Balance is an important skill to develop for young players. Players are required to complete soccer tasks balanced on one leg. Passing, receiving, shooting, crossing and dribbling are all completed while balancing on one leg. Many players and coaches overlook balance and take it for granted. However, it is like any other skill – it has to constantly worked on and improved in order to improve performance. The best players in the world all have great balance and this allows them to complete soccer specific skills and movements at high speed, without losing their footing.
“Balance is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”
There are a few key considerations that players must keep in mind in order to retain good balance:
- Keep their center of gravity low. This can be achieved by young players adopting a posture where they are on their toes, leaning forward and having their knees bent.
- The arms should be used to create leverage for the rest of your body to maintain balance, but arms should not be waving all over the place.
- When in possession of the ball, young players should take smaller steps and increase the number of times that they touch the ball.
Developing leg strength is ultimately one of the most important things in developing balance. In terms of developing the physical attributes of players I am an advocate of UEFA staff coach educator and Sports Consultant, Roger Spry. Roger has worked with Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger and his innovative approach to training incorporates martial arts and dance. Rather than focus on traditional athletic ability, his work emphasizes creativity, physical agility, dexterity and the ability to add disguise. Roger refers to his work as “technical conditioning” and much of the work can be done with the ball.
Young players can implement many of Roger’s training activities in their own individual training program and enclosed below are some videos that can be used to improve leg – strength and balance.