soccer player weapon

One Thing makes your Players great: A Weapon

Admittedly, today’s headline is provocative, but our blog article today has something for every coach, including junior coaches. We’ll give you useful tips on how to assess the skills of your players and thus work faster to make them better.

Weapons – we need guns

Every coach wants to have players in their squad who can make the difference. If the coach doesn’t have such players, he wants to develop them there. In order to make a difference, players need “weapons”. These are skills that are particularly well developed. The player has an advantage over other players through his weapon. Weapons can be physical or conditional attributes, such as robustness or speed, but also football skills, such as a good long-range shot, dribbling skills or excellent passing play. Furthermore, cognitive abilities, such as orientation, can also be weapons.

How the weapon comes into its own …

Of course, such attributes only become weapons when the player knows how to use them. He therefore needs supporting skills that bring the weapons to bear. For example, if a winger’s weapon is speed, his supporting skills should be in the area of first contact and tempo dribbling. What good would Alphonso Davies use his speed if every ball bounced and he had the wrong timing when touching the ball because he did not notice how far away opponents are. The context of the game is always important – after all, weapons are not an end in themselves.

Gareth bale weapon

Gareth Bale is mainly known for his speed… Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley / Shutterstock.com

How the weapon comes into its own …

Of course, such attributes only become weapons when the player knows how to use them. He therefore needs supporting skills that bring the weapons to bear. For example, if a winger’s weapon is speed, his supporting skills should be in the area of first contact and tempo dribbling. What good would Alphonso Davies use his speed if every ball bounced and he had the wrong timing when touching the ball because he did not notice how far away opponents are. The context of the game is always important – after all, weapons are not an end in themselves.

Why it is not enough for the top despite the weapon …

We then open up a third category: limiting abilities. These are the ones that the player does not control well. In extreme cases, they ensure that the player cannot play in a higher division due to these limits. Another example of this: if the striker does not have good first contact and pre-orientation, his weapon, which is in the area of the shot on goal, no longer comes into its own at a certain level. Too often the ball bounces under pressure, he often perceives pressure from opponents incorrectly and thus rarely comes to a conclusion. Under certain circumstances, this can ensure that the player can only survive in a certain division. Limiting abilities are often in the athletic or cognitive area. For example, there is a lack of speed of movement or perception. One approach is to cover up limiting abilities, for example by finding a new position or by supporting other players.

It all depends on the level!

It is important for the trainer to consider the level in his assessment – more precisely, the target level. He always has to know what he is training for. Depending on the level, the pressure of the opponent, space and time is different. If the player with the bad first contact does not have a chance in the Bundesliga, there is still a chance to score in the regional league. In the case of player engagements, especially from the lower divisions, it must be considered and questioned whether the player’s weapons are also used in the higher division. As a trainer, I have to know the requirements of the level very well.

Mainly work on the weapon during training!

The focus in the training work should be strength-oriented. The coach must work out the player’s weapons and bring them to bear through supporting skills. The reduction of weaknesses, i.e. limiting abilities, only comes in third place. Our young players in particular need a sense of achievement. The most important thing, however, remains that we work on our weapons in game forms! We therefore add “Let the games begin” by “and draw your weapons!”.

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