Big, Fast, and Strong – Necessary for Soccer?
The issue I want to discuss this month is the difference in importance for the US and Spain regarding the physical fitness and athletic characteristics of young players. Additionally, I want to address challenges and implications regarding how our methodology isn’t necessarily compatible with “traditional” youth soccer in the US.
B-Elite prefers to spend the little time we have with our players on teaching soccer and building on fundamentals to increase soccer IQ – specifically, increasing quick decision-making, which is oftentimes the difference between a good practice player and a good game player. To that end, we work on achieving physical fitness through our game-like soccer drills – always with a ball, teammate, and opponent. That’s why we ask every day for our young players to give it their all in our sessions and games, so we can make the most out of the limited time we have together.
Our technical directors all study for years and are uniquely qualified on how to successfully train young soccer players at their different developmental stages. Game-like situations are fun and productive. B-Elite directors assess the overall potential of a soccer player more than current physical characteristics because in a child’s development these inherent physical values can change overnight as they grow. With traditional American sports, players are evaluated by physical measurements and abilities such as size, speed, strength, and conditioning. Our young players are still developing physically, mentally, emotionally, and technically. We evaluate the capacity to learn and improve, which is also indicative of a player’s ability to comprehend and apply some more complicated soccer concepts.
Our competitors, generally, want to find the fastest or biggest players and at the amateur-level, they find wins because they have the best athletes. At B-Elite, we work hard and play soccer well as a team, which is also what makes it fun. So, if you are also a great athlete, it is just an added bonus as opposed to solely relying on your speed or size for success. Think of a fast athlete playing soccer against a great soccer player who is also very fast.
The challenge for B-Elite players is that when they play at the next levels (college, DA, id2, ECNL, ODP) with athletes who play more direct styles of soccer that perhaps rely on being bigger, faster, or stronger, instead of actually playing soccer well, is that there can be many breakdowns. Think Messi “magic” when he plays with Barcelona in the Spanish system vs his perceived below-par performance with Argentina. I can confidently say that the best training you will receive for your personal development is at B-Elite and perhaps the most fun you will have is playing on a B-Elite team. A B-Elite player can be successful in both US and Spanish-style soccer.
Unlike traditional US sports like football, basketball, and baseball, great soccer players come in all sizes and physical fitness can be improved in a relatively short time.