By Scott Martin
Think about this for a moment . . . If you do, you’re in the minority. You see, most everyone, especially the players on the field, focuses on that stupid little round thing: The ball. I’m asking you to look past that and look at s-p-a-c-e. You know, that green area that fits within the outer boundaries of the soccer field.
I’m not trying to be a smart-ass. Rather, I’m trying to shake you into removing the blinders that have been placed on us all over the years. I’m trying to get you to open your eyes. I’m trying to simplify the game.
Even a decent magician is competent and getting you to focus your attention on something other than what she/he has tempted you to see. Or how a car salesperson gets you emotionally attached to a car then sits you down to look at numbers. It’s amazing how numbers lose focus and you drive away from the dealership in something other than what you drove earlier that day. In soccer, we focus far too much on that sexy rolling thing, the ball.
In soccer, barely anything is linear. Almost everything is angular. Yes, more math to go along with an earlier post that discussed the mathematics of soccer. Think back to earlier matches you’ve seen or played. The next time you flip on a match watch the play leading up to the goal. Scratch that. Aside from the ball, watch the play leading up to the goal being scored. Now, do you see it? It’s called SPACE. It’s beautiful — all lush and green. Spectacular!
In my years of coaching, from my first team of U10 soccer rats to high school and the college level, this concept is the most difficult and time-consuming to present. But, boy, when the players “get it”, when they learn to avoid watching the flamboyant moves of the magician and the 4-square math juke by the salesperson, when they allow themselves to truly see s-p-a-c-e rather than that stupid little round thing . . . they play some beautiful soccer.