I have tried for a very long time to help players understand the importance of rhythm in the game. The team that can establish and maintain this has the upper hand. The problem is that the players all have a different interpretation of the game and now that my older boys are just finished with high school, it is impossible to establish a rhythm in practice.
The boys all looked at the Champions League game today between Barcelona and Arsenal. The rhythm of play was a joy to behold. No simple pass is overlooked, and just when you think there is nowhere to go, the penetrative pass shows itself. The players are constantly moving and making adjustments. I am amazed that the players do not try to replicate this, because they all talk about how amazing the players are to watch.
The problem is certainly not with all the boys, but there are a few bad DJs on the pitch. The ball moves with one or two touches through midfield and then it finds the bad DJ, who is guaranteed to break the rhythm. The movement of everyone else is negated and the collective trend of thought is destroyed.
The boys think this is funny, but I challenged them not to be the bad DJ at practice. I asked them to imagine being at a club. The music is flowing and everyone is dancing. Some idiot falls on the turn tables (showing my age) and there is a huge scratching noise as the music grinds to a halt. The crowd roars in disapproval. Don’t be that idiot! Let the music play.
There are three steps to developing rhythm in the game. Players obviously need the technical skills to handle a one and two-touch game. Players need to be very comfortable possessing the ball as a team. Finally players need to be put into situations in practice that foster rhythm and flow.
I love watching the game played beautifully and I want to give you as a coach as many tools as possible to help your team achieve a high level of play. Please take a few minutes to watch the special video presentation we have put together for you.
In it we describe our thoughts on what changes need to be made in how we coach the game. We also provide you with a great solution to give your team a strong soccer foundation.