All athletes need to react physically, at speed, to decisions made within split seconds under the pressure of competitive situations. Soccer athletes are no exception, and to improve this side of their game, they need to train their reactive intelligence, the way athletes cognitively react to situations all over the pitch for 90 minutes or more.
When looking for a drill to suit your cognitive reaction needs, BlazePod has a wide selection for you to choose from, and fully adaptable for all ages and skill levels.
Let’s look at the top 5 drills and the goals they will help you achieve, in no particular order.
Primary goals: Scanning/awareness, decision making, ball control
Being aware of your surroundings, the teammates' and opponents’ positioning and movement around you, is essential to reading the game and selecting the next play. To do so, “checking your shoulder” is a key factor, and this drill will make sure you’re always aware of what’s going on behind you before you receive the ball and decide what to do when you get that first touch.
No coach? No problem, just add a QuickPlay Replay station instead and make sure not to be too impulsive but rather decide correctly according to the color Pod over your shoulder… your decision-making and response will speed up with practice.
Focus Ball Control
Primary goals: Decision making, close control, reaction time
This drill seems pretty simple, but it’s one of the most effective cognitive, close control drills out there. From young beginners to pro ballers, this one will make sure to speed up attention skills. Filtering out the relevant cues from the irrelevant ones faster and processing that into movement and skill as your feet control the ball and move towards the correct signal, round the Pod and focus on the next visual stimuli to appear.
This is the type of drill you can do anywhere, even at home without breaking any windows!
Hustle & Sprint
Primary goals: Warm up (stage 2 - physicality and explosive power), reaction time, competitiveness
A must for any pre-game warm up. After raising the heart rate, loosening up joints and awakening those muscles, it’s time to get even more game ready. Battling for position on the field against your opponent at any corner kick or dead-ball situation, and then responding quicker than them to react fast to receive the ball or defend the cross… This drill will make sure your eyes, brain and body are primed and ready for all situations.
Ball Control With Rebounders
Primary goals: Spatial awareness, head-up while on the ball, decision making
Noticing your surroundings while dribbling the ball is a skill in itself, being able to multitask, moving the ball close to your feet while your eyes are scanning around you and making directional, and give-and-go decisions.
Trainers can customize the drill to work with 2-8 players at once, just make sure to spread out the Pods and rebounders accordingly.
Receive Turn and Shoot
Primary goals: Shooting, decision making, ball control
You receive the ball with your back to goal and a defender goal-side and tight, then as you turn, you notice the goalkeeper slightly too far to their right, that top left bin has never looked better and you take the shot, and score! That’s the exact scenario you’ll be training in this drill, being able to turn your man, lift your head and choose the correct spot to shoot.
Again, don’t worry if you don’t have your trainer with you, just use the “receive, turn and shoot HB” version with the QuickPlay Replay Station instead, and keep a few balls ready a few meters in front of the rebounder.
Consider customizing drills with BlazePod to suit your players, surroundings, and available equipment. However, always remember to synchronize cognitive and physical goals when creating your own drill. Use multiple player colors for decision-making, incorporate focus drills for attention skills, and keep the muscles primed and eyes sharp with hit/timeout limitations and random light delay settings
I hope you enjoy training with BlazePod as much as I do and feel that the perceived potential limit raised to the skies!
If you haven’t already done so, get hold of your own kit and download the BlazePod app, you won’t regret it!