As hopefully your starting to recognise here at Tecnica we absolutely love tekkers. Skill development is our passion and after just a few months we can already see such a difference in the creativity, confidence and execution from the players we work with on a daily basis!
Mastering the ball is not only fun but in our opinion key to building the creative players of the past and present. In a world that unfortunately doesn't get to play ''cuppies or heads and volleys'' on the streets anymore it is down to us as coaches, parents, volunteers to get children to learn, repeat and explore.
All the content you need to introduce skills is easily available and we thank those who bring your children to Tecnica to allow us to educate the next generation.
At academies ball manipulation has been fundamental in the foundation ages for a long time, often now found during sports science or as warm ups designed to get players using divergent thinking and tools that can unlock the opposition.
In grassroots football I have recently been delighted that more coaches are giving every player a ball and trying to introduce new ideas to their players. The usual answer we receive is ''we can't do the skills ourselves though'' but don't let that get in the way of your pupils learning. A ''we over me'' approach has to be your first thought as a coach in this instance.
Try think outside the box, could you bring an iPad or other devices with access to videos and allow the players to watch and experiment. How about setting your players homework to go watch youtube videos of how Messi dribbles or how you do a Cruyff turn etc?
Remember feedback does not always need to come from you as the coach. Particular players in your group may already be extremely competent at a feint, turn or a change of direction could you partner them up with a player to give peer feedback?
The biggest problem we all find however is contact time. Usually you will only see players especially away from academies between 1-3 hours of training time a week. If players only perform the skills or turns you wish for them to learn during your sessions how can we expect that to stretch their learning or refine a particular action. You must encourage players to practice away from training especially during the learning to play ages.
So what happens next is up to you! If you could be pro-active and build practices, scenarios or challenges that players can take part in at training or learn at home then do it.
Think back through your favourite memories of football tekkers at any level. It is often moments that you will remember forever. I can guarentee that most of these memories the player your picturing right now did something that made you fall in love with the game. Did something technically oustanding or had you recreating it in the back garden for weeks.
My favourite? Mark Viduka doing a Cruyff turn pass to Alan Smith to score the winner for Leeds United v Lazio in the UEFA Champions League nearly 17 years ago. Magnificent.
So now lets make it special for them for them! so many skilful role models around! Lets get creative...