Have you thought about the Game you play? What is it really?
It’s something we take for granted. A ball and two goals. That’s it. That’s all it is. 1v1, 2v2, and all the way to 11v11. Set up the boundaries and go! The freedom to do whatever you can (within reason) to get the ball past the other team and into the other goal. The possibility of the unknown happening at a moment’s notice.
Infinite complexity hidden within simplicity
Just like the body, the simplicity of the game hides great sophistication impossible to imitate or recreate. No trainer or drill can do what the Game is going to provide.
There are thousands of different variables continually changing faster than you can imagine. All of which is demanding your brain to record and then actively make thousands if not millions of micro decisions rapidly.
The Game is Organized Chaos
It is testing your body at thousands of angles impossible to reimagine in the gym or any drill. The up and back, the side to side, the tackles, the jumps, the passes, the shots, and all the rest.
All of this is happening according to the speed and impulse of your competitors. The yelling and talking of every player influences every single person’s decision-making in every moment.
The “skatepark” for soccer. A place of rapid progression and learning, repetition of mistakes and overcoming obstacles. Varying levels of skill all surrounding each other. The sport teaches you what to do… (Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code)
The Individual Player is a Pandora’s box
What about the mental and physical state of each player?
It’s well documented your performance and decision-making is greatly controlled by merely your state of mind. As your state of mind is both your conscious and unconscious, this takes into account everything in your whole life, past, present, and future.
You can rewind every single moment in a player’s life influencing their mental point of origin and every corresponding decision. What kind of stress off the field is going to affect how well the brain is thinking through decisions or how well are tendons and fascia going to absorb and distribute force.
How did your parents care for you as a child? What kind of memories do you have? From the moment you’ve left the womb, every moment has made who you are now (some would argue even before).
There are infinite variables to what we call the Game. There is no replacement.
There is no machine that can replace the demands of the Game. It is where top players are made. It is where they are molded by the organized chaos.
When the Inner Furnace and the Internal Foundation are properly functioning then the body will respond like Nature designed and become molded accordingly.
“The best of the best (athletes) had a lot more non-structured play during their childhood” – Christian Thibaudeau
When the first two towers are not functioning properly then the body will adapt poor strategies to cope and keep you alive. There is a big gap between being alive and performing as a world class footballer. Survival is the brain’s foremost concern and will sacrifice speed, power, and strength on the pitch to accomplish whatever it interprets as safety.
Trying to compete in the Game ill-prepared leads to injuries, poor performance, lackluster athletic development, and ultimately an early retirement.
What is it not?
It’s not doing drills with no pressure from a live opponent. It is not a few passes around some cones and then you shoot past a mannequin. It is not endlessly doing ball mastery drills. It is not hitting the gym week after week to build bigger muscles.
Top players were not built with these modern methods. You can sharpen your skills with basic drills here and there all you want, but they will not achieve the transformational effects necessary to become a world class footballer.