[Editor's Note -- This is a guest post from Jared Montz, a former professional player who started the brilliant Online Soccer Academy. You can find out more about The OSA and how to get in touch at the base of this post. But before then I'll hand you over to Jared...]
Do you wish your players made better passes? Do you want your players to make smarter decisions and increase their speed of play?
Coaches tell their players they need to increase their speed of play and they need to know what they are going to do with the ball before they get it. Telling a player is one thing, teaching them HOW to increase their speed of play is another.
The MOST IMPORTANT thing I teach my Online Soccer Academy players is to check their shoulders before receiving a pass. I believe this should come as natural as picking your foot up to receive a pass.
When a player checks their shoulder they are looking for defenders, attackers, space, runs, maybe the goalie is out and they can shoot early, etc. If a defender is coming pass it back, if no defenders are around you then turn and go forward. It sounds easy right, but it’s not easy to make it look easy.
Why do players looked rushed and frantic on the ball?
This happens because players feel like defenders are closing them down when they are not because they are not aware of their surroundings. As a coach you are on the sideline screaming, “Time, you have time!!!!!”
For the player they don’t realize they have time because they are NOT CHECKING THEIR SHOULDERS and they are only focusing on receiving the pass. As a coach you need to teach them this and make it a habit from an early age.
Watch my Online Soccer Academy training video above and you will learn a simple exercise your players can do to increase their speed of play. In my opinion this can be taught to players as early as seven years old.
Next time you watch a pro soccer game watch the players as they move across the field. Watch their heads. You will see them checking their shoulders.
It doesn’t matter whether you are 25 playing in the World Cup or 12 playing at your local park; you can check your shoulders!
Coach your players to play smart and that will increase their speed of play!
Jared Montz is a former pro soccer player and founder of OnlineSoccerAcademy.com where they make better soccer players through free online training videos. Their mission is to teach players that if you Believe in it® and back that up with hard work, anything in life is possible. Friend Jared on Facebook and Twitter.