YOUR CHILD SHOULD SPEND EXTRA TIME DOING INDIVIDUAL TRAINING SESSIONS!
- 1) Team practice is not enough
- 2) 15 min before and/or after practice equals 40 to 80 hours a year of extra training.
- 3) With relatively little effort, your child will become much stronger on the ball.
- 4) More importantly, you will instill in them important life lessons.
- 5) Extra work is the perfect gauge of whether your child is serious about soccer.
People often ask, how I decided to enroll my son into a travel soccer club. Early on, I made the following promise,
Daddy will do almost anything to support you in soccer as long as you are willing to train with me individually”.
With that agreement, I signed him up for travel soccer. Without such an agreement, we would have stayed at the YMCA. I used that moment to teach him four important life lessons:
- 1) Individuals who put in extra work usually become much better than others.
2) A person must be willing to make sacrifices if others are making sacrifices for them.
3) Using idle time effectively is key to success.
4) Your strength comes from training while others are not.
The Problem – Attend any youth soccer practice, and it is not uncommon to see kids scattered all over the field aimlessly doing random warm-up exercises exclusively using their strong foot while the coaches are setting up.
Having said that, our coaches do a great job. Even if the great Sir Alex Ferguson volunteered to train your child’s team; he would not be able to give all 15 to 20 players the individual attention that they need. This must be done individually.
Before Practice – A Better Way – After seeing this enough, I decided that my son and I would do our own training sessions before practice and games. As a result, he arrives warmed up and ready to go. Sometimes, we specifically work on areas that I want him to implement during scrimmages or the games. This is a lot better than my yelling at him from the sidelines.
After Practice – An Important Life Lesson:
If Daddy is going to be on that field for an hour and a half watching you, you can give him 10-15 minutes after practice.
Yes, the extra technical soccer training is good, but I am teaching him something far more important. “Regardless of the endeavor, you will improve faster, if you are willing to put in just a little bit of extra work”.
Be the first person on the training pitch and the last one to leave.
What about burnout? Well, in my opinion, if putting in a little extra work results in burnout; than the player is not committed enough for you to invest the time and money that comes with travel sports. There are too many other ways to have fun. Of course, we take breaks but in general – the coach gets 1.5 hours and daddy gets 15 minutes.
Lead by Example – When possible, I do the workout session with him or my own workout alongside him. As a matter of fact, we do agility and interval training together. It’s fun for him to outrun his old man and double motivation for me to exercise.
Sample Sessions – I prefer training videos that children can simply follow or an interval session outlined in the Triangle Soccer Player Homework. These are free resources which require little instruction from the parent and have a set time limit. Also, they incorporate rest and water breaks. Included in the Triangle Soccer Player Homework are juggling sessions which have improved my son’s juggling and touch immensely.
Explain Why: Each child’s why is different. Find out what motivates your child before introducing extra training. For example, after reaching a certain number of sessions, my son gets a treat such as a soccer jersey or a trip to Defy Gravity his favorite trampoline park.
Start Slow: Training is not a race. A two-minute juggling session four times a week will have huge benefits. As you become consistent, add more time.
Don’t Over-Coach: Once you explain and demonstrate the technique, trust me, they will gradually improve with practice. The key is repetition, not perfection. They also work on these same drills during practice. The extra training just allows them to master the technique quicker. The last thing you want to do is frustrate them.
Give Off Days: Mental rest and physical recovery are important.
Click this link to view a few of my favorite follow-along training videos.