After a week of social distancing, you’re probably fall into one of two groups: already pulling your hair out or ready to pull your hair out, and while that is completely understandable, we’re here to help to delay the inevitable.
There are plenty of lists and suggestions out there on how to pass time. See the discussion that Sean Sullivan started here. While there is no shortage of great suggestions, what do you do the moment after you finish one. You may be left with a feeling of emptiness or feel as though you’re grasping at straws to find anything that will hold your attention for long enough.
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is John Adair. I am currently the Director of Coaching at Buckingham United, a youth soccer club located in the Central Bucks area. In addition, I’ve been an assistant coach at Georgian Court University for the past three years. The goal of me writing this is to hopefully provide you and/or your children something to look forward to throughout what seems to be our new normal for a while.
We all have in our family or know a youth soccer player. With training, games, and tournaments on hold for the foreseeable future, it may be easy and even convenient for them to turn to FIFA, TikTok, Fortnite, or whatever else it is kids are doing these days. Despite being away from their teams, friends, and coaches, there is plenty that can still be done to develop as a soccer player and to keep their passion for the game burning.
Below are some resources that I would recommend for the soccer player in your family. I do not, however, recommend forcing any players to train. While individual training has plenty of benefits including confidence on the ball, in the wrong environment, it can have a very negative effect as well.
Beast Mode Soccer - www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCFsyvrcNTY
David Copeland-Smith is one of, if not the most well-recognized technical trainers in the country. Beast Mode Soccer has been around since 2011, and David has trained some of the world’s best players such as Alex Morgan.
There is years and years of content for free on BMS’s YouTube channel, but I recommend starting with the Phase 1 Footwork Program at the link above. There are a lot of activities that may catch the eye due to their complexity or names such as Alex Morgan and Ali Riley, but be sure to stick to activities appropriate for where your child is in his/her development.
Become Elite - www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7jP3moQi9c
Become Elite is much more than a resource for individual technical training. Matt Sheldon, current USL player with FC Tulsa, films a lot about his journey in soccer. I highly recommend watching his videos, even if you are not a player and just someone who is interested in what goes into being a professional player.
With that said, Matt does a great job of simplifying his videos to activities that are developmentally appropriate for most. Most people believe that the pros are the ones doing the most complex drills with limitless resources. Matt’s channel proves that it is a myth, providing plenty of activities that require little to no equipment.
iSoccer - playisoccer.com
iSoccer is another great resource that I have used previously with my teams while coaching at different clubs. iSoccer puts the player’s development right into their hands with a user-friendly app that offers a point system for accomplishments that range from as simple as training or watching a game all the way up to raising their skill level based on their training performance.
I recommend iSoccer as a resource not just for this extended period of downtime, but throughout the soccer season as well. It is a great way to incentivize training and give players control over their own development while keeping things fresh.
Different player memberships are offered based on length of time. You can sign up monthly, seasonally, or yearly, but before doing so, be sure to take advantage of their free 14-day trial.
Techne Futbol - www.technefutbol.com/
Techne Futbol is a similar concept to iSoccer with a scoring system and leaderboard that players can train and compete to be a part of. Techne is significantly more expensive than iSoccer, but Yael Averbuch, former U.S. international and professional player did design it, giving it instant credibility.
Yael has emerged as one of the leaders in the technical training community, and Techne has followed suit.
Honorable Mention - www.kickwalls.com
James, better known as @24x7soccerus on Twitter, has launched a grassroots effort that has gained some incredible traction and for good reason. At the website above, James lays out his plans for anyone to easily build a kick wall at home.
While this is not in any way a training system, I felt the need to mention this as it is a great way to encourage training at home without losing a window or denting a garage. So much can be learned and so many repetitions can be gained with just a ball and a wall. Don’t overlook the simple things!
In conclusion, I hope that you still fall into the group of people that have yet to pull out what is left of their hair. I also hope that at least one of these resources can alleviate some of the inevitable stress that comes with being forced to stay at home.
Remember, training at home should be encouraged but never forced. Let’s use this time to help develop our children’s love for the game rather than take it away by forcing them to train constantly without the other elements that they love, their friends and the actual game itself.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments below. In addition, we would love to see and share all of the videos of our Brotherly Game families training at home. Share them with us on social media so we can bring more light to everyone in this dark time!