Noticeable change doesn’t normally happen quickly, it is a process that takes time. If you go to the gym once, will you see a change in your body? Absolutely not. But if you go to the gym consistently, for six months straight, you should see significant changes in your physique.
The reason is simple, consistent effort over time produces change and the game of soccer is the no different, for change to be realized, and, brought to the mainstream, it takes time.
You don’t need a crystal ball to predict what the major changes in soccer coaching will be, just pay attention to the micro-influencers. I’m not talking about flash in the pan, whacky training ideas, that promise to transform players into a pro, in four days. I am talking about seriously looking at what some of the really smart, passionate, talented, knowledgeable and dedicated soccer coaching professionals are doing. These are the coaches that are trying new things, pushing the limits, asking questions, studying and collaborating with others, relentlessly pursuing a better way, never afraid of being judged. These are the coaches that will bring about meaningful change.
Drum roll please! Here are my predictions for shifts in soccer starting this year.
#1)Small group training goes mainstream
By now, the soccer community is somewhat familiar with small-group training. However, if you have not seen what the top small-group trainers are doing nowadays, you need to have a look, their work is impressive to say the least. I personally see enormous value in small-group training, if it is delivered by a top coach. I predict that professional clubs will soon begin to hire the top small-group trainers, it is only a matter of time. Small-group trainers will pop-up everywhere, with the best ones thriving. If you want to see some of the best small-group trainers check out these guys https://www.beesterasoccertraining.com– doesn’t get better than the crew at Beestera. Also, if you have not seen Joner 1on1, check him out on YouTube, he is a celebrity small-group guru.
#2) Virtual reality (VR) becomes a viable way to develop soccer player decision-making
Yes, we are on the brink of meaningful sports VR, led by companies like Rezzil and STRIVR sports. The simple fact is, the brain can’t tell fake from real; once a player is immersed in a real game experience via VR, the brain will not be able to tell its VR. What that means is, the player will be learning, getting better, but doing so, without having to use the body. Talk about the potential to build soccer intelligence. Take a look at VR in the game of American Football, from STRIVR’s website – https://www.strivr.com/use-cases/sports/ – this site will blow your mind if you have not seen sports specific VR.
#3) Pro sports “Coaching Management Companies” become a thing
Is this the year that a team hires a company, instead of hiring head coach? These are multi-million dollar clubs, who entrust the management of the team, to just one person. Is that the way sports teams have to be run? Is there another way? I realize this is a stretch, but I can see change coming at some point in the future.
#4) Center backs with pace will become invaluable
The center back position, will become a priority developmental position. Players with pace will no longer be automatically placed into attacking roles. As the modern game continues to evolve, center backs with pace will become invaluable. Top teams that control possession, occupying the opponents half, are more and more vulnerable to balls over the top, having 60 yards of space behind them to defend. The reality is that big spending teams will control the ball, while teams with smaller budgets, will sit and counter. The smaller teams are quickly realizing who they are, and what they need to succeed; they need a couple of speed guys for the counter who don’t have to be the best players, and some huge physical defenders to sit deep and clear the ball. Top teams with large budgets, will realize that without center backs with real pace they are vulnerable to the counter. The days of every team actually thinking they can play some beautiful type of possession soccer is over, teams budgets will determine their tactics. The exception to this trend will be teams like Ajax who invest in their academies.
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