I had the privilege of coaching a young lady for a year who turned out to be much more than she appeared.
Our first meeting was a an early spring practice. A few of our players had arrived and they with my son were shooting on goal and messing around. Out trots a slim young lady who proceeds to stand off the the side of the 18 and watch. I walked over and introduced myself and let her know we’d get started once everyone arrived, then passed her a ball and told her just to shoot and get warmed up.
I turned away, took two steps and heard a deep THUD and quickly jerked my head around toward the goal in time to see a ball hit the net high in the goal.
I turned back to the girl, no ball. “Here, do that again.” I said as I kicked her another ball.
BOOOM! she struck the ball sending it again high in the net.
This frail thing was burying the ball high in the goal from 20+ yards, something some of my boys could not do with consistency.
I coached her, let’s call her Rose, for a year and soon found out that along with being a very nice young lady she was a very tough player and had a cannon for a leg.
We all get the surprise player from time to time, here’s what interests me about Rose and her ability. Rose is a dancer, not just a dancer a ballet dancer. A very dedicated dancer and a human rubber band.
It is common to hear about professional athletes taking dance lessons to help with balance, limberness, and rhythm, I believe this is part of the explosiveness Rose possess. She could fall into a split, bend backward into a circle, and kick through a brick wall. Not only could she coil her muscles and unleash them like few her age her form when doing so was nearly perfect, another attribute from dancing ballet.
It is not strength that gives players their power, it is technique that allows them to best utilize what strength they have. Rose had near flawless technique coupled with very strong and limber muscles which translated into a slightly build powerhouse.
If we as youth coaches are at all interested in helping our players become better why do we so often see/hear “Kick it HARDER!” or “Take the outside shot!” when players lose their balance when kicking because of poor form and can’t reach the goal with power from 15 yards let alone outside the 18?
Lack of knowledge? Lack of interest?
For a few years I’ve been using yoga designed for soccer players to help my old legs and back. I have seen it help my sons. I now believe that looking into dance training, stretching, balance and technique is an excellent way to improve and protect our young players.