March 2, 2024

When I was younger, I was quite slow and light. If I attempt to run, if care is not taken, the breeze could lift me on motion, but when I have the ball on my feet and I attempt to run, it’s always different: may be not as fast but I feel balance and strong because many parts of my body are involved.

When I was younger, I was quite slow and light. If I attempt to run, if care is not taken, the breeze could lift me on motion, but when I have the ball on my feet and I attempt to run, it’s always different: may be not as fast but I feel balance and strong because many parts of my body are involved.

It’s common to see football drills where players do a lot of off-the-ball conditional activities and for a very long time. For the sake of individual ball mastery, more time should be spent on the ball than off it. 

In our orientation as African grassroots coaches, a lot of us seem to favour drills that make players physically fit over the mental demands of ball-on-feet in the game.

Image: Jannik Skorna via Unsplash)

While it is logical to focus on that, especially where some players are skillful but fragile, it’s better to teach that with the ball. While logically also, players don’t have the ball at all times during a game, and ‘movement off the ball’ is as important as ‘movement on the ball’, consistent practices on the ball can make up for a player’s ball mastery and decision making. 

At F8ballers, it’s compulsory for every individual player to have age-group size-specific ball. We believe that 12 players should spend 12 minutes on 12 balls before 6’s share 2, 4’s share 3, 3’s share 4, 2’s share 6. It’s our ball mastery start-up plan for each player’s development. 

Now, what happens where a team doesn’t have that luxury? When 12 players or more have to share 1 ball, more time should still be spent on balancing conditional exercises with the ball, at least till the good ball-maritan shows up. 

Written by Coach Angel

Follow him on Instagram via: https://instagram.com/angelsalt89?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

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