Space and time in soccer

Here’s an interesting soccer podcast from 3four3.com with Raymond Verheijen.

Here’s a good tidbit from Raymond (about 50 minutes in):

The difference between levels of the game is the speed of the game. At a higher level, you have less space and less time to make football actions. As a result, at a higher level you need a higher speed of actions.

So, football is a ‘speed of actions’ sport, in other words, it’s an intensity sport.

What you are developing as a nation is slow football players, that is, one tempo football players. That is also what you can see in your national team…they are big…strong…fast, but the are one tempo football players.

What you need are players who are able to deal with less and less space and time.

As long as you don’t solve this fundamental problem in youth football, you will not develop as a nation…

In the US, the game of soccer is typically played with a high space to player ratio. Either in this podcast or another one (I’m trying to find it), it was said that when kids move to the full 11v11 field at age 12, that’d be like adults playing on a field that is 200 yards by 150 yards. Too soon!

The players who rise to the top in the U.S. tend to be players who can run into that space quicker so they have more time on the ball.

Yet, what we need, is the opposite, players who can make quick decisions with less space and time.

How do you get that?

Stop playing shrunken versions of field soccer with high space to player ratios and introduce more small-ptich futsal and street soccer in to the mix that have low space to player ratios.

That’s exactly what happens in countries that top the list of the FIFA world rankings.

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