How can I get better?

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Post by Balzo1 Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:16 am

Hello GL, I just started playing football at 19 years of age. I know it's late, but I want to make the best of it and try to reach my full potential. For that, I need a little help. I don't know how or how much to train, what skills I focus on or which drills to do. I would be very grateful if you could help me create a training "program" of some sort. I can train around 3-4 hours a day btw. I also have some cones for practice.

My stats:
19 years
5'7.5 (172 cm)
59 kg

From what I've read so far, the ideal program would include weight lifting, endurance training, HIIT, body weight exercises, plyometrics, tactical training and of course ball exercises. I currently play 2 times a week, Tuesday and Thursday, in the afternoon. I have access to a gym, so I was thinking of going there Monday, Wednesday and Friday (I figure it would be too hard on playing days?).

I was thinknig something like this:

Monday Plyometrics + lifting in the morning, ball exercises afternoon

Tuesday Ball exercises in the morning, playing afternoon

Wednesday Same as Monday

Thursday Same as Tuesday

Friday Same as Monday

Saturday Ball exercises

Sunday Ball exercises

Then where should I put HIIT? Isn't it too hard on lifting days? And what about endurance?

And do you have a ball training program I could use? I'm not sure which ball exercises I should do when I'm alone, other than shooting. Which are the most important? At practice we did the "Four corner square passing drill" / "Rondo", whatever it's called, the Barcelona exercise. I found it pretty tough to handle the pressure and I often made a really bad pass. Is it possible to train this while I'm alone? And where could I learn about positioning / reading the game? Because I just started and I have no clue where to position myself on the pitch. Watching football games doesn't really help, I can only imitate them but I'd like to understand why.

Sorry about the wall of text, but I'd like to start training by myself as soon as possible. :)Thanks so much to anyone with any input.


Last edited by Balzo1 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by vivabarca38 Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:16 am

You wont improve that much if you don't test yourself in matches.
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Post by Balzo1 Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:59 am

@vivabarca38 wrote:You wont improve that much if you don't test yourself in matches.
Well, I can't really do that before I improve. :p I'll never get play time at my current level... I've played some 7v7s before but I never know how to position myself on the pitch and what to do etc.

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Post by ErPupone Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:00 pm

You can take my opinion for what it's worth (just another post on GL), but it seems as if what you're focusing on is barely grazing 50% of what you need to do to really improve. I'm not going to criticize your methods because it would be absolutely unfair to do so, but I believe your missing some key points in order to improve as a footballer. Actually, you even recognized it yourself in your last post. I'll explain myself.

I've always believed that football is 50% physical/technical and 50% mental. You seem to be focusing on the first part and ignoring the latter. You need to learn about tactics and how the game is played in order to find use for the physical training that your doing, or else it's as if you're training for any other sport.

Tactics and knowledge about positioning, movements, mentalities is what makes football unique and what sets it apart from other sports. In my opinion, you could be technically gifted but be a completely useless player if you can't see the bigger image which goes over and above the technical abilities of one individual and that encompasses the team as a whole and how one person's movement and decisions are directly influenced by that of teammate.

You said it yourself: "I never know how to position myself on the pitch and what to do etc". Well, tackle that problem. There's lots of books and videos out there that explain positioning and tactics, everything from basic learning videos to actual match cases. Now, most of the stuff I like to study is in Italian, but here are a few links that I gathered (I'll post more when I think of them because I'm drawing a blank now):

http://www.zonalmarking.net/
This one is very basic and quick, look at the Nike Academy Tactics videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN36fobGAB8

But of course, nothing beats applying what you've learned so far in actual match practice.

PS- My personal favorite:

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Post by Balzo1 Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:32 pm

Thank you very much for your contibution, ErPupone, I agree very much with you. Because I'm starting at such a late age, I would very much like for my tactical understanding of the game to become one of my main "powers". But I'm sure I have what it takes... the tactics seem confusing to me.

The links you posted are great, certainly feel free to post more if you can think of any. Zonalmarking looks like a great site, perhaps a little advanced. The vids you linked looks great too. But what I would like (if possible) is a book about the basic tactics of football, and then I would get more advanced as time goes by, sort of like a math course. I don't really learn much from these 2 min vids, although they do look good. I would like to become a "smart" player, and the way for example Ozil or Xavi passes through the defense and their reading of the game (Busquets) really impresses me. Now whether that is learned or born into them, I don't know....

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Post by The Franchise Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:15 pm

I would forget most of the HIIT, weight training, endurance and the fitness and all that stuff. If your just now starting out, you got alot to do in a relatively short amount of time. If you want to be able really play with people, your going to have to devolp your skills and your understanding of the game.

All the fitness and stuff like that, you can do that afterwards or whenever...but right now, your priority should be your skills and understanding.

Play football, just play as much as you can.

First learn the game by playing it, all the tactics and stuff, you can pick up bits and pieces as you play the game and figure out what works and what doesnt.

The most simply thing you can do when your alone to train, use a wall for everything, pass the ball against the wall (with the correct technique if you know it), control it when it returns, change the angle your passing, therefore you have to control the ball with a different part of your body.
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Post by DuringTheWar Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:10 pm


 
Obviously you are 19 so that makes the technique part difficult base on what wenger said.
 
But I don't know exactly what wenger meant, maybe he meant if you trained 7 years and still didn't have technique you wont become a footballer. Its either that or hes saying your body biologically isnt capable of learning it after the age of 14, or maybe that after 14 you just don't have enough time. I really don't know what he was implying. Obviously this is relevant to how much potential you can reach, I don't know if you could reach the potential now that you would have had when you were younger. Sorry that I don't know the answer to this, maybe someone else does
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Post by Balzo1 Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:08 am

Thansk for the responses and the Wenger vid.

TheFranchise, which skills do you suggest I focus on the most? Should I do juggle a lot, for example? Or should I practice shooting / passing with my weak foot a lot? I have a wall for the purpose, I just need to know what to do with it. =p

"Play football, just play as much as you can." The problem is that I only train twice per week, and besides that I don't have anyone to play with. And we don't even play matches at practice everytime.

Also, a quick question (might sound dumb): I watch Barca play a lot, and several people say that Busquets is a world-class talent. How does one learn to "see" that? Is it because of his positioning, his passing. what? Do you need a coaching certificate or something to be able to see the difference he makes on the pitch? Because I just see him as another ordinary player. Where does one go to learn to read "between the lines" of the game, so to speak?

Thanks for replies and sorry for being noob.

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Post by juventus101 Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:36 am

The best thing is really just to oractice with someone one on one. At least thats what worked for me. I play alot of indoor and pickup games and im basically what in the pros would be called a regista. Im lazy, I sit in the middle and dont run alot, just spread passes. I practice my close control while holding off markers while looking around as much as I can for a pass, or beating the marker when I can or have to. Its all about multitasking, being able to do all that at once.
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Post by The Franchise Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:03 am

@Balzo1 wrote:Thansk for the responses and the Wenger vid.

TheFranchise, which skills do you suggest I focus on the most? Should I do juggle a lot, for example? Or should I practice shooting / passing with my weak foot a lot? I have a wall for the purpose, I just need to know what to do with it. =p

"Play football, just play as much as you can." The problem is that I only train twice per week, and besides that I don't have anyone to play with. And we don't even play matches at practice everytime.

Also, a quick question (might sound dumb): I watch Barca play a lot, and several people say that Busquets is a world-class talent. How does one learn to "see" that? Is it because of his positioning, his passing. what? Do you need a coaching certificate or something  to be able to see the difference he makes on the pitch? Because I just see him as another ordinary player. Where does one go to learn to read "between the lines" of the game, so to speak?

Thanks for replies and sorry for being noob.
Nah forget juggling, there are better uses of your time.

Pass the ball against the wall with some power, when it bounces off the wall and returns to you, control it. Then experiment, different types of passes against the wall, different heights, angles and things like this. It will force you to pass and control the ball with different parts of your body.

None of this is as good as playing with other people but its a way to progress without relying on anyone.

You play 2 times a week with a team or something? Thats alright, it seems like you have other time on other days. Thats when you can do some individual things. You can just go to a field and work on your shooting for example.

If you do that, then dont just have the ball lying still and shoot at an empty goal. Pointless. Work on running with the ball, maybe 1, 2 or 3 touches and then shooting, shooting on the move, shifting the ball from one position to another and shooting.

And dont worry about not playing matches in practice/training. Its not important. Working on your skills is much more important and you will learn more...matches are fun and all, but really it serves little purpose at times, especially the stage your age at the moment.

Busquets is a special player. Even people on this site, who watch a heck of a lot of football, cant see his true qualities. But no, you dont need a coaching certificate or anything to see what he does.

The reason perhaps you cannot see it, is because his game has nothing to do with how fast he runs, how quick his feet are, how strong he is or even how great he can pass the ball. His game is incredibly subtle.

Where 99% of players are faster than he is in every way, he is faster than 99% of players where its more important..in his brain.

He "thinks" fast. Really all it is a unbelievable understanding of time, space and what is around him. He nearly always positions himself perfectly to receive a pass, so he doesnt need to take extra touches to face the way we wants to pass the ball. He moves without the ball into space to he has maximum time to make a decision, when the ball comes and he has to turn in another direction, he already knows which direction he must turn because he looked at everything before the ball even was passed to him...heck, he looks at everything when its 2 or even 3 passes from reaching him.


If someone gets close enough to him to make it difficult, he knows how to position his body so they have to foul him before winning any ball, he knows if a player is running towards him he can move the ball into an area where that player cannot stop, turn and run again fast enough to win the ball.

Also he knows exactly how many touches he has on the ball. He judges the situation and knows if he has to play with 1 touch or 2 touches, or he has to bring the ball forward first. Its just extreme understanding of the game more than any particular skill.

On top of all this, because he knows all this information, he recognises what situation the player he will pass to has. Which then means he can make the best choices of when to pass, where, to what foot of the team mate, everything. He does this all incredibly quickly and finally he does it, time after time after time with hardly any errors...which is just as important as anything, he does it consistently.

Then after all this, he can use his skills, which are instant control of passes, use of both feet, accurate short and medium passing and some level of dribbling ability in tight situations.

And this is just with the ball, without it, when he is defending, he is almost just as intelligent and skilled.

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Post by Balzo1 Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:22 pm

Thanks for the long and good replies )

Yes, I play 2 times a week. I just don't understand how I'll ever be used to matches and how I can develop a tactical sense of the game when I never really play it :p

Ok, I will def. train some shooting and also trapping. But do you really think I should skip the program that I made? I have a lot of spare  time and I want to get in good shape, hehe...

PS: I would like to be able to shoot and with both feet. Should I practice my left foot a lot also?

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Post by The Franchise Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:35 am

Because "game intelligence" can be learnt in many forms, not just matches. You mentioned Rondo's, that teaches many aspects of the game without you even realising.

You dont have to skip the programme you made, if you are that worried by your condition. But in my opinion, your skills are what need to be developed now, much more than fitness and conditioning.

And yes, practice with both feet.
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Post by VanDeezNuts Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:54 pm

My advice would be to play as much as possible, join pickup games, ask people if there is a certain night and time everyone goes out to play if you dont already know.

3v3 4v4 and 5v5 is the best for players starting out to get the most touches on the ball.

I would say to scrap the weight training and endurance training- you get that from playing.

the most important thing is having fun (at least at the level Im assuming youre playing at) if you have more fun doing weight training do that, but I doubt thats the case, so just go out strap on the boots and enjoy.

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Post by EarlyPrototype Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:41 pm

The best and most simple piece of advice anyone can give you is watch every god damn Paul Scholes video on youtube. I have watched so many videos that playing CM for me now is so much easier. I control the midfield a lot better now. 90% of the time I am one step ahead of my opponents. In your case you still need to work on your touch and technique, but when it comes to the tactical part Scholes is your man.
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Post by Balzo1 Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:14 pm

Okay, thanks for all the good answers people Smile I just have one last question: I'm really bad at Rondo's, my touch is not good and when I finally get the ball under control it's too late for me to pass, also I don't know where to pass. Should I just practice trapping the ball and shooting it against a wall for this?

And are there other things I should consider when playing Rondos? Any tips?

Thanks!

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Post by The Franchise Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:55 pm

Well sure, it will help. But I wouldnt "shoot" it against the wall, but pass it.

The reason your too slow at the moment is probably your first touch and your decision making. But if you are getting closed down even before you control the ball, its not your fault, perhaps the spacing is wrong.

But assuming it isnt, its likely your first touch. A coaching tip is for you to every single time "present a surface" to control it with. Dont let it hit you/your foot, bring your foot to it slightly.
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Post by Juveman17 Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:42 pm

Balzo focus on the tactical and positional side of the game. Forget about physical attributes because atm the technical and mental side of the game matter much more.
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Post by FennecFox7 Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:02 pm

I think juggling can help him get familiar with the ball. I don't think its a total waste of time tbh. But that's definitely something you should not be solely focusing on.
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Post by Juveman17 Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:10 pm

Yea juggling is a good idea. Maybe wait on it till you learn the game but you should eventually try and juggle.
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Post by Brazilian Magic Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:40 pm

Just play matches with guys.Try to find a team or a group of guys who are simular like u(Im sure there are lots).Cuz ur teamates will keep u going.and its more fun.Cuz i dont think "weightlifting" and "ball exerises" are fun.Just play matches,use ur brain.
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