Top players like Ronaldinho, Ribery and Cristiano Ronaldo show us how to play attractive, winning soccer. They always have the ball under control — at top speed, under maximum pressure, on the ground and in the air.
To play at this level, with this degree of 1 v. 1 skill, requires outstanding coordination and excellent balance. Players’ bodies are constantly subjected to forces that must be counterbalanced. They need to be aware of their bodies and able to quickly control their movements, especially after jumps, turns and interference from opponents. Players who lack good balance develop technical problems and tend to be unsure of themselves. Tiny deviations — in the placement of the plant foot, for example — can make the difference between:
• scoring and hitting the post
• crossing in front of or behind the goal
• keeping control of the ball or losing it
• a successful diagonal pass or a failed counterattack.
Why is it so important to train spatial awareness?
- Confident, skilled movement, postural stability, self-confidence, fewer collisions, lower risk of injury, quicker recovery from injury.
- Spatial awareness training makes players more skilled and confident in their movements. This leads to better technique. Training on unstable surfaces brings about huge improvements in internal perception and spatial awareness in the muscles, joints, tendons and skin.
- The posture becomes more stable, helping players win 1 v. 1s and execute passes or shots despite opponents’ attempts to disrupt them. Experienced players anticipate contact with other players, and they don’t let the impact throw them off balance. Better inter- and intramuscular coordination improves strength as well, which also helps.
- Spatial awareness training also increases players’ confidence in their own bodies and their ability to meet the physical challenges of the game. This is especially important for 1 v. 1 play.
- Spatial awareness training makes the body’s early-warning system more sensitive. This leads to quicker reactions, which reduces the number of collisions. Before the player loses his balance, potentially causing a collision, his body unconsciously begins to compensate, helping to prevent accidents.
- Spatial awareness training improves knee and ankle stability, which in turn reduces the risk of injury, making injuries less frequent and less severe.
- Finally, spatial awareness training speeds recovery time after injuries, allowing players to get back on the field sooner.
Get more information in the DVD: