INSPIRATION | CONFIDENCE | SUCCESS

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Learning moments in lockdown

Having weeks without coaching is always annoying and makes me want to get out on the pitch more than ever. I’ve taken to going to the local rec near me with my son and my dog and working out some passing moves.

The local rec pitch is nothing like the pitch at the club, it is mostly mud and very uneven! However my dog makes one of the fastest wingers I’ve worked with and I can play more or less in a static position while my son and the dog play off me.

If I’m thinking about fast movements playing out from the back I can visualise the key moments that make up the move. It I a great workout before I come back inside and at around 3pm GMT the United Soccer Coaches Digital Convention comes online and I can sit down and listen to some really good advice.

I was thinking, as my dog and son ran circles around me, about a particular moment in the last game before the New Year. We had outplayed our opponents to such an extent that at 4-1 we were cruising. But it’s never a cruise is it!

Somehow with a few minutes left we had been ripped apart down the middle and the score was 4-4. I watched how my players reacted, afterall they had got us into the position and then forgotten how to defend while their opponents and parents were going crazy.

But they never lost their heads and I saw one of my wingers motion to the defenders that he would stay back for those last few minutes and launch attacks from back there.

So a bit like me unleashing the dog down the wing my winger picked up the ball in the back line, went wide and then switched play to the other side to unleash one of his team mates. This move split the defence and he played a wicked ball right into the heart of the penalty area where my attacking midfielder hit it first touch into the net…. 5-4.

As we spoke about the game at the end I asked my winger why he had thought to drop back rather than go gung ho into their half. He was quite philosophical and said that he wanted to block the route through the middle of the pitch where their 3 goals had come from. Then he could see his team mates running up the pitch and found the perfect pass. Simple.

Not sure the parents thought the same, they probably had a stiff drink having endured and earbashing as the opposition parents had seen their team come back from despair into delight only to go back down again.

But it was a great game and one that makes me realise what we do miss when the game is shutdown. Not quite the same when my dog puts the ball into and empty net – but he loves doing it so why stop him!

Last night we came home and watched Willie McNab of Celtic at the Convention giving advice on 1v1 battles. Great learning moments in what was looking like a drab day at home.

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