Have you ever:
- Been outpaced without understanding where you went wrong?
- Wondered how you can improve your defence skills?
- Felt that you have stopped developing?
I can assure you that you’re not the only one! Every footballer, at one time or another, has felt they have lost their way but been unsure as to how to improve.
But how can you overcome these feelings and start to see real progress again?
The first question we have to think about is as follows:
“Why does stagnation occur, even when we practice a lot and do the best we can?”
I struggled a lot with this issue throughout my career. It wasn’t until I realised one day that if we do the same things, we get the same results.
How can you really expect to continue to improve if you:
- Think the same thoughts every day?
- Do the same things in every training session?
- Practise the same skills, in the same way, time and time again?
You can’t. You won’t.
When we do the same things again and again and again, we start to perform them subconsciously: we automate them. We stop learning, and this means we stop improving.
Why does stagnation occur, even when we practice a lot and do the best we can?
The Bad News
In my opinion, many players stop seeing any real improvement in their performance from a young age because:
- Their basic skills, both technical and tactical, are inadequate.
- They learn bad habits and start to subconsciously automate these habits. Bad habits can be very difficult to break!
- They allow their bad habits to breed new bad habits. Players often try to compensate for their deficiencies by developing new, unsuitable, techniques.
Their basic skills, both technical and tactical, are inadequate.
The Good News
So, you’ve stopped improving because you lack the skills you need to be a success and have started to automatically apply bad habits that undermine your performance.
On face value, the situation may seem pretty hopeless. BUT IT ISN’T.
In the same way you learned bad habits, you can master the right techniques and skills to start automating the good habits and see the improvement you’ve been yearning for.
Of course, the time it takes to automate new habits will vary according to your motivation, age and situation. However, research findings indicate that it will take the average player just 66 days to build a new habit (European Journal of Social Psychology, 2009).
In the same way you learned bad habits, you can master the right techniques.
There are three things, in particular, you will need to focus on when attempting to improve your defensive performance:
1. Choice of technique, or defending position
2. LFT (Leg, Feet, Torso) quality, to get optimal working conditions
3. Quality of technical execution
The rest of this article includes:
- Key 1: Choice of Leg, Feet and Torso position
- Key 2: LFT Quality
- Key 3: Technical Execution
These themes, along with 10 other articles, you will find in our book:
“The Ultimate Guide to Football Defence
– Unique and Fundamental Knowledge of Defence Skills”.