Practical Considerations for Developing Soccer Footwork
This clinic was presented by Vern Gambetta, Gambetta Sports Training Systems, at the 1998 NSCAA soccer coaching convention in Cincinnati. This session report submitted by Gary Rue
Soccer Specific Speed
Soccer speed is the ability to start quickly from all different positions, accelerate to top speed in the shortest time possible, change direction, and stop rapidly under control to make the play. Footwork is an essential element of this
Why Train Footwork
The feet are in contact with the ground in movement and all movement is initiated off the ground. It is the feet that must absorb shock on ground contact and then use those forces to propel the body in the desired direction.
Get Hip to The Feet
Quick feet are actually quick and supple hips. Control and positioning the center of gravity is the major objective of proper footwork.
Foot Position / Weight Distribution
It is not necessary to be up on the toes because the foot must come back down to the ground to initiate movement. The weight should be distributed approximately 75% to the forefoot and 25% to the rear foot in order to allow multi-directional movement.
Arm and Hand Position
The arms and hands should be positioned to aid in the first movement.
First Step Position & Length
The First Step Should be of appropriate length to create a positive shin angle. The foot should hit slightly behind the center of gravity to allow the large powerful hip extensors to work. A long first step forces the player to try to pull themselves over the foot. This is not a good position for force production.
First Step Direction
The first step must be in the intended direction to gain a step. The most common error is the false step or miss-step away from the intended direction.
Type of Step
This is determined by the distance of the required movement.
Multi-Directional Movement- Wheel PrincipleŽ
Soccer requires multi-directional movement. To be effective, the athlete should train to move in all spokes of the wheel. Think of a large compass (10 foot diameter) with spokes that go out to eight directions (N,NE,E,SE,S,SW,W, NW). From the center facing north, a player should be able to quickly react to any of these directions. The setup can be developed with the player running in from the South position and moving to a specified position; or side-stepping in from East or West. The player can be told which direction to move as the coach watches for inappropriate steps. Later, the player can follow a directional pointer from the coach. A ball could be introduced as stationary in the center or on the ends or could be dribbled from a position; the ball could also be turned or received in a specified direction.
Specific Footwork Drills
Designing A Program
Evaluative Criteria For Drills Or Exercises
Miscellaneous Points and Summary of the Session