Over the last six months I’ve been focusing my coaching strictly on the female side of the game. Coaches as you know the differences between the male and female side are striking. Often girls need to be taught the polar opposite from what boys need to learn at various stages in their development.
But, for the purpose of this blog I won’t get into all the differences, that would take hours and hours to write and I have four footy games PVR’d I’m dying to take in tonight. Let’s be honest it would probably make more sense to call me up and take me out for a pint or two, just let the banter flow, right?
So what’s my focus here? I want to discuss only one coaching point today.
There’s something really lacking in the female game. It’s something that is critical if you want to excel in the sport.
So what is it?
It’s having a change of pace. A quick burst of speed. Going from say…walking pace… to a full sprint.
This is how you lose defenders. This is how you find and create space. And it is space that you are looking for to play soccer. It’s always about finding space. Always.
Next time you watch a female soccer game take the time to notice this. Typically you will see players continually jogging the same pace for the duration of the match. It’s as if players think soccer is akin to running a marathon. What’s more, you will often find players on both teams jogging right beside each other. But here’s the thing, you don’t want to jog the entire match. Instead continual short bursts of speed are far more desirable. Short bursts of speed that will help you lose defenders and find space to play.
Ladies save your energy. It’s okay to slow the pace down, gather your breath, then burst forward with 100% exertion. In fact this is what professional soccer players do.
Okay I’ve made my point, a change of pace is lacking in the female game. But more importantly, let’s think about some solutions.
Below is a super simple drill that you can run that focuses on a change of pace:
Having a change of pace is absolutely critical in the game. Coaches I suggest beginning to reward your players if they are demonstrating a change of pace in practice or games. It’s a fantastic reward based developmental metric. Demonstrate a change of pace and you will earn a charitable reward towards the cause of your team’s choice.
Simple, demonstrate a change of pace and you will be growing as a player and a person. So coaches I hope by reading this you will take the time to peel back the layers even further and recognize something that I’ve been working on in my training sessions. Trust me this isn’t something you will fix overnight, but rewarding your players for a change of pace will again put precedence on just how important it is.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Go. Play Better