A shot is taken on goal the ball bounces off the goal-keeper or the goal post and there is no one there to simply tap the ball into the net. Then, one hears the frustrated coach and a chorus of bewildered spectators screaming, “Follow the Shot … Follow Your Shot!”

One would think that soccer players would instinctively follow-every-shot and yet there is a lack of urgency to do so even at the highest level.  Makes one wonder why since we know that the key to creating good soccer habits comes from good consistent repetition.

Why U-6 & U-8 Soccer Players Need to ‘Follow the Shot’

Coaches are taught: “If ‘it’ happens in the game –Practice ‘it’! ‘

(IT) in this case means, “Follow the Shot”

Let’s take a look at the U-6 and U-8 games which have No Goalkeepers; resulting in no Rebounds off GK; meaning no need to practice (IT); with no repetition of (IT) there can be no habit created in these years of play.

Goals in U-6 and U-8 games are many times marked-out by cones, flags or round-plastic tubes; resulting in very few (if any)-rebounds; meaning few (IT) practices needed; with a few repetitions (if any) creating the habit of (IT) may not happen.

In the U-9 and U-12 games goalkeepers are introduced; resulting in some rebounds off the GK; meaning there is a need to practice (IT).  But, how many shooting sessions have you observed, in these age groups, where balls were purposely deflected by the GK so that (IT) could be practiced?

Unfortunately, goals in these age groups are also marked-out by cones, flags or round-plastic tubes; resulting in very few (if any)-rebounds; meaning few (IT) practices needed; with a few repetitions (if any) creating the habit of (IT) may not happen.

We know that to create a habit one must repeat (I repeat) one must repeat the movement over and over and over again.

Learning Technique

In his article, “Brain Study and Learning Technique”, Paul Recer, Associated Press Writer had this to say…

“It takes the brain about six hours to store in memory a new physical skill, such as riding a bike and this memory can be wiped out if the mind’s storage process is interrupted by trying to learn another new skill researchers have found.

“We’ve shown that time itself is a very powerful component of learning,” said Dr. Henry Holcomb, a psychiatrist who heads a Johns Hopkins University group that studies how people remember. “It is not enough to simply practice something. You have to allow time to pass for the brain to encode the new skill.”

“By measuring the blood flow patterns in the brain, the scientists determined that it takes five to six hours for the memory of a new skill to move from temporary storage site in the front of the brain to permanent storage at the back.

During those six hours there is a window of vulnerability when memory of the new skill can be easily eroded if the person attempts to learn a second new skill.

If you were performing a piano piece for the first time and then immediately started practicing something else, then, that will cause problems in retention of the initial piece that you practiced”, said Holcomb.

 

It would be better, he said, if the first practice session was followed by five to six hours of routine activity that required no new learning.

 

In the Hopkins study, the researchers used a positron emission tomography device, or PET, to individually measure blood PET and then taught to manipulate PET image flow in the brains of 16 test subjects while they learned a new motor skill. The people were placed into an object on a computer screen by using a motorized robotic arm. The test required unusually precise and rapid hand movements that could be learned only through practice.

During the learning process showed that blood flow was most active in the prefrontal cerebral cortex of the brain.

After the learning session, the test subjects were allowed to do unrelated routine things for five to six hours and were then rested.

When operating the robotic arm this time the blood flow was most active in the posterior parietal and cerebella areas, said Holcomb.

“This shift in the brain is necessary to render the memory invulnerable and permanent,” he said. “What we see is the consolidation of the memory.”

It is such a consolidation, said Holcomb, that allows a person never to forget some skills, such as riding a bike or swimming (Inserted: FUNdamentally- Following-the-Shot) that were learned as a child.”

Using Real Goal Posts in Practice

There you have it –Common Sense that tells you, If it happens in the Game – Practice it and Scientific proof that practice of the movement (IT) must be as realistic to game conditions as possible.  And the one constant that we can use to create the habit of (IT) is the use of real Farpost goals!

Your FUNdamental,

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)

Why Coaching U-6 & U-8 Soccer to always 'Follow your Shot' is Critical


Ordering Portable Soccer Goals for Practice

If you are interested in getting portable aluminum soccer goals to start training following the shot for rebounds on, a good place to order from is Farpost Soccer Goals Ltd. Farpost Goals builds very high quality portable soccer goals that are used by clubs across North America. They are built for competitions and everyday training, making them a great asset for coaches. Visit Farpost’s online store to order yours.

If you have any questions or require any assistance in picking a soccer net for your coaching practice, please don’t hesitate to contact Farpost Goals.