- Motivating: When in a game I try to use the right ratio of positive and negative feedback. I also try to deal it to the right kind of player. When in a game I try to motivate the team by setting targets, e.g. to score a goal. Although if I’m not very close to my teammates I tend to sit back and leave others to motivate but after a while I begin to. After the game my Dad always tells me I should talk more in a match so I can be clearer with players.
- Short Balls: In a game my team keeps the majority of possession with short balls. When long balls are tried we often lose possession. Short balls usually prove successful when there’s a lot of player movement. I often try to move into useful space and use intelligent passes. Our manager usually begs us to keep balls short because he knows this is when we’re most successful.
- Dribbling and flair: When I’m on the ball I can dribble quite well but I cannot keep the ball very close to my feet, defenders then have an easy way to take the ball away from me. In my position (forward) it is very important to take on players so I need flair. I have a few tricks, but if I had more it would slow down the defender’s reaction. My manager says if I improved this side of game I’d be more composed and have more time on the ball.
- Left Foot: I do not use my left foot much as it is less coordinated, when I do, 1 in 2 times I’m successful. I don’t have much confidence in my left foot and if possible I’ll turn to my right. If my left foot was okay I think I would be a much better footballer, my manager says I drastically need to improve my left foot.
- First-time short shot and heading: This is a crucial part of my game that needs to be improved because I’m required to use these skills at least twice in a game. My timing needs to be improved, my coordination needs to be improved and my composure needs improving. I score a first time shot or header once in every four games say my teammates.
- Agility: After a game I often get lots of aches and pains. I usually don’t attempt overhead kicks, bicycle kicks or any other flexible movement. If I try something like this I usually land incorrectly and I’m successful 10% of the time. My manager says this is my biggest weakness.
- Balance: My balance is good but compared to my other fitness aspects I’m quite weak. After a running at speed I find it hard to adjust in a totally different direction, I may slip or take a long time to stop. When players fly in with tackles it usually takes a few seconds to get my body shape back. My manager says my balance is not much to worry about.
- Stamina: Once again, stamina is not that much of a weakness. Although when playing at high levels I find I may be extremely tired in some stages which can prove extremely costly. If I had more stamina I wouldn’t have to think too much about pacing myself and could focus on other aspects of the game. My manager also agrees with me.
- Offside Trap: As a forward I have to have ways of beating the offside trap. At the moment I simply try to stay onside and time my runs. I could maybe distract defenders by being in an offside position and coming back on when I anticipate a ball. My friends say when they watch me I get caught offside 2/10 times and I could give defenders a yard and still beat them with pace.
- Dropping Off: Sometimes when we play good opposition the midfield need more options. I sometimes drop off to do this, but I need to be more sharp and decisive so the defenders cannot read me. My manager says I’ve got the basic idea, but as soon as I drop off he says I should immediately shout for the ball and this will give me more time.
Action Planning For Improvement
Now that I have identified my strengths and weaknesses I can set some clear, realistic and achievable goals.
For skill and technique my dribbling needs to be improved for me to be more at ease when on the ball and prevent being tackled, I aim to gain a lower loss of ball percentage per match, a longer time on the ball per match and to look almost effortless when in game. I currently lose the ball about 25% of the time, I aim to lose the ball 15% of the time.
My left foot is probably the weakest part of my game so I cannot aim to high. At the moment I hardly ever pass with my left foot, I aim to pass with my left foot at least 25% of the time in a match. I don’t use my left foot much to do first touches, usually about 1 in 10 times, I aim to control the ball with my left foot 25% of the time and shoot at least once with my left foot because at the moment I never shoot with my left.
I feel my agility needs improving because I get a lot of comments concerning agile movements and why I do not attempt them. I aim to be able to execute overhead kicks, bicycle kicks and any other flexible movements because at the moment I do not try any of these. I aim to take many more people on in a game with agility ie. Twisting and turning, because usually I find I just take on opponents with pace. I will time myself running in and out of cones and set goals from this.
My body strength is already very good but if I improved it I think this would help in my bravery to attempt the agile movements above, I also think it would improve my jumping if I trained my legs as well as my speed. To set goals I will record my height of jump, record weight lifted in different exercises and time taken to run 100 metres.
I have 6 weeks to achieve my goals.
Method Of Achieving Goals
I am firstly going to set up a few tests to accurately identify how good I am, then I will analyse the results and set some targets. From analysing the results I will set up an action plan to improve the certain parts of the skill to be done over 6 weeks.
Initial Tests & Results
- Time myself how long it takes to dribble in and out of cones up to 80metres, each cone 5metres apart. 20 Seconds
- Time myself dribbling at pace keeping the ball 3metres close to myself at all times over 80metres. 15 Seconds
- Time myself dribbling backwards and forwards 5 times in between 5metres. 8 Seconds
- Count how many times I can bring the ball down within 1 metre out of 20. 17 times
- Count how many goals I score outside of the D out of 20. 12 times
- Count how many keeps ups I can do with my left foot (10 times add up and divide by ten to get an accurate result. 6 Kick Ups
- Time myself how long it takes to sprint in and out of cones up to 80metres, each cone 5metres apart. 12 Seconds
- Time myself jumping in and out of circles over 80metres to get to a finish line. 22 Seconds
- Jump on spot and record height. 9 Feet
- Record weight lifted for each major exercise. (Bench Press 40K, Shoulder Press 40K, Wide grip Pull-ups (count) 5, Bicep Curl 20K, Leg Press 70K, Calf Raises 50K)
- Time myself over a sprint of 100metres. 12.5 Seconds
Agility: I aim to be able to run in and out cones in 11.5 sec
To improve my dribbling I am going to set up 3 training sessions which are:
Defend Your Ball Game – Page 36, Soccer Training
Purpose: To improve basic dribbling, screening and running with the ball
Slalom Drill – Page 41, Soccer Training
Purpose: To improve technique for running at speed with the ball
1v1 Game – Page 42, Soccer Training
Purpose: To improve dribbling, screening and turning with the ball to beat a player
For improving my left foot I am going to set up 2 training sessions, which are:
Shuttle Drill – Page 21, Soccer Training
Purpose: - To develop short/medium/long-range passing techniques and ground/aerial control with my left foot
Circle Drill – Page 24, Soccer Training
Purpose: To develop general passing and controlling techniques, as well as awareness of where to pass the ball
To improve my agility I will practice using 1 training session which is:
(Starting, stopping, turning, falling, rolling, sliding and shoulder jostling.)
Purpose: To develop agility and stamina
For improving my strength I will use 4 training sessions advised by my gym instructor for each major part of my body which are:
Chest & Triceps
Bench Press, Bench Press incline, Flies, Pec Dec and Tricep Curl.
Shoulders & Stomach
Shoulder Press, Side Raises, Rear Pec Dec, Shrugs and Sit-ups
Back & Biceps
Row, Widegrip Pull Downs, Close Grip Pull Downs and Bicep Curls.
Lunges, Quadriceps Raises, Leg Curls and Calve Curls
For each of the above, exercises will be done firstly 10 times, then 9 and 8 times.
Action Plan Results
My 6 week action plan has aided my football game and helped my perform at a higher level within my sport. All the aspects I set out to improve at the start of the 6-week program have been achieved so therefore this was a success for me and it will hopefully continue to help my football as I practise these aspects more.
My results were good with the biggest improvement coming in strength I think this is because I’m at the age where muscle is built easier, this is proved because I have added 20% of my first lifted weight on average before the 6 week action plan. I have looked back over my strengths and weaknesses I evaluated before I completed the 6 week action plan and several things have changed, for example my stamina is no longer a weakness, I think this is because I’ve been doing allsorts of training e.g. running, jumping and weights. My agility is no longer a weakness I think this is mainly because of the mixed circuit as I found it quite challenging and there are a lot of techniques used.
My strategies towards football have changed and I now try to drop off to the midfield a lot more, I think this is because I’ve identified this as a weakness therefore I am more aware.
As I said my fitness weaknesses have improved e.g. stamina; I now how energy spare towards the end of the game and I do not have to pace myself as much. My agility has improved and I now feel a lot less injury prone and I can now attempt a variety of agile movements.
If I were to do this program again I would change these aspects:
I think I would try to improve my first time shot and heading because this is one of the most used skills as a forward. I would also work on my first touch and long shot so I have a better chance of holding the ball and scoring form a one-off long shot.
Overall my action was a great success as I’ve improved all of my weaknesses, I would recommend to most footballers at my level to use it to their needs.