Using Cueing to Develop the Soccer Brain

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This is a functional example of external cueing and gridding used in pattern play.  The center midfield player plays a pass wide to the winger, located inside the designated channel.  The winger touches the ball forward and plays a cross into the box in-between the middle and far mannequins, for the striker to finish.  The exercise rotates every other repetition between the right and left sides.  The drill appears very straight forward but the use of gridding and external cueing play a significant role in the effectiveness of the exercise.  The midfielders first pass must be hit between the two red poles to the winger, this is the first use of external cueing.  Next, the wingers first touch must be forward, traveling in-between the next set of red poles, again using external cueing, only a successful forward first touch will send the ball down the channel between the red poles.  The winger will then play a well-timed cross into the designated area of the mannequins for the striker to finish.  The mannequins in this way serve as external cues, as the entire movement demands coordinated timed movement and passing in order to be successful. The benefit of using external cueing and gridding in this exercise is that it places the focus on the end product of the player’s actions.  If the pass is not accurate, the brain will pick it up right away because the ball will not go through the red poles, if the service into the box is not accurate it will not land in the pre-determined spot between the mannequins for the striker to finish. The entire layout of the exercise serves as a game realistic grid with the channels marked out and the mannequins representing defenders.  The last step in the exercise would be to remove all markings, poles and mannequins, as the players carry out the movements in what is called the visualization stage.  If you are not familiar with external cueing and gridding, an exercise like this may just look like a bunch of poles and mannequins, but hopefully now it takes on a much greater meaning.

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