John Pranjic had a good conversation with Jimmy Conrad on this 3Four3 podcast.
One of my favorite parts was hearing Jimmy describe his journey on discovering how to get better at soccer and taking ownership of the game.
He went to the local school to hit the ball against the wall and practice juggling. He started off thinking he was pretty good, but the first day was humbling. He wasn’t nearly as good as he thought. He went home after 10 minutes because (emphasis added)…
..it was easier to play video games, it was easier to live vicariously though that than to really go out there and test myself. BUT…in fairness to me, I went back there the next day and just fought through it.
And SLOWLY I started to get better.
And once you get a little taste of, ‘hey, wait a second, this game is becoming a little bit easier for me’ and I go out to practice with my own team and getting a little bit better than the better players and nobody knows why or how I’m doing it, man, it becomes a full blown drug.
So, all of sudden that 10 minutes turned into 15, 15 turned into a half hour, half hour to 45, to an hour to an hour and half. My Mom would have to come to the school to come bring me home.
And then you start thinking ‘okay, this is helping me on my game, where else can I get better at?’
So, I started to run a little bit more, started to lift weights, and you really start to [think] there’s no way anybody’s going to beat me, because I’m the only one holding me back.
Most kids don’t make it through to that discovery process. Their own brains won’t let them.
For example, kids think they are pretty good, like Jimmy did at first, and never get humbled by that humbling experience. Rather, they make excuses or don’t care.
My other favorite part of the podcast was when Jimmy discussed the importance of Tom Byer’s stuff:
I think the hidden thing with his [Tom Byer] thing…what I think is really important about the pullback and the stuff that he works on, these little movements, is the weight distribution, getting your body and your muscle memory very comfortable with shifting from left to right and right to left, and I don’t think that gets talked about enough, because that movement is really important in terms of how you play and how you create your balance, and how you can hold off an attacker’s skill or how you can cut on a dime and still accelerate out of that cut.
He’s putting all those things in place at a young age so you don’t even think about it anymore, your body already knows how to move and that is super important.
Yep. I think weight distribution is key to all technique in soccer. That’s what I was trying to say here about the importance being in the athletic position. I wish I would have used the term ‘weight distribution’ there.