For young athletes, there is always a good amount of downtime over the holidays. This is a perfect time to work on your technical game and push yourself to be sharper in game situations. The weeks and days after I regularly trained on my own, I always performed better. I felt confident that I had put the time in and the act of repeating a skill over and over until I perfected it, made me sharper in high-pressure situations.
Everyone has access to a ball and perhaps a basement or garage wall they can hit the ball against. I encourage you to spend 30 minutes with the ball each day. As someone once said, “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.” The more often and regularly you work at something, you will undoubtedly see growth and improvement.
Here are my top 3 exercises to do...
1. Inside of the foot passing-repeating this with both feet using one and two touches (inside and outside of the foot) goes such a long way when you want to execute passes during a game and with pressure on you. Create a target with tape or cones in order to really work on perfecting passing accuracy.
2. Half-volley work-catching the ball off the half-volley during the game is more common than you think. If you can catch the ball off the half-volley and bring it smoothly down to the ground, you can execute whatever you want quicker, more efficiently and effectively.
3. Volleys- practice volleying the ball with laces and inside of the foot off the wall. You can implement one bounce in between or try for no bounce. Being able to one touch a ball out of the air either to clear the ball, pass the ball or finish, is a skill that every player in any position needs.
Enjoy the work and take advantage of the downtime of the holidays!