Becoming professional soccer is a time-consuming and intricate process that requires a lot of effort and hard work. It includes a wide range of various training drills aimed at developing new skills in playing techniques and tactics, speed, endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and agility (Morgans et al. 253). A positive result can only be achieved in the case of developing a training program that would include the activities and exercises that help achieve the best results in meeting the requirements mentioned above.
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First of all, what matters for becoming a professional soccer player is physical strength. However, it is nothing without endurance and speed. Professional players have a strict training program that varies depending on the period of the year and the stage of the league. For example, during a pre-season, they train more intensively with specific attention to strength, endurance, and speed training activities, while during the season training activities are rarer because the players work heavily during the games. Even though endurance, speed, and muscular strength are of significant importance, what is even more vital is the tea spirit and the knowledge of playing techniques and tactics. It is what coaches should focus on because, without these skills, there is no chance to become a champion.
There is a wide range of training methods that can be used for training professional soccer players and helping them gain knowledge and develop skills in tactics and techniques. In general, these methods can be divided into two groups: theoretical and practical. Theoretical methods include getting primary theoretical information on the new tactic or strategy from the coach, watching video records of the games or watching a coach demonstrating some new moves that can be used for becoming a better player. As of practical methods, they involve any activities regarding putting newly received information to practice.
For example, it might be studying new tactics or asking a bench team or young team to use the tactics of the team of opponents during the drills or conducting drills for smaller groups of players, not the whole team. Each of the methods mentioned above has its particular advantages and disadvantages.
The study of the training methods in professional soccer will begin with the first theoretic method. Here a coach gathers his team and shares theoretical information regarding the new tactics or strategy the team will use while planning. Some of the advantages are probably the possibility to find out some new techniques in playing soccer and an opportunity to have some rest because it does not involve any physical activities.
As of the disadvantages of this method, it is, for the most part, limiting because using only words cannot help in developing new skills in the case of professional soccer players, as they need visualization of the information to perceive it and learn how to use it in the future. For this reason, the coaches might choose to show some photoshoots of the moves or schemes of the tactics described in the theory. What should be stressed about this method is that it is effective for outlining the new strategy of positioning the players on a soccer field because it is better to see a picture a hear some information about it and then put it into practice.
Another theoretical method is demonstrating some new moves or helping the player correct some mistakes if he has some. It involves the coach who shows the players how to do something right without any additional pictures or video records (Irvine 55). The major advantage of this method is the visualization because every player gets an opportunity to see what he is taught in real life. Moreover, the coach has a chance to help the players reach perfection in their moves because there is the possibility to make sure that they do everything right and correct their mistakes if they make any.
It is especially acute in the case of young teams. Another advantage is that seeing the move in real life makes it easier to comprehend if compared to the case when they are shown as the fragment of a video record of a game. Speaking of the disadvantages of this method, it might as well be a little limiting because it does not give the players a chance to see how they move or the strategy is used in the game when the whole team is involved because no visualization tools except for the coach’s body are used.
Finally, one more training method is showing video records of the games to the team. It can be of extreme importance in two cases – when the team just started its professional growth and when it prepares for the game with the opponent. This method has numerous advantages. In the case when the team is young and has just started its professional journey, watching video records of the games can help significantly improve the tactics and serve as a motivation tool because the players see what brought successful teams to where they are. In addition to it, watching videos might be some kind of a guide to teamwork that is especially acute for young professionals.
When we speak about the preparation for the game with opponents, this method might add to the chances of winning a match because the players have a perfect opportunity to study the team’s tactics. Moreover, watching the video several times can help find out whether the players have some secret signs they use while playing. In general, this method helps choose the tactics, develop a new strategy of playing or improve the existing one. Nevertheless, it has some disadvantages.
First of all, this method implies that the players simply watch the video fragment. They have time to reflect on what they have seen, but they do not have a chance to feel the whole experience as they do not see all sides of the game but see it only from some perspectives. Moreover, while preparing for the game with the opponent, there is no guarantee that they have not changed their strategy or chosen some other so that it does not necessarily lead the team to victory.
Furthermore, there are some practical training methods exercised in professional soccer. The first example of such methods is used when preparing for the game with opponents. In this case, the coach asks the players from the bench or young teams to use the tactics of the opponents. The primary advantage of this method is that the team has an opportunity to exercise in the game with similar tactics. However, it is impossible to foresee what strategy will be chosen.
Moreover, young players are not those with rich experience in playing soccer. They exercise only that elements of tactics that they have seen on a video fragment or in real life, but they are not those who the team will play with. In addition to it, this method has a psychological side because subconsciously players might expect the tactics that were used by a bench, so it might decrease the chances for the victory.
Finally, what is often used is breaking the team down into smaller groups and conducting training drills for these small groups, e.g. 4vs4 or 3vs3 (“Soccer Smaller Sided Games” par. 2). The essence of this method is organizing a game inside a team. This method is advantageous in cases when there is no need to involve the whole team. For example, it may be used while improving attack or defense strategies when only several players are involved. In addition to it, this method might be useful in developing passing skills. As of the disadvantages it has, it might ruin the team spirit because some players might take these games too seriously, so it might lead to conflicts and confrontation.
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So, what can be said about the training methods of professional soccer is that they all have some advantages and disadvantages. Because of it, it is inefficient to choose only one of them. What is more significant is that only a comprehensive embodiment of all methods mentioned above into training program might entail positive changes in a team’s tactics, help players develop new skills, and lead a team to victory and championship.
Irvine, Robert. The Analyze-Involve – Model (AIM) Soccer Coaching Process. 2012. Web.
Morgans, Ryland, Patrick Orme, Liam Anderson, and Barry Drust. “Principles and practices of training for soccer.” Journal of Sport and Health Science 3.4 (2014): 251-257. Print.
Soccer Smaller Sided Games. 2015. Web.