A GSI Sports guest post by FC Kansas City midfielder Yael Averbuch.
I’m about to enter my ninth year as a professional player. I always tell the youth players I work with about the single thing that has helped me more than any other to be able to play at the highest level: the time I’ve spent with the ball outside of my organized team training sessions.
Yes, there are star players—some of the most effective in the world—who have glaring technical deficiencies. And there are masters of the ball who just never quite make it. So why is technical training actually important? The answer is simple.
Your technical ability is one of the few things you can control as a soccer player.
Why does this matter? We all know that this sport is full of areas that are out of our control. From referee decisions to our coach’s opinion to injuries, we are often left having to respectfully obey the rules and ride the waves of the good and bad that may come our way. But you can always control your character. You can control how well you take care of yourself physically. And you can control your technical ability.
While it can seem like some players possess a sort of magic when it comes to skills on the ball, this certainly is not the case. First it’s important to understand the breakdown of ball mastery.
We have technique, which is a way of carrying out a particular task, or the execution of a movement. Then there’s skill, which is the application of technique. Your skill level is linked with tactical understanding, awareness, vision, and the ability to execute techniques under pressure. But your pure technical ability is linked directly to the time you’ve spent practicing.
There is no magic. People who have mastered certain techniques have spent hours and hours perfecting them. There’s no shortcut.
Techniques are the tools necessary to play the game we all love. The more tools you have, and the sharper the tools are that you do have, the more fun the game becomes and the more you’re able to execute your vision on the field.
For me, training technique is empowering. I can go out with a soccer ball and a wall and do repetition after repetition of something until I get it right. Then I can bring it to the game and test it under pressure. Technique is what allows me to bring the game to life. And part of what’s so wonderful about it is that for many technical areas, you don’t need a field, or a goal with a net, or even another person. You can make huge strides with just you and the ball.
A coach once told me, “If you do the same thing as every player, you’ll be the same as every player.” Not every player makes it to the elite level. If you want to be different, consider investing in yourself and doing that something different, extra. An investment in technique will never be a waste of time.
If you want to up your training game, sign up for The Techne Training System, designed by Yael Averbuch! The system is based on training methods that have allowed Yael to play at the highest level. The app takes players of all ages/abilities.through weekly technical training sessions that can be completed individually, with minimal equipment. We operate under the principle that you can never spend too much time with the ball!
For more thoughts from Yael, visit her website.