The Strengths and Weaknesses of Personal Training for Soccer Players
Club soccer parents are always looking to find the best opportunities for their children to succeed in this sport, and are often willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
That dedication is shown is numerous ways, especially in shelling out their hard-earned cash for one-on-one training with a private coach.
There are many different views on the benefits of personal training, but the question remains: Is it worth it?
Can you truly improve by training individually in a team sport?
Soccer is an extremely technical sport, requiring high levels of skill and expertise in what would be regarded as awkward footwork to athletes of any other sport. In a game that is comprised almost entirely of the usage of one’s feet, unlike the more natural use of your hands in most other sports, soccer is simply a very difficult game to master proper technical skills.
Personal training with a quality coach can certainly help improve your son or daughter in technical skill aspects of the game such as: passing and receiving the ball, driving and chipping, dribbling, shooting, crossing, using his or her weaker foot, etc.
However, as it is a team sport, there is a limit to how much overall improvement can be made in training individually, as it can’t help you improve in most areas of the game that require teammates and opponents.
Additionally, personal training takes time and dedication over an extended period to see improvement, so results aren’t guaranteed overnight (or at all) if your player doesn’t commit to learning and improving over the long haul.
Do I need to take out a second mortgage to cover the costs?
Personal training can be shockingly expensive! Elite private coaches can charge upwards of $100 for one hour of training. If you decide to train with a coach at such rates for a couple sessions per week over a few months, you’ve already racked up a bill greater than your yearly club soccer costs.
You can find cheaper alternatives, such as small group training that provides similar exercises in a more intimate setting than normal team training sessions, but it will be less one-on-one teaching than personal training.
Finding the right balance is the key; do you simply want more touches and more exercise than the 2-3 team sessions each week for a lower cost or are you looking for private instruction and an expert breakdown of proper technique for your child that will cost you an arm and a leg?
Once you figure out what you’re looking for, then it’s just about finding the right coach for your individual player.
Is there such a thing as soccer overload?
Most people believe that more practice will naturally lead to greater individual improvement. Parents often take this assumption to the extreme, forcing their sons or daughters to train, train and train until their little legs nearly fall off.
Speaking from experience of coaching youth athletes for almost a decade, burnout is real. If kids are forced to do something when they don’t want to, it’s no longer just a game and it’s no longer fun. Sports aren’t school; they aren’t mandatory, they are a choice. If you suddenly turn soccer practice into Math tutoring, the fun is lost and the desire to eagerly work hard and improve will vanish.
If your son or daughter is a soccer junkie and can’t get enough of the game, then the more the merrier to a healthy extent. However, if you’re dragging them into the minivan and forcing on their cleats to go to training, it’s no longer their desire to improve in this game; it’s about your ego as a parent.
If your child is looking to further develop their technique and skill level, by their own personal interest in taking their game to the next level, and you are willing to pay the bill for a private coach, then personal training can be very beneficial for improvement in youth soccer players.