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Comment: Time to change the coaching of youth football players?

The first ball game

It is simply no longer possible to support the second ball game at youth level. It is wrong to consign young players to the second ball game reality and therefore to a system of play that may well have had its use in recent times but not now.

The difference between the two teams in this Champions League Final was all about the way the game is played. Manchester United in so many different ways represented the long ball game and a forward moving mentality that’s played in the Premiership that does create a busy game of football but at a cost to the players in terms of their ability to play in a skilful manner.

The way forward for all young players is to develop the skills and the physical ability to play the first ball game. Understanding the first ball game and its playing skills requires a new approach to the development of the young player process. To simply employ a forward moving mentality into the coaching of young players is now not good enough. The forward moving one footedness mentality caters for the second ball game and its consequential reality that was clearly demonstrated by Manchester United.

The development of young players must be based on a training formula that caters to the first ball game reality and therefore develops the players playing repertoire of skills that enables the player to play the proper game of football and not the second ball game that in effect destroys any opportunity to play football to a level of competence that was clearly demonstrated by Barcelona at Wembley.
The lateral development equation
Allow me to present the football coaching domain with a DVD that shows the missing elements from the current coaching methods of training.

One of the most important working elements in the development of any young player taking up the game today is the lateral development format that we call 'the single line of cones'.  This is because in this single line of cones format we can target the development of the player’s physical balance and his ability to use either foot to the ball.

The lateral development format is but one step to further development work which includes the ability by the player to work the ball against any first or consequential challenging player.

The skills as demonstrated by Messi are part of the working formula of this presentation which includes the development of the first touch and the ability, therefore, to keep the ball in tight areas of play. The lateral development concept must come into the working equation and that is a fact of life that simply won’t go away.

My working formula is created in the interest of every young player that wishes to take up the game of football and I therefore recommend this working formula to the coaches of young players everywhere.


We have a copy of Martin’s latest DVD ‘Soccer Training - Developing The 360° Player’ and the accompanying book to give away! Simply answer the following question:

Who scored the first goal in the 2011 Champions League Final?

Send answers to scott@sportsglobal.co.uk.  Closing date is June 16th with the winner to be announced in our June 17th newsletter.  

Martin Bidzinksi’s latest DVD ‘Soccer Training - Developing The 360° Player’ is available to purchase from publisher Reedswain here along with the accompanying book which both focus on a training method that centres on developing physically balanced players who are comfortable playing the ball with either foot to any direction of play, thus giving them the full 360° range of playing options.

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