In the tech world, it’s the “disrupters” that receive all the glory and front page headlines.
Case studies are written about them and the founders are forever regarded as technology visionaries.
Some of these businesses withstand the test of time but for every Facebook, there’s plenty of “MySpaces” that fade into the land of “inconsequential” and lose out to the next “disrupter”. Sometimes they crash in a most spectacular Theranos style with the “I told you so’s” seeping out from every nook and cranny to celebrate the demise of the billionaire founder.
But more often than not, it’s the quiet one, the one that toils away day after day making incremental strides forward, chipping away at the glacier until it finally fits into the tumbler as precise little ice cubes so everyone can drink their beverage without even thinking about the effort needed to convert it from room temperature to a frosty chill.
When tradition meets technology and the traditionalists don’t even realize the 2 have merged, now that’s a product and a business guaranteed to succeed through the test of time.
It’s the reason cell phones destroyed the land line business. Why most people drive cars instead of horse buggies and nobody “dials a phone” to access the internet.
All of these technologies accomplished absolutely nothing new.
I still speak to my mom with a chunk of plastic, metal, and electronics held to my face. I travel from point A to point B over the same earth surface without walking and access the same information on the internet… but I do all of them far better than I did before.
Technology has made all of these activities easier, faster, cheaper and better.
Soccer is a sport steeped in tradition.
Individual play makers are revered and articles are published regularly lamenting the loss of the free spirit and creativity from the players. Coaches are blamed for “over coaching”, players are blamed for not playing enough “pick-up” games, etc.
But to these points I take the counter position that kids are still kids and will always be kids. Expecting them to play more pick-up games to become the next Lionel Messi simply isn’t going to happen.
There’s a park right outside our office building where the neighborhood kids play pick-up soccer regularly but when we faced their club team in a real game, these kids were destroyed… they were terrible team players with a poor touch, no ability to hold the ball or commit to strong defensive attacks.
Good hustle, great heart, but no ability to play against kids practicing and developing their skills with intensity and purpose.
To develop kids into great players, they need to be coached in a traditional manner that builds their skills, develops their touch through repetition and makes their passes and movements reflexive without any need to even think about what they’re doing.
Whoa… Whoa… Whoa… “my kids are already not thinking on the field and that’s where all the problems start”!
I’ve heard this statement enough to know what most people are thinking but I want to counter that thought.
The trouble isn’t that the kids are thinking too little, it’s that they’re thinking too much.
The game moves too fast to “think” on the field so the players need to minimize the number of decisions necessary to accomplish the goal. Having too many decisions to make, too many options to compute, causes information overload and the next thing you see is a ball rolling right across your 18 like it was a pitch set up for the opposing team in a kickball game.
But there’s an easy way to make kids smarter without making them think more during a game.
Teaching kids the game by reviewing video with them is the #1 best way to help your players think less on the field by eliminating a whole bunch of bad options so they have fewer decisions to make in each instance and can more easily choose the best one.
When you give a player 2 options to choose from in any given scenario, they’re much more likely to choose the best one. When you give them an “open field” of decisions to make during the high intensity and high stress of a game, is it any wonder they do some really “strange” things with the ball?
Video analysis will never create a better 1st touch, faster runners, or better shooters, but it will definitely make them “smarter” players so they know when to use that 1st touch to dribble down the line or when that 1st touch needs to go immediately to a pass to someone their teammate.
You can try to explain these things to your players but “seeing is believing” and your message isn’t going to stick with your players until they believe deeply in the accuracy of the message. When your players repeat the same mistakes over and over, it isn’t because they’re not thinking, it’s because you haven’t made them believe.
To this day, there are still people with land lines, dial up modems, and travelling by horse and buggy; you just need to decide if that’s how you want to coach your team.
If you’re not using video analysis in your soccer coaching today, you can rest assured that you’ll soon be losing to teams that do use video as a weekly teaching tool.
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