Soccer vision must be developed in progressive stages, and a player must always have good technique
Vision Training For Soccer
by: Stewart Flaherty
Vision is a crucial skill for a soccer player while in possession of the ball. Soccer vision is the ability to see defensive pressure and spot opportunities to pass to open teammates. Soccer vision must be developed in progressive stages, and a player must always have good technique to execute a pass, even if he has excellent vision.
Passing and possession drills allow the coach to place an emphasis on soccer vision. Five-against-one keep-away is a good example. Four members of the attacking team wear green pinnies (scrimmage vests), with one player wearing red. Defenders wear a distinctive color. The game begins as regular keep-away, but the coach calls for the attacking team to send the next pass to the red player, and the game continues. Score a point if the attacking team manages to get the ball to and from the red player within 3 seconds. This drill teaches many forms of soccer vision. The player with the ball must be able to see defensive pressure and his open teammates. When the coach calls for the pass, the player must quickly find a designated player, requiring more advanced soccer vision.
Players who regularly work on their soccer vision skills will have an increased awareness of defensive pressure,and also be able to see open teammates on a more consistent basis. The habit of constantly looking around the field before and after receiving the ball will develop over time and make a player more effective in possession for his team. Soccer vision training will also increase the confidence of a player, as knowing where opportunities exist and where defenders are makes keeping possession much easier.
Soccer vision training is an underused exercise in youth soccer. Vision is crucial in being effective with the ball. Regardless of how good technique is, players who force the ball into defensive pressure and do not see open teammates will not be as successful in game situations. Players with good soccer vision also increase the tactical flexibility, allowing their coach to make adjustments and know the players will see match-ups or areas of the field to attack.
Players develop at different rates, so one training session will not be enough to see total team improvement. Coaches should incorporate soccer vision training into all possession drills. Dedicating five or six sessions to possession drills, with an emphasis on vision, should develop positive results.
Soccer vision training often asks a player to look for a long or difficult pass, but keep the game simple--the first objective is to keep possession. If a player receives a ball and sees an open teammate 10 yards away, she does not have to keep looking--she can play the ball and prepare to receive it back.
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