There are two sides of soccer skill development… The TECHNICAL side of coaching how the foot strikes the ball, the weight and direction of the touch, etc., and the PHYSICAL side or coaching the body into better positions of balance, quickness, or bursts of power. In my opinion, these physical aspects are overlooked, undercoached and often ignored.
When we watch the body (instead of the ball) as high level players perform skill, we see a variety of simple agility patterns begin to show up. One of these patterns that shows up in almost every technical skill is HOPPING, or the ability to quickly reposition the feet under the body to create a state of dynamic balance. Players with high levels of technical skill have great body awareness, rhythm, and stability. They have the ability to quickly reposition the feet to create an athletic advantage. Watch the clips below (taken from a recent AthleteFIT coaching course) to see how this all comes together.
When a player is coming back from injury, their ability to hop is one of the first aspects we look to train. If they have lost the rhythm, stability and dynamic coordination to quickly reposition the feet, their touch is often inconsistent, slowed or awkward. They didn’t forget how to strike a ball… They didn’t forget how to perform the move… They simply don’t feel confident, or have lost the strength and/or rhythmic control of their body, and therefore their ability to reposition around their touch has been compromised.
Here are the keys to developing explosive skill from a physical perspective.
- Start with Balance (find your sweet spot)
- Forward / Lateral Hops (land in the same spot every time)
- Quick Hops (keep the feet close to the ground)
- Control Your Torso (don’t let your upper body drift from side to side)
- Add Distance, Speed, Complexity to the Patterns
If you are looking to improve your quickness with the ball, you can download our Quick Feet & Ball Skills program by clicking HERE. This program contains 4 sessions (2 from our TECHNICAL SKILL series, and 2 from our PHYSICAL series) and over 40 videos of drills from our Phase 1 Ball Control Foundations. You also get a 13 page PDF with workouts, tracking sheets, goal setting and a workout calendar to guide your training.