This is part five of a six part analyses titled “How to succeed in football”
Previously, I have described the principle of specificity. Basically you should train the way you play. I have seen swimming coaches having their team RUN laps. I was part of a team that ran laps for 75 minutes under the pretext of cardio. Yet no one runs at the same pace during a game. Rarely do we run 50-60 yards in a match, and when we do we sprint, yet we had to pace ourselves to run 10 laps or more. A stranger looking in on the training session would never know whether we were soccer or rugby player. For all intents and purposes, we could have been marathoners for all the specificity we had.
Deliberate practice is about simulating, as much as possible, the conditions of actual play. It’s about the feel, the pressure, the intensity, the decisions made under those conditions. Preparing to win complements the idea of setting high standards. The standard of winning and doing everything it takes to win requires that we prepare to win. Not just hope to win, not dream about it- but prepare for it. Its the reason we practice corners, free kicks, 1-v-1, 2-v-1, etc.
Anita Elberse writes: Ferguson was both unusually aggressive and unusually systematic about his approach. He prepared his team to win. He had players regularly practice how they should play if a goal was needed with 10, five, or three minutes remaining. “We practice for when the going gets tough, so we know what it takes to be successful in those situations,” one of United’s assistant coaches told us.
Sprint coach Charlie Francis said that his sprinters rarely set world records at meets. They did that at practice and simply repeated those performances on the big stage.
To read part six of this analyses please click here.