How many times have you heard a Premier League Coach tell the interviewer that his team was poor technically and they will work hard over the next few days to rectify that for the next game? Is this really possible? Can you rectify poor technique over a few days? Can you rectify technique on adult players at all?
Well, it is a fact that for football players to reach technical maturity, they need to start early in childhood at around age 7 to 9 to learn technique. This is so because children are much more receptive to learning at this stage of their lives. They then reach technical maturity at around age 17 to 19. From then on, the improvements are very minimal to say the least. Coordination and technique can still be improved at a minimal rate at adult level but if no proper technical learning took place at the growth phase between childhood and early adulthood, then I’m afraid it’s too late for most players. Therefore it takes 10 years from early childhood to adulthood to reach technical maturity.
What is technique and what are the steps taken to train technique?
Technique really simply means the way you do something. Being skilled technically means that you have the ability to select the right technique at the correct time, effectively and efficiently.
The techniques required for football are passing and receiving, ball control (dribbling), heading, shooting, tackling and goalkeeping techniques.
Basic technique is trained using five progressive steps or stages:
Basic instruction without movement
Basic instruction with movement
Basic instruction without opponent
Basic instruction with passive opponent (opponent offers little or no resistance)
Basic instruction with active opponent (opponent offers medium or full resistance)
Technique training needs to be paired closely with coordination training. This pairing ensures that technique training is effective and efficient. Knowledgeable technicians train these two together to economise training (The Economy of Training).
So in conclusion, we can say that technique training needs to start very early in child hood. This is because a youngster needs to have at least a 100 000 touches of the ball before he/she reaches technical maturity. It is also said that early activation of football interest in preschool children can have a beneficial effect on technique training on the long run. Of course there are many other factors to technique training and these will be discussed at a later stage. Some sample training sessions will also be posted later.
***Please feel free to comment, compliment or criticize***