Drill in Soccer

End the Drills. Let the Games begin.

We’ve all done it: you take an even number of players, place them opposite one another and let them play passes. The adequate thought: “We train the passing game” or “If you can’t do the simple things, how do you want to do it in the game”. The truth is very different. In the meantime it has been proven that it is not “easier” and “harder”, but rather something else and that the transference effects do not go as far as most people think. But one by one.

Why we let ourselves be fooled

A typical substitute for a coach in preparation is: “We have to start all over again” – but how can that be? Doesn’t training just mean conveying things that can be accessed over the long term? Often the reason lies in the way you exercise. We now know very well that content that was imparted on the basis of exercises (given repetitions without an opponent) cannot be accessed in the long term.

But why do we trainers not notice this and why do we still have the feeling that we can improve something with exercises? On the one hand, we actually improve content, namely the practice itself. With a passing relay we improve the ability of the players to complete a passing relay. On the other hand, the (very) short-term learning effect in exercises is slightly superior to the learning effect from game forms. And so, of course, the subjective impression arises during training: “Hey, I’ll improve the boys” – especially when the benchmark is again the exercise.

Can I do one thing, can I also do the other – right?

The other question is about the carry-over effects. “If I can pass the ball without an opponent, I can do better with an opponent.” And even if both look somehow the same, strictly speaking they are completely different. Both things are stored differently from each other in the subconscious and recorded as different learning experiences. A good example is a study with chess grandmasters.

“Over the past few years, I've had the feeling that you have to laboriously explain again and again why you should now incorporate more forms of play into training and practice less. In the meantime I've come to a point where I tend to see the argumentation on the other side. First of all, someone should explain to me why I should practice."

You were given the task of memorizing a situation on the board within ten seconds and then reconstructing it. Are you better at this task than someone who has nothing to do with chess? That depends: if a situation was given that could naturally arise from the game, the skills of the chess grandmasters were undisputed and they were able to reconstruct the board without errors within seconds. If a situation was shown that could not arise from the game, they were no better at this task than their inexperienced opponents.

The framework in which learning takes place is therefore very closely tailored to the situation that is currently taking place. Strictly speaking, the pass relay only improves the players’ ability to complete the pass relay better.

Let the games begin

What does all this mean for us coaches? Very simple: play, play and play again. Players need the experiences, successes and failures from game forms and not the confirmation that they can dribble out a cone.

Let’s bury the passport team, they did their job. May she rest in peace and let the games begin.


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