Something in my mind clicked and I started playing attacking back in soccer again. Last night I remembered how to attack up the line. If you play outside defense in soccer (think Cafu and Roberto Carlos), you get the opportunity to begin the playmaking process. For the past two years I have been recovering my energies and confidence after being sick in Africa. When you decide to create a play and continue to the opponent’s box, you’re committing yourself to the possibility of another 100+ meter sprint back on defense. If you think about doing this many times throughout the game, you realize you probably will be too tired if your fitness isn’t 100%.
In any case, I decided to try creating a little more offensive attack. I wouldn’t go up every play but maybe every 4th or 5th. It would help keep the other team on its toes and provide more momentum for our team. I could feel the gears shifting once the guys understood I was running the line again. It opened up the field and the midfielder in front of me began to cover for me occasionally.
Though we lost the game, it wasn’t due to chances created but rather to defensives lapses. I would like to improve my overall defensive playing and believe I could be a lot better if I was a little quicker mentally in some critical situations. I still am devising a way to hone my defensive skills. But the biggest gap in my game currently is offensive playmaking and attacking. It’s the World Cup in 2 weeks and I gotta score some goals!
Today I had another game at 11 am, about 10 hours after the end of the last game. My mental plan for the game:
- play solid defense
- see the field in advance and pass well
- go up 5 times each half
In general, I followed all 3 parts of my personal plan. I am used to concentrating on solid defense and passing. But I haven’t used a quantitative measure for something in soccer since I started juggling (keep-ups). All I had to do was go up 5 times and I could sleep well knowing I improved my game.
This team had never seen me go up before, but they adapted quickly and I could feel the energy from our team picking up. The field open wider and several goal-scoring opportunities were created. While it didn’t have an amazing impact on the game, it was a lot of fun and I feel like it helped our team progress past a hurdle we have been experiencing during the begininng of the season.
My point? By attacking 5x per half (instead of just playing man-marking, static defense), my level of play increased dramatically and it helped the flow of the game considerably. I set and achieved a small goal which really helped the game. And there was no real downside because I could rest between sprints (100-200 meters) up and back. Also, I would pace my playing throughout the game. Sometimes I wait until the last 15 minutes when our team is down by a goal to start seriously attacking from the back line. By then it is usually too late.
So next time, instead of trying to practice 3 hours a day, just plan to practice 10 minutes. It’s something you know you’ll be able to complete. Make the most of those 10 minutes and you will be satisfied! Or do 10 minutes of yoga. Or 1 minute of breath of fire. Or dance or sing to one song every day. The small, little things add up. Your brain just wants a little input so it can marinate up something really tasty!
Thanks to Carmen Cordelia for the beautiful photo.