As any youth soccer coach knows, young players often lose the ball because of poor judgement about when to pass. Part of this process relates to the ability of the player in possession to quickly sight the target while under pressure. Use this soccer coaching session with eye-patches to help your players work on this skill.
A player's visual system relies on the body's awareness of its position in space. The brain absorbs visual information, then tries to make sense of it, such as the location of team-mates, the speed and direction that they are moving and where their feet are in relation to an oncoming ball.
The player then uses this information and interprets it in a way that allows him or her to act in the best way, based on experience and learning.
Soccer eye-patch drill
To help young players get used to visual stimulus, try this soccer (football) drill, where the players have to pass, receive and look for the ball wearing an eye-patch.
Soccer drill set up
- You need to set up a normal 30 x 20 yard small-sided game.
- You need to get hold of a few eye patches – surgical, pirates, or make some, etc. The eye patch goes over one eye while players take part in a small-sided game.
- The patch encourages players to turn their head and shoulders toward their target and forces players to fix their gaze more directly on the ball in order to receive it or pass to a target effectively.
- You should get your players to play for five minutes at the start of the soccer drill without the patch, then for five minutes with it on one eye, then five minutes on the other, then finally without the patch again.
- Players should find they are able to detect and pick up the ball in their field of vision better after wearing the patch.
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