Lockdown Training - Training on your Own
It feels like there has been no football for such a long time. It’s not far off a year now that the UK was put in to its first national lockdown and players have missed out on a huge amount of football.
There is light at the end of the tunnel but there is still uncertainty as to when we can get back to training and playing competitively again. For any budding footballer, desperate to get back training and playing again, this period is tough.
But it can also be seen as an opportunity. An opportunity to practise, working solely on your own game and technical ability. There will be players who have used this time to practise on their own a lot. For those that have, they will really see the benefits when we get back to playing again.
So if you still want to develop and improve your game then we must realise that there is still a lot that we can do; and that starts with training by yourself, at home or down the local playing fields.
At times it can seem tricky to go out and train on your own; potentially running out of ideas on what to do, or feeling like you’re spending most of your time outside, running after the ball you’ve just kicked at goal.
In some cases the goal posts have been taken down at the local pitches. So, what can we, as players, do?
It can be frustrating, but we can be creative. Once we accept that being creative with your training is a good thing, then we will start to see that there is a lot we can begin to work on.
All of the very best footballers in the world have spent a huge amount of time training, more so than their contemporaries. It isn’t just natural talent that has got them there, they’ve worked incredibly hard to develop and progress their abilities, something we can start to do as well.
We don’t need a huge amount of space, and equipment isn’t a must; just a ball will do. To start, it is best just to get as many touches on the ball as you can. It’s been such a long time without football that the majority of players have taken a lot less touches on the ball over the last year, so we want to get back on it as much as possible.
Ball mastery sessions, developing your control with both feet, while twisting and turning, are a great place to start. If you were to practise ball mastery techniques for twenty minutes a day, over the course of the next month, then you would see some really positive improvements in your touch. To do this we don’t need a lot of space at all, just make sure to start slowly in order to get the techniques correct, then build up the pace afterwards.
To work on your first touch and passing, you can use a wall, bouncing the ball off the wall and developing your control on both feet. Simple practices like this may seem easy, but in reality they have a hugely important part to play in the development of your game.
It’s all about practice; the more of it that you can do, the better you’ll become. During this period we all have more time to ourselves, we can use that to our advantage to work solely on our own technical game.
If you don’t have the space at home, or you would like to work in a bigger space, then local parks and playing fields will be great. You can practise passing over distance by aiming for a tree, or taking another ball to the field and using that as a target to develop your long range technique. If there are no goals up then it could be a typical jumpers for goalposts situation. Make your own little posts and practise your shooting. You can dribble around cones, using both feet, while doing so much with the ball. Training at home, individually, is something that can really benefit your game.
Try not to look at this time as a period where you can’t improve because you’re not playing games. Yes, we all need to practise in a competitive and opposed environment, but at the moment we can’t.
The more that we do now, the better we’ll be when we get back to playing. So, take plenty of touches on the ball and spend this time to focus purely on yourself.
During training sessions we can see our teammates and try to compete against them. One of the best things to do, however, is to compete against yourself.
Each day that you go out to practise can you be better than yourself yesterday?
This mentality is something that will really help you improve your game. Deep down you will know if you’ve worked hard to better your performance the day before and, if you can focus on being better each day, then you will start to see your game go from strength to strength.
And why not think like this from now? If ever there was a time to compete against yourself then it is now.
We can’t go out and play against others, or train with our teams, or even have a kick around down the park. There’s no better time to go and compete against yourself.
Dribble around those cones faster than before, take more touches on the ball, pass the ball against the wall more than yesterday. This mindset will help you hugely and any young player who wants to get better can use this time to really help develop their game.
Then, when we get back to it, you will see the benefits of the hard work that you put in over this time, which will hopefully show you that hard work and determination will get you very far within the game.