Why you Shouldn’t Forget about
Developing your Strengths.
We all want to become better footballers, trying to figure out ways of making our game and performance better. Naturally, our first thought is to look at the areas of our game that aren’t so good, thinking that we have to make them much better.
But really, if we can make our strengths even better, then we are going to give ourselves a great chance to develop.
If you look at some of the top professionals out there, there is usually something that they are great at, helping them stand apart from the other players.
They realise that they have a certain strength and look to try and use that as many times as they can. In some cases they will even try to position themselves in areas that allow them to use that strength. We don’t always realise how often the best players can actually begin to manipulate a game in order to get in to an area to use their strengths.
One of the players that I feel does this brilliantly is Barcelona’s Phillips Coutinho. He may not have had the best time playing for Barcelona but while he was at Liverpool he was absolutely fantastic. His quick feet and close control are brilliant but he had one thing that I just thought he would be successful at, every time he got the ball in his favoured area.
Peeling out to the left side of the penalty area, Coutinho would find a pocket of space. As he received the ball he would shift it out of his feet and curl an in swinging shot into the far corner. He did this a crazy amount of times, and it is through no coincidence at all. Coutinho will actively go out there and engineer that situation, moving himself in to position where he can perform his main strength.
At times we can think that the player is fortunate to be in that position and then they perform their technique really well, but if you have a strength that is very good, then it is important that you think about trying to put yourself in that situation where you can use it more.
And once you do that, you can have a real impact on the game.
Learning to position yourself in areas where you can have an impact is great. Knowing that you can do this is even better and this is where you can really then work on your strength. If you can regularly get in these good positions then you have a great opportunity to shine.
And you can do that by practising your strengths regularly, maybe even more so than improving your weaknesses.
Going back a few years, but let’s take a look at David Beckham, who played on the right wing for Manchester United and England. Beckham, obviously a worldwide superstar, was a great player, but he was great because he used his strengths. You may class his weakness as not being the best dribbler out there. But he didn’t let that affect him; instead tailoring his game as a right winger to his strengths.
Strengths that he practised and improved day after day.
Beckham was an unbelievable dead ball specialist, and his delivery from crosses in wide areas was as good as any player I have ever seen. Giggs, on the left hand side, was the total opposite, a winger who dribbled and got to the goal line to deliver a cross.
Beckham was different; he realised he didn’t have the same pace, or dribbling skills as Giggs, but he had much superior delivery of the ball.
Day after day Beckham would practise his crossing, looking to curl the ball into a space for the attacker to score from. His crossing was superb and there were many games where United won due to his fantastic delivery. He knew that this was his strength, but he looked to make it better and better.
But would Beckham have had the same career if he had focused more on his dribbling?
Would that have been to the detriment of his crossing and dead ball abilities?
If Beckham had spent the same amount of hours practising his dribbling skills, instead of spending that time on his crossing, would he have been as good as a crosser of the ball? I expect he wouldn’t have been. Therefore, it is a good thing for you to realise what your weaknesses are and look to improve them, but don’t let that detract from what is your real strength.
If you can work hard and make that strength even better then you are going to perform very well.
It’s not always about making the weakness better, something which we tend to think of first. Learn how to get yourself in to better positions to use your strengths the most, just like Beckham, and then practise to make them even better.
There are so many players out there who practise their strengths because it is so difficult to become amazing at everything. Developing your all round game is very important, but don’t forget to continue developing your strengths.
They are a strength for a reason and you can make them a lot better by consistent practice and you may actually find it quite easy to develop as you already have a good understanding of the technique.
All top players do this.
Just look at Harry Kane: a great goalscorer who isn’t satisfied with what he has achieved already in the game. He will continually work on improving his finishing and passing abilities but he realises he isn’t the greatest dribbler.
Harry Kane has always strived to make his strengths better.
Does he need that in his game?
The answer to that is no, so why spend hours on hours practising dribbling over his finishing? He doesn’t, and that is something important to remember. Try and make those strengths even better so that when you put yourself in the right position each game, you can take advantage of it.
Developing consistency, to a high level, is the key.