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The four components of football

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By: Desmond Morris (www.touchmasters.com) 05.APR.07

Football development does not occur in a vacuum but employs four critical components; the technical, physical, mental and tactical awareness of the game. It is the achievement of these components, within a balanced framework that leads to successful professional and national teams.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is endowed with natural talents, a direct result of our cultural background and rhythmic nature. Hence in the technical area of football, Vincentians have kept on par with the rest of the world. What is absent however, is the consistency of practice and repetition of these fundamentals. {{more}}A national football curriculum, endorsed by the SVGFF and the Ministry of Education can introduce the repetition needed within the schools and communities – thus enhancing the skill level during these formative ages.

Furthermore, coaches must adopt the Coerver Method in their practice to hasten the developmental process and close the gap between our athletes and the rest of the world. The outcome of this method is to improve our players’ explosiveness on the football field, beating the opponents in one v. one situation, defending and turning with the football with a player on their backs. With technically sound players, SVG’s football development plan will be rooted on a strong foundation.

Modern football philosophy emphasizes speed and strength. Speed and weight training constitute the physical components of football development. Vincentian footballers need an awareness of the latest techniques in speed training and must be exposed to the necessary equipment that will increase their quickness and agility. For every three-practice sessions, at least one must be dedicated to the physical aspects of the game. A cursory observation of the game around St. Vincent and the Grenadines shows that limited emphasis is placed on this component. With respect to weight training, players must be educated on its importance and when combined with good nutrition it can be used to maximize their performance on the field. This underscores the need for a fitness and nutrition instruction- to guide the development programme.

Mental preparation and toughness in football is a necessary condition for success. This factor helps to determine the outcome during match-days. The importance of a sport psychologist or even the practice of mental exercises during pre-game and game sessions enhances the level of performance on the field. Vincentian footballers have suffered in this regard in the past, where on the football field our lack of mental preparation was manifested in poor decision making and unnecessary re-starts.

Tactically, Vincentian football is inconsistent and poor. This is a direct result of the limited time spent in football camps before tournaments, the absence of an annual football plan for training and regular practice games. Consequently, the tactical plans are compromised. It is necessary for our football administrators and coaches to research the current tactical strategies and to combine them with the Vincentian rhythm of play – particularly as it relates to possessing the football and building up the play, creating numbers in the offensive situations and similarly, defending in numbers.

Our football awaits a sustained transformation and the need to balance the four components – technical, mental, physical and tactical awareness, if we aspire to the next level-World Cup 2010. The world is no longer waiting on us to catch up; the correct systems and support must be in place. We at the Touchmasters are prepared to be an integral part of that movement but we need more volunteers.

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