A footballer’s performance has factors that affect it.
These four factors are; Technical, Tactics, Physical and Psychology (mental).
These four elements are very dependent on each other, they can only be applied in unison. You can hardly apply tactics and ignore technical, physical and psychology.
Technical and tactics are mainly taught by football coaches but learning happens during matches.
Physical is mainly DEVELOPED from a young age (aged 3 to 12) by working on exercises that develop coordination and can also be learned by allowing upcoming footballers (aged 3-12 ) to participate in different sports and fun games, it’s then MAINTAINED in later years of a footballer. (These days even after retirement).
Coordination is responsible for all the physical demands in football.
Psychology (mental) is the most neglected element yet it’s as important as the other three or must-have for better football performance.
Reason? It’s the element that is taught by parents/guardians from a player’s infancy stage to adulthood then improved through coaching.
It’s very much the foundation stage of a footballer’s performance.
Concentration accounts for almost 60% of the mental demands in football.
Technical includes football skills like; passing, shooting, the first touch, heading, dribbling, tackling, marking, handling, diving (goalkeeper) and throwing.
It’s basically the skills that are applied to the ball.
These skills need to be learned and perfected before the age of 20 then developed until they can be applied under the immense pressure of space and time.
Coaches, parents and upcoming footballers should ensure these skills are constantly developed until they can be applied in a pressured environment.
It is important for footballers to learn, master and be comfortable executing all football skills regardless of the playing position.
The quality execution of football skills is affected by coordination.
Tactics are the how, when, where and why the application of football skills or decisions on the pitch.
Quality footballers are able to perform better because they have been taught to answer who does what how when where and why?
Answering those football questions is derived from knowledge and understanding of the principles of attacking and defending in football.
Coaches and parents should ensure that young footballers (aged 6-12) are given the chance to express themselves with the ball and in small-sided fun matches while growing up so that between 12-15 years of age they can start to be taught who does what how when where and why?
Physical includes; agility, acceleration/deceleration, jumping, stamina, balance, flexibility, footwork, strength (power for footballers), pure speed (not to be confused with overall football speed) and natural fitness.
This element is developed from a young age with better nutrition, playing creative fun games and using quality training equipment to develop coordination of the body.
Psychology or metal includes; passion, decision making, teamwork, work rate, enthusiasm, concentration, communication, commitment, confidence, control, creativity, determination, influence, off the ball and composure.
Having those attributes helps a player to be; confident, ambitious, versatile, focus, adaptable, consistent, good and positive attitude, professional in behavior, sportsmanship, bravery, etc.
Parents should put more emphasis on the psychological element in the development stage of a footballer because it requires a lot of time, effort and hard work to instill and can’t be tolerated if lacking in a professional set up.
As mentioned earlier, these four elements all work at the same time and can’t be separated.
Scenario: A defender has a striker bearing down on goal facing her in a 1v1. In that scenario the defender has to track backward with bent hips (physical), has to know when, where on the pitch, how and why a defender tracks backward (tactics), has to focus on the ball and be confident (mental) in her ability to defend then finally might have to tackle (technical) or apply principles of defending.
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