Why do we still remember certain soccer players years after we saw them? What makes them legendary? One thing is clear; soccer idols are not remarkable for their outstanding physical condition. Other traits make an average soccer player into a star.

Coordination, a key skill in soccer

Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, Pelé and other exceptional soccer players had a high level of soccer intelligence and extraordinary technique, as do the stars of today. These players certainly have and had a good conditional basis, but over and above this they were able to:

  • analyze game situations correctly in a split second, in other words to read the game;
  • make clever tactical decisions quickly;
  • put their tactical decisions into effect with their outstanding technical capabilities.

Coordination conditioning and top soccer

Not every child can be a star. However, systematic and competent coaching of young players should create the broad basis that is needed to give the most talented ones the opportunity to develop their full potential.

Everyone knows about Ajax Amsterdam, but German professional clubs such as FC Schalke 04 have also provided general and soccer-specific coordination conditioning for their young players for many years.

They have recognized that coordination skills are an important precondition for performing well at the top level.

General and varied coordination conditioning should be part of the basic education of young soccer players, but players of all ages and levels of ability can benefit from supplementary coordination drills.

“Coordination is of considerable, even crucial, importance for soccer players, who find themselves in a wide variety of situations and have to perform many different movements.
Erich Ruthemöller – German Soccer Association coach

The core aspects and objectives depend on the players’ abilities and the age structure of the group. While 9-year-olds need varied movement drills of a general coordinative nature, top soccer players should make use of their soccer techniques in coordination training sessions under a variety of conditions (e.g. under pressure of time or in tight situations).

Coordination as the basis of success

Several muscles are needed to enable the body to perform soccer movements properly, quickly, powerfully and enduringly. The muscles of soccer players should therefore be controlled by a finely tuned nervous system.

The exact coordination of skeletal muscles and central nervous system is regulated and controlled by bodily processes that are covered by the term “coordination”. Coordination is, however, a multifaceted term.

In essence it relates to learning, controlling and using movements. Soccer players should be capable of learning new techniques quickly, economically and precisely, and adjusting them to take account of unexpected events. Players who have been taught good coordination can control their movements when they have to act quickly, under pressure from an opponent, in tight situations.

Developing Coordination in Soccer

Coordination – the basis of success and a key skill
Coordination training – simple (learned) movements – under varying conditions

Important points in coordination training

  • Variation
  • Precision and correction
  • Concentration
  • Motivation
  • Demands must fit to the level of ability of the group

Example for Coordination:
You can compare playing soccer with building sentences: Words are technique and the grammar is coordination.

Method:

  • Teach the techniques and different coordination exercises
  • Simple combinations, one touch passing and coordination, Triangle, Square
  • Complex drills (continuous), Coordination eight
  • Complex drills with shooting

Variations:

  • Different coordination exercises (hoops, hurdles, coordination ladder, …)
  • Distances (small , large)
  • Speed (slow, fast)
  • Different combinations of technique and coordination exercise

 

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