When I was growing-up learning the game, there wasn’t many people with the knowledge to teach me soccer technique. I learned how to kick and drive the ball long, by watching a VHS video tape of Hubert Vogelsinger. I learned 1v1 moves, direction changes and fast-foot through a picture book, written by the famous Dutch Coach, Wiel Coerver. The only soccer on television was on Sunday, my dad, brother and I would watch, “Soccer Made in Germany” on PBS, if we didn’t have to go to church! Now compare that to the world we live in today, where players can access every possible soccer technique on Instagram, Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook and more. For me this means that coaches can run training sessions differently, the days of learning technique in a “Rote Training Model”, should soon be in the past. Think about this, what if the coach posted an entire technical training curriculum on Youtube (which many exist already), the players could then learn, practice and teach each other at a rapid pace, outside of team practices. This means that team practice time could focus on applying techniques in strategic ways, in games and exercises that require strategy and decision making, from constraint based games to full match play. The days of lining players up on cones, blowing the whistle, and having them do direction changes or 1v1 moves, should probably be a thing of the past in this digital age.
The example of technical training is just the beginning, technology will continue to revolutionize soccer player development and coaching in the years to come. Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are two technologies that will have a major impact on coaching and player development . Players will be able to train their decision-making in real time, against the best players in the game, via virtual reality. Artificial intelligence will serve as an expert coach, offering precise feedback, corrections and even offering players tactical situational solutions. During games, coaches will be given real-time tactical solutions from smart computers, to counter the opponents tactics. Yes, technology will continue to change the game, player development and coaching; but in the end, becoming highly a highly skilled player will still require commitment, dedication and hard work.