This is the seventh installment of my series; The Playbook - My Strategy (So Far) for Raising an Elite Soccer Player. Today's topic discusses the Videos and Phone Apps I use to aid individual training sessions with my son. In a previous post entitled Part 4 Training Methodology I explained that I divide our technical sessions into three primary groups following a 90/10 rule. The groups are:
- Skills of the Week
- Follow-along Videos and Phone Apps
To recap, I normally begin and end each session with a juggling warm-up and cool down. I vary the length of time and difficulty depending on the situation. Check out my post entitled Part 5 Juggling Training Methodology to learn more. Next, we jump into the Skills of the Week portion. The Skills of the Week make-up the ten percent of teaching and learning while the focus for the other 90% is mastery through repetition and routine. Check out my post entitled Part 6 - "Skills of the Week" Training Methodology to learn more.
Soccer Videos and the 90/10 Rule (90% Reps and Memorization / 10% Teaching) - In soccer, repetition is the key to mastering difficult techniques. As a parent, I am mindful that giving too many verbal instructions will frustrate my son. Implementing soccer videos that he can follow provide instruction, a solid training routine and almost eliminates the need for my feedback. This means that 90% of the session virtually runs on autopilot.
Soccer Aerobics - I strongly prefer plug and play videos and apps because videos provide excellent demonstrations and instruction that he can follow along with. Moreover, my son knows exactly how long the session will last. It's sort of like he is taking a Ball Mastery Soccer Aerobics Class.
Youtube - Youtube is a great resource for free soccer videos. Following the Skills of the Week theme, I usually select one video per week that my son uses during each training session. This allows him to become very familiar with the moves in that particular video before moving to the next. We also do the video before games and practice. Check out my post entitled Start Now! Every Player Has an Extra 15 Minutes to learn more.
Remember to take things slow. I don't recommend doing an entire video until your child builds the necessary physical and mental stamina. My son began with three minutes and we progressed from there.
Finally, I sometimes mix agility and other dribbling drills in with the videos. Similar to circuit training, during a set interval (e.g 30 seconds to a minute) he may break away from the video and do a Skills of the Week cone weave drill, shooting drill, jump rope and/or other drills. Then jumps back to the video. This adds variety to the workout and shortens the time that he spends on a particular video.
I have compiled a playlist of my favorite videos. Click here to access the playlist.
Dribble-up Smart Soccer Ball - When it comes to phone apps, the Dribble-up Smart Soccer Ball app is a staple of our routines. In addition to nearly 100 individual soccer moves with video demonstrations the Dribble-up app has a host of ready-made routines. Request access to the "Coaches Portal" in order to assign custom playlists to your child and even teammates.
Another new feature in the Dribble Up app is that you can do the drills without actually owning a smart ball. This product exceeded my expectations. Check out this video review to learn more.
Fitivity Soccer Training - This is one of the most complete soccer training apps on the market. It includes training programs for soccer shooting, dribbling, footwork, passing, and more. This provides a variety of training that would be difficult for me to replicate. Organized as a training session, the app uses beginner to advanced soccer drills with video and voice instructions. It's literally like having a personal trainer in your phone. I highly recommend this app for the serious soccer player.
When you purchase a premium subscription (circa $80 per year), you get access to Fitivity's entire collection of workouts. Personally, I use the weight-training and jump rope workouts myself. Check out this video review to learn more.
Beastmode Soccer - BMS provides an excellent variety of high-intensity ball mastery video workouts. 9 cones. 1 ball. 1 wall. - that’s all you need to take part in BMS. Just press play and follow along, it’s impossible to not improve!
I like BMS because it forces my son to practice many advanced techniques that would be difficult for me to demonstrate. BMS offers a few online programs - we use (The Challenge 100 days 5,000 Touches Per Day.)
Renegade Soccer Training - RST offers a variety of soccer skill programs that players can follow. It gives kids a progression of training they can work through as they improve. I recommend that absolute beginners start with the Juggling Mastery and Wall Work Warrior series. I don't recommend the other products for complete beginners due in-part to the length of each session. Also, the repetitive nature of their exercises focuses more on stamina and coordination than game-like moves.
As a summary here’s an overview of the training they offer:
- Evolution of Touch (Tight ball control, confidence on the ball)
- Next Level Dribbling (1V1 and Going to Goal)
- Wall Work Warrior (First touch and Speed of Play)
- Juggling Mastery – (Juggling and Aerial Control)
- Back of the Net – (Shooting, Goal Scoring & Ball Placement)
- Mastery of Touch – (Creative Ball Control)
- Total Control System – (Ball Control, Fitness, Confidence)
- Next Level Dribbling – (Creativity, Getting Behind Defenders, Aggressiveness)
I recommend sampling the below video before making a purchase.
My Personal Football Coach - MPFC provides the program Dynamic Ball Mastery. Dynamic Ball Mastery is an online mobile soccer training program that has been developed by renowned technical soccer coach Saul Isaksson-Hurst. I use this program to introduce advanced techniques. MPFC also offers free and in-depth podcasts featuring interviews from top coaches in European academy football. Click this link to learn more.
Check out this video to learn more.
7 Minute Soccer Skills - I strongly recommend this app for the absolute beginner. The program is designed for players aged four and above but any player can benefit with the 7 progressive levels. It has been a great introduction of soccer skills to my U6 son. Best of all, you can try it for free.
Today, most training videos and phone apps are either free or relatively inexpensive. This empowers engaged parents to provide excellent soccer training at home. I use a variety of products in order to keep things fresh and challenging for my children.
Again, my best advice is to avoid giving too many verbal instructions and to start slow. Five minutes of extra training a day will result in a huge improvement over time.
I hope you found this helpful and please share your recommendations.