How eager would you be to allow a surgeon to cut you open and remove your gallbladder if that surgeon never watched a surgery before? Not very, right? You instinctively know that performing a physical skill is easier if you've watched someone else do it first.
Likewise, if you want to learn to play music, it helps to listen to music. Most athletic skills are the same way. These skills are not life or death like in the surgery example, but the principles are the same.
There are benefits of watching soccer, from watching pro games on TV to watching games in person. There are benefits from watching soccer in person that you can't get from watching the game on TV. In this post, I'll share a few personal stories of games that happened these last two weeks and share what the experts say about the simple act of watching games.
The Inspiration Behind This Episode
My wife volunteered as field marshal for a tournament here in the Mid-Atlantic area this past weekend. This was her first time doing this. She was a little intimidated going out the door that morning, but when she came home, the one thing she wanted to talk about the most was the quality of play she saw on the field. The two teams she watched came down from Massachusetts and New Jersey for the 40th annual Potomac Memorial Tournament right here in my back yard at the Germantown Maryland Soccerplex Complex.
She was impressed by the level of play of these two teams. She had never seen such passing, such ability to hold their shape, such possession, teamwork and skill. She talked about it for several days and told my son and I that we would have loved to watch those games. She's right. I know the value of watching games and by the end of this episode, you will too!
When I started learning how to be a youth soccer coach, I did what I had always done in the business world and in life. I sought out people who had been doing the thing that I wanted to do - and learned from them. I talked with anyone who would talk with me. I met with coaches who were willing to show me the secrets of coaching young soccer players. I visited my local soccerplex and watched dozens of youth games. I attended every practice for other teams my kids played on with a notebook in hand and took notes and drew diagrams. I took courses, read books, and watched professional soccer on TV. I immersed myself, found coaches and styles I liked, focused the questions I sought answers for in books, then returned to the field to test my new working theories.
I don't expect you to embrace the same level of game analysis that I do, but like my wife, who's never played soccer in her life, the benefits of watching soccer - in this case a good game - moved the bar in her mind. She now knows what good quality soccer looks like and she understands more why it's called "the beautiful game."
I want you to enjoy this sport as much as my players do. I want you to have the same "ah-ha" moment my wife did as field marshal this last weekend. If you haven't already had that moment, I have good news. It's probably closer than you think.
What Are the Benefits of Watching Soccer?
One of the benefits of watching soccer is that it gives you a base vocabulary to draw from. Just being around the game, you'll come to know the touchline, the 18, the penalty area, the corner, the timing, the difference between a touchline and a goal line. If you pay attention, you'll get sight pictures of an inside-of-the-foot pass versus an outside-of-the-foot pass. You might understand why, at practice, your coach is playing games with the kids that emphasizes inside-of-the-foot, outside-of-the-foot, and laces. You will notice the difference between a legal shoulder vs a foul from behind. You'll start to see things that you never knew were there and maybe start to see the value in the age-appropriate training that coaches are trying to promote.
Next in our lineup of benefits of watching soccer,
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