Technically sound, tactically aware, fast, agile, physically and mentally fit--there are various elements to being a “complete” soccer player. At Techne, we believe the key to success is to integrate these elements into training.
As a player, it can be difficult to know how and what to do in the various areas of training, and equally important, how to keep track of them. Players need the foresight to plan their program, and the organization to track everything they’re doing over time. At Techne, we are continuing to help players construct a complete program, and eventually in the app they will be able to track it in their training log. This allows players not only to monitor their work, but to look back on it with great pride in order to gain confidence in their preparation.
Below are some of the most important areas of focus.
(Note: a qualified coach or trainer should oversee relevant aspects of this training).
Individual Technical: Individual technical training consists of all the basic tools necessary to execute a player’s vision on the field. This includes, but is not limited to: striking and receiving the ball; bringing the ball under control; moving and changing direction with the ball, having a great first touch, etc. Techne training helps players to master these skills by continually working to refine the basics and stretching their limits with drills that challenge them. Read about the cost of individual soccer training—all the options from hiring a private soccer coach, to heading out to a wall with just a ball.
Functional Technical: This entails working on position-specific techniques, perhaps with teammates or a coach. Examples of these skills include crossing and finishing; receiving the ball and switching the point of attack; clearing the ball and marking in the box for defenders. This type of training is best done on the actual area of the field where it would be executed in a game and likely requires some assistance of another player or two.
Conditioning: Conditioning refers to stamina, developed, for example, with repeated sprints done with minimal rest. The more soccer-specific the conditioning is, the better. So, for example, this would be shorter bursts of speed as opposed to longer-distance running, and done on a soccer field when possible versus a road or track. At the younger ages, conditioning can be achieved simply through playing. Beginning in the early teenage years, it likely needs to be a separate focus.
Speed and Agility: Developing speed means getting faster--both straight ahead and while changing direction. At younger ages, it should be developed just by playing the game, or moving quickly with the ball. Beginning in the early teens, specific speed work, including attention to running form, can be added to get faster in soccer. To get faster, either straight ahead, or in changing direction, players must train at max speed with full recovery. Stay tuned: training sessions geared towards improving these elements of the game are upcoming additions to the Techne app!
Mental Training: Focus, concentration, confidence--building your mental skills for soccer also takes practice. It is often an undervalued aspect of sports, but mentality is one of the four pillars of soccer (technical, tactical, physical, psychological). At Techne, we are currently working with an expert to refine our Mental Training section even further. Just like all skills, improving mindset takes repetition and focused work. Be sure to check our our tips on mental training for soccer if you want more on the topic.
Strength Training: Strength training benefits performance and serves as injury prevention. Like much training, strength work varies according to the age of the player and the time of the season. It entails everything from body weight work players can do at home (which is currently featured in the app), to heavier weight-lifting which may be done at a gym. The more soccer-specific, the better, such as single-leg work and attention to muscular balance (e.g. strengthening each leg, both front and back of legs, etc.).
Group Training: This is the training players do with their team. The coach might include small-sided games, possession drills and tactical concepts. The team training sessions allow players to put into practice all the individual and functional skills they are working on. Ideally, group training sessions break down various aspects of the full game and allow players to work on them together, often at game pace with full opposition.
Pick-Up/Free Play: An important part of the game for every player is to experience the fun and creativity of unstructured play. This playing is not overseen by a coach and is done without rules or restrictions. It doesn’t have to be in a big group; it can be 1v1 or 2v2. Free play is also important as it allows players to experiment without fear of pressure or making mistakes.
Active Recovery: Recovery is a key element of training. It’s important to take necessary time off, get enough sleep, and have proper hydration and nutrition routines. Active recovery for soccer should be part of every elite player’s training program. This includes stretching or yoga, foam rolling, and low-impact aerobic activity (swimming, jogging, biking). Active recovery should be aimed at increasing circulation to the muscles and improving mobility.
At Techne, we believe in empowering players to shape their own soccer destiny. Developing these areas of training will enable them to become “complete players.” Here are 5 Ways to Measure Your Individual Training.