There’s a space between Intellect and Intuition for every soccer player. It’s what makes the game beautiful, creative, difficult and challenging to learn. More so it’s the space between intellect and intuition that makes coaching a player an art and a science.
We can’t expect the youth player to know the difference between when to do the right thing, intellectually and when to be in the creative space of intuiting a solution to the problems within the game.
As coaches and parents we can see the game from our intellect and experience. We can learn the functions of the positions, formations, objectives of the game, even the technical foundation of the human body at work.
For players they’re still learning to intellectualize the game. Often times they have to translate their experience within the limits of their cognitive growth. For most 10-12 year old players their cognitive model of development is concrete operational (if you subscribe to Piaget’s theory), with that, there are certain rules….do that and get praise, do this and get punished.
It’s a challenging experiment in youth soccer to have the pressure to perform within a game that has no “right answers”, just creative solutions to every problem. It’s in that space that intuition and intellect collide for an athlete.
How can I be creative if I am going to be wrong?
It’s where LeftFoot tried to focus on technical skills from an athletic foundation balancing intellect and intuition in the space of the game. As I grew as a coach I learned that a player can’t have different choices in a game if they didn’t have the technical tools to see the situation differently.
The old saying that “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is rampant in youth soccer. Every player that walks in the door at LeftFoot only dribbles with one foot. They don’t give any love to their left foot.
I like to say, “foot skills heals all.” What I mean is that if a player has no comfort with the ball, then they can’t choose a different solution. If they only dribble with the inside of their foot, they’ll never feel the ball in a different way, they won’t know how to move differently. They only see the nail.