The game of soccer, like everything else in life, is always changing. As both coaches and students of the game we must continually search for ways to get better order to ensure progress. Let’s assume we are in the advanced stages of development in the physical, technical and tactical elements of the game. What is the one area that has not been addressed and is still in its infancy? I believe that the cognitive development of the modern soccer player is the answer. Cruyff and Pele, undoubtedly two of the greatest players in the world, have also discussed the importance thinking when playing. Cruyff was quoted as saying, “Football is a game you play with your brain”. However, the reality is that players will only improve if the training environment forces them to improve. From a scientific standpoint, athletes who are exposed to “meaningful training” are wiring their brains and bodies for success. Training players to see the field, process information, develop a strategy based upon the information, execute an action and then evaluate the actions outcome all at lightning speed is what cognitive soccer development is all about.
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