Croatia vs England – World Cup Semi-Final

So let’s get some learning going…

And, what I will do is share a post I put up in the RST FREE FB GROUP.

It concerns FATIGUEEXPECTATIONS, and HABITS

I will frame this within the context of what happened during the England versus Croatia game, but…

After spending YEARS walking around watching what is tolerated as ‘high-level training‘, this email is about you, and your practices…

You see, I was a pretty good athlete…

On a soccer pitch, I was the best athlete…

Note, I wasn’t the best player, but I was always the best athlete…

This meant that I got to play many sports at a decently high level…

And soccer is the only place these habits have been acceptable…

So, let get started, so we can fix this… so you get better.

IT ALL STARTS WITH COMBATING FATIGUE ACROSS ALL SPECTRUMS

Cardiovascular endurance, strength endurance, and mental endurance are three highly trainable qualities that are often lumped together by those who don’t understand the differences, or fail to plan…
Without endurance in each, fatigue wins…
Let’s explore quickly and see how it relates to your child and the quality of training they are being exposed to…
I will post a series of pictures below, with comments…
I will make a very straightforward comment, that shouldn’t be taken out of context, so here is the contect…
I will say ‘that is not what an athlete does’… and ‘no other sport accepts this, yet it is very common in Soccer… very’.

The context of those statements is that even high and low level athletes get lazy when they aren’t constantly hounded by coaches and more importantly leaders on the team, AND Soccer has a level of fatigue that is unreal…

And if I guessed, the do very little real muscular endurance training

So, Fatigue beat England, but as a performance coach, soccer has light years to go in terms of expectations…

Stupid agility ladder drills with a finish is not performance coaching…

And yet, I see 100 posts like that a day on my feed by trainers who should know better…

So, let’s not get all ruffled and blindly defend practices just because we love the game…

I love the game…

More than any other probably, and was very good at many…

But, I love soccer.

That being said, I just think to yourself…

If I was a captain or I was a performance coach, would I accept this?

And then, if you are either, this is your issue, because it comes from warm-up to cool down every day at practice…

What do I mean?

Well Michael Jordan, who was arguably the best ever, has been known to get right in the face of, and actually hit a fellow player if they weren’t practicing to his standard.

Is this what I advocate?

No, because corporal learning is a fallacy… but he woke some people up, and set a standard that has never been met…

Ray Lewis, over the summers in Atlanta would kick guys out of the weight room if he saw them not giving it all on every set…

I KNOW this type of intensity, as Errict Rhett would get right in our faces at UF and stare you down whenever he was resting… the Bucs ruined him, but he was a warrior… and UF thrived because of that attitude every day in the 90s.

Now, different context, different motivating styles obviously as NBA and NFL are very martial sports and cultures, but, the point is the same…
What do you allow to slide at practice?
Every second, every rep matters… or you sing It’s Coming Home, empty handed.
Let’s start with the moment the ball comes off the Croatian forward’s head…
Now, when we watch Nadal on the court late in he 5th set, and the other player is hitting a serve or a forehand shot does Nadal forget REGULARLY to take a split step in preparation?

 

Never.

I will go out on a limb and say literally never.

 

We see it in the NBA from time to time, some clown get snuck away from… but that is because they don’t really start playing until the second half of each NBA Finals games anyway…

Until then it is pickup by some of the most gifted athletes ever to walk the earth.

But still, rarely do you see it.

 

But look at every single defensive and offensive player, specifically the back two central defenders…

 

Not even a 1″ bend in their knees or hips when the ball is striking the head of the amazing Croatian forward…

 

This is a public forum, so I will feign positivity, but this is just sickening to see…

 

***And here is what I challenge parents paying big money and players who want to be soccer athletes to watch… go to the fields and watch the hips of every player who is 20m or less from the ball… are they high? Are they ready to pounce? No?

 

THEN DON’T EXPECT TO WIN.

 

That is not what an athlete does…

Every second there could be a need to react ATHLETES are in a position to react.

 

This here is not how an athlete reacts. You can be a lot of things, and even get paid a lot of money and be a soccer player, but if Nadal was standing like this when the ball was hit, you’d struggle to not say some cuss words…

 

Same for defensive players in many other sports…

 

Again, this was total fatigue, and those central defenders will never, ever forget those <2 seconds when they stopped being athletes… for 2 seconds.

They were standing around, literally, and their entire life’s dreams slipped away, because they look like me getting ready to buy a Hagen Das at the mall…

Not like they have a world class forward between them and the ball is right near the goal…

 

As a captain in college, and as a defender in spirit in every sport, I literally cannot fathom what those two are going through.  

 

And since the game, I have literally physically shuddered to think what was said, and thought about those two seconds…

My heart literally aches for these two amazing players… who simply lost to fatigue for 2 seconds…

The ball 10’ off head now, still middle defenders hips haven’t even bent 1″…

The gifted Croat forward has turned his hips and done what I call a punch step to already be reacting to the ball…

The ball literally has moved 10’ towards the goal in the World Cup semi-final and hips are still completely up and legs are straight…

There is actually only a single player who actually bent his hips and was preparing to react… and that player actually has the ball directly overhead in the picture above.

Good athletic position with chest over knees over toes?  Umm, no, but at least he is engaged?  I am trying here… trying really hard.

The ball is now 20’ off the head, and the middle defender still hasn’t dropped his hips to punch… his hips still facing the wrong way…

The Croatian forward has planted and is in first drive step… the play is already over, and England can get on the bus…

Not enough strength endurance to maintain athletic position (split step) for full match, not cardio endurance enough to allow muscles to recover, or not able to focus for 120…

Or all 3.

This is heartbreaking.

Maybe if we couple some Bosu Ball balance work with Brazilian 1-Touches, this will be the edge to take performance to the next level…

Just no…

Ball is at Croatian’s foot, middle defender now drops hips and plants to move…

All the forward needs to do is execute a shot he has taken 10,000 times, from 6m to be a hero..

Shot being struck from 6m, defender just now starting to drive…

Arms reached out, as the scenario he played out 1,000 times growing up has turned to a nightmare…

And you can see his outstretched arms reaching for a dream that is slipping away…

2 seconds, for a lifetime…

Again, why such detail?

Because you all drive and watch, and spend, and travel, and, and, and…

Your child can begin the first step towards changing this…

‘Cmon, let’s pick it up…’

‘Hey let’s go hard and train our way into shape…’

‘Hey, every rep matters, let’s compete hard and have fun!’

When I was finishing college out east, we played some DIII ball, and there were a few times during practices that I looked over to Sean Joyce, or Cooney, Blue… and said, go take a minute and get the D right…

(I was an offensive player, WR)

Whatever the hell needs to happen, go get the D right, because this is terrible… and, I want you to be come back and give us hell… because we can’t get better as a team like this…

And they said the same to me when the O needed it…

This was edited for public consumption…

I am very very nice…

Right up until I’m not…

Then I’m really not.

Let’s just say, I’m not the flopping type…

So pathetic (PG Rated).

And, I am in no way saying those defenders aren’t great, great players and great men…

But we all get into bad habits…

And their job IS NOT to develop the requisite endurance required for international level soccer… that is a trainer and coach’s job…

To keep those habits and the level up high at every moment…

These two defenders have more heart and pride than probably anyone we have ever met…

And I just ache for them right now…

But this sums it up best:

In a conflict, you will never rise to your level of expectations, but will fall to your level of training

Here is my question for every parent and player here…

And the point of this detailed post…

Does your team need to raise expectations at practices…

And get themselves right?

Talk soon!

By |2018-09-06T14:46:45+00:00September 6th, 2018|From The Coaches, Mental Toughness|0 Comments