); slow in movement and speech;

    o Having concentration problems or making decisions

    o Thinking of committing suicide.

    We all feel these things every now and then. Normally they will pass in a matter of days or a couple of weeks. They usually go away after a good sleep, a hearty meal, a good conversation with family or friends, or a change in scenery.

    If they do not, then do your darndest best to kill them before they kill you.

    DIY Tools to Kill Depression:

    It's normal to feel down once in a while. It is not because of age but because our lives have become so routinary, so boring – like a hamster spinning in its wheel.

    It is because we are so self-obsessed, forgetting that there is a whole wide world out there to learn, explore, experience, and conquer.

    Depressive behavior is fed by your own thoughts, which puts imaginary barriers around you, making you see nothing but four walls closing in around you every day until it becomes a prison.

    For some, breaking free from that prison is difficult, even impossible.

    Those who did, did so by simply discarding their own self-destructive thoughts; they simply unshackled from themselves from the chains of their own making.

    I did it by picking the lock of my harmful thoughts using these simple DIY tools. You can use them, too

    1. Do a Forrest Gump:

    Remember the movie Forrest Gump? The movie revolved around Forrest, sitting on bench while waiting for a bus, and telling his story to anyone and everyone who came along to sit next him.

    Kind of stupid, but is an easy and cheap way of killing depressing thoughts.

    My late Mom was a Forrest Gump, sort of. She visited me each time she felt the world crushing her in. The moment she got settled she immediately rattled off her problems, like a machine gun, while I just sat there listening to her.

    When she was winding down, I offered her snacks. It immediately changed her mood, and set her off doting on my children (my daughter was her favorite).

    Find someone you can be a Forrest Gump to. I am, to my daughter-in-law. It works all the time.

    But you can not do it all the time. Your sounding board may not be around when you need them, or you may bore them to death or, anger, infect them. Depression is as infectious as a virus.

    So you need other tools to kill it …

    2. Visit or call a friend who can pull you up:

    Not just any friend. But someone who can pull you up, not press you down.

    Avoid a friend who will make your innermost fears and insecurities become a part of the neighborhood's breaking news the following day.

    Keep away from a friend who will casually brush with an "it will just pass," comment without helping you make it pass, or one who will cut you short by saying, "your problems are nothing compared to mine."

    Call or visit a friend who is interested to know how you made your garden the envy of your neighbors, or who wants to listen to your collection of love songs, circa Romeo and

    Juliet, or who wants to leaf through your book of cloth-bound books; someone who wants to cuddle your new-born grandchild.

    A friend who finds value in you and knows how to take your thoughts off yourself and shunt them somewhere else.

    3. Take a hike of discovery:

    Go to the beach and take a dip, or just walk along the shore, barefoot, and feel the sand tickle the soles of your feet; pick up sea shells or bits of corals and ponder on the genius who sculpted them into such spectacular shapes and forms.

    Then face the horizon and, with arms outstretched, fill your lungs with the salty breeze until it's about to burst, slowly exhale through your mouth and say, "God, life is good." I am so blessed to be alive. "

    If the beach is not your cup of tea, try the park.

    Find a bench in the cool corner of your town park, under the shade of a giant tree, and fill your senses with the sights, sounds, smells around you.

    For a moment be mindful.

    Empty your mind of everything and delight in being on a tiny piece of earth where everything has a purpose – from the tiny ants scurrying about with bits of food between its pinchers, to the grasshoppers nibbling a blade of grass, to the butterflies and bees flitting from flower to flower, to the squirrels clambering up and down trees storing nuts, to the fallen leaves around your feet, to the tree under which shade you saved refuge, and YOU.

    Together, you combine the delay balance of Nature, of Life. Remove one and you offset the balance.

    For a clincher, be a child again .

    Take the swing, or ride the Ferris wheel, the merry-go-round, or throw Frisbees.

    Never think, even for a moment, that these are for children. No matter how old we are, a certain part of us, buried under tons of adult things, remains a child.

    Bring it out and be a child again. Have fun; laugh. You might save yourself.

    About a month ago, I tried the hoverboard and the merry-go-round just for the heck of it. I looked silly (and almost twisted an ankle) but I did not give a hoot what others thought. I had fun and that's all that mattered

    4. Do not be afraid to seek professional help:

    If, after having taken all the Paracetamols you can lay your hands on, you still have the colds, see a doctor before you get pneumonia.

    Depression is either "from the mind" or "in the mind."

    The above tools work well for the "from the mind" type, but can not do much if it is "in the mind."

    If your depression lasts for long periods of time, say months or years, then that falls under the worrisome category of Mental Illness, and close relative of anxiety, bipolar disorder (this drave Robin Williams to commit suicide), schizophrenia and many others.

    It is "worrisome," not hopelessly disastrous because modern science has the tools to help out, or cope with them. Provided you nip it in the bud.

    So if you have been seeing blue for a long, long time, seek professional help to clear it out.

    Shortly after my wife died, I went into depression. My daughter, who is a doctor, took me to one of her doctor friends. After the usual series of questions, he prescribed me some anti-depressants which I was to take twice daily for two months.

    As a good patient, I bought them despite their being depressively expensive and started taking them. After a couple of days, out of curiosity, I surfed for anti-depressants and their side-effects.

    To my horror, I found out that some anti-depressants can cause erectile dysfunction. "Oh, God! I can not allow more sorrow upon my sorrows," I said to myself.

    I stopped taking it and started tinkering with my thoughts to take them off my painful loss. That's how I came upon these. They can help you, too.

    The Thrill of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals

    Football was originally played and devised in the United Kingdom, and then afterwards it is introduced by the British to most of its colonized territories like the African nation South Africa. Few more years and it gained popularity among sports enthusiasts not only in Europe but to almost every country in the world.

    Its recent popularity and worldwide acceptance pave the way for the institution of its governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football) which is now the world renowned FIFA. For most of the years FIFA has been the organizer of various football tournaments and implementer of every rules regarding the sport. One of the main football tournaments would be the FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup is held every four years and now on its 19th league. Surely it has a history of non-stopping thrill and excitement all throughout the world.

    The 2010 FIFA championship is currently being held in South Africa and has been participated by the best of all football players of different countries. It commenced last June 11 and is expected to have a heart pounding 2010 World Cup Finals. This year’s tournament can be considered as the 2010 finals since the qualification process have already been started and selected from August of 2008 to date, including pre-fights during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Last August 2007 there have already been 204 participating and contending countries from the total members of 208.

    This year’s 2010 soccer finals is expected to be the most awaited sporting event of the year and is expected to be the most viewed with the onset of numerous worldwide media coverage and streams, and major information spread. South Africa is the country host of this year’s 2010 finals, defeating Morocco and Egypt in the process of bidding. South Africa is said to be the home of many football fans and enthusiasts alike. A lot of football stadium and mostly, the biggest ones either in Africa or the World and a vast majority of players abound, from the old and young, professionals or the out of school youth.

    This year’s 2010 FIFA World Cup finals is a must see event where a lot of enthusiast expectations are present as to whom the defending champions, that would be Italy, would have to battle with in the finals. Italy, 2006’s FIFA World Cup champion will have to defend its championship title in this year’s tournament. Every day, excitement and news all over about the 2010 World Cup Finals is growing and gets even bigger. People from all around the world are flocking to South Africa only not to miss this event. Tickets to the finals, hotel and flights are almost full. Expect a thrilling experience this year with the 2010 World Cup Finals.

    Why France Football Team Lost In The World Cup 2010 – Lessons Learnt From Sport Psychology Points

    Before the South Africa World Cup, nobody could ever imagine that the runner up of World Cup2006 would fall down that badly with two defeats, one draw, foul-mouthed squabbles in the dressing room and a team strike. So what happened with the French players psychologically?

    The start of all things came with the bad words by Nicholas Anelka to his coach Domenech during half time game with Mexico. Put aside his inappropriate saying, the worse thing was that somebody leaked that information to the media. In sport psychology terms, a norm in a team was broken. Norms are the standards for behavior that is expected of team members. Norms are not formally adopted by the team but result from a gradual change in behavior until a consensus is reached. Norms are different from rules in the fact that rules are formal for everyone and there are normally some punishments for breaking the rule. Because norms are unobtrusive, they are sometimes taken for granted and only become important when violated. In the case of France team, for some reasons, the norm of keeping team issues inside the locker room was violated. And the result was really destructive.

    Worst of all, the team represented by Patrick Evra boycotted training and some players showed the intention of avoiding playing the last game. In this case the whole team was united under the same cause: to protest against the decision to send Anelka back from the French Football Federation. In sport psychology terms, the team displayed very high cohesion. Team cohesion is defined as: «the resistance of the group to disruptive forces«. When a team is highly cohesive like French team, it would be able to tolerate a great deal of negativity arising from the occurrence of unfavorable events, such as losing games, or receiving criticism in the media… Team cohesion is also divided into 2 type: task cohesion (regarding team goals and performance) and social cohesion (regarding relationship outside the task). In France team, the players showed very high social cohesion that led to the boycott and protest to support their teammate.

    So what could have been fixed in that case? Obviously, there are many issues that had to be solved (from behavior of players to coach, setting up norms for communication with each other and to the media…). However, there is one main issue I believe should have been tackled. By interacting with players in an informal approach, a sport psychologist could help players restore and re-affirm their team goal. Obviously, they came to World Cup to represent their country and to make French people proud. As a national team, they carried the image of the whole nation and should behave accordingly, especially in front of foreign media. By reacting aggressively to coaches, they were successful in showing their team cohesion, yet failed to show their responsibilities for their nation and their fans. By re-aligning the team value and team goal to the players, a sport psychologist could help players redefine their priority and their purpose. This could potentially have led to different behaviors and performance by French players.

    Although France team issues were rather extreme, it gives a very clear picture of many sport psychology issues that should have been addressed before and during the tournament. By being aware of norms and cohesion level in your team, you can prevent and address problems as well as improve team performance.