I recently watched a typical game of soccer for high school age kids. The winning team was cheerful, the losing team was not.
But I thought both teams were losers and just don’t know it. Neither team had a good touch and they don’t know that, either.
The was a turnover fest on bad first touches, bad dribbles and bad passes and one team just had a lucky goal or two more than the other.
It made me think back to when I coached. In the post game I might’ve tried to grab onto 2-3 things we did well, didn’t do so well and the difference makers.
I now know those mattered little compared to touch.
With beginning and intermediate soccer teams, turnover ratios are high because of bad touch. It’s common to see turnover ratios of 90% or more.
Unless the turnover ratio is less than 20-30%, it should be the number one focus and the only topic that needs to be covered in the post game until that improves.
I wish I would have been a broken record on touch, to the point that the players could’ve recited it for me.
It would have been simple.
How well did we keep the ball on first touch, dribbling and passing?
I should have tied the good plays and mistakes back to touch. “We had that great passing sequence that led to a good goal, but with a better, more consistent touch, that sequence can happen 10x more every game, which should mean even more goals.”
“That defensive mistake was unfortunate. But, we lost the ball on first touch so much, and we had so many quick transitions to defense. That wears us out and it’s just a matter time before a defensive mistake happens. Just improving first touch can significantly reduce those chances for the other team.”