While development for footballers is achieved by specific technical, tactical and physical skill sets, there is no doubt that both coaches and players can also learn from areas outside of the beautiful game. Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola spent time with the England Rugby Union team upon his arrival in England, with the Spaniard intrigued as to how players pass the ball backwards but are always looking forward. This is just one example of some of the crossovers between sports, with more and more coaches thinking outside the box in order to keep things fresh and increase development.
You will regularly see football players playing a cross between rugby and basketball as a form of warming up, which is designed to improve movement and finding space. However, what other sports can be utilised in order to improve the skills and mentality of your players.
The world’s leading tennis players now have to combine speed and lightning quick reactions in order to be successful, two skills which are certainly useful for footballers too. Reacting to opponents on the field and anticipating where the ball will end up are two components that all top footballers have, with many tennis drills helping to improve these abilities.
Swimming may not develop a football players skill on the ball or coordination, however it will certainly improve stamina and endurance on the field. The ability to play at the highest possible level from minute one to 90 is a huge asset for any player, with swimming helping to improve cardiovascular fitness and core strength.
Both volleyball and basketball can help to develop a player’s game both on the ground and in the air, with drills from the two sports improving awareness, coordination and jumping abilities. Such sports also increase the need for communication, which can in turn help to develop teamwork.
Many professional football clubs have introduced some form of boxing training into their sessions throughout the week, which help to improve reactions, fitness and competitiveness. Boxing is also a sport that requires huge amounts of concentration, which should help players focus for the duration of matches, rather than becoming distracted.
So be sure to try and incorporate aspects from different sports when coaching in football, with players undoubtedly enjoying the challenge of learning new skills and carrying out different types of movement. You will quickly see changes in the way in which your team plays by doing so.
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