Shooting Stars – Development Diary 6

Unfortunately the incessant rain saw an early postponement to our crucial clash with Victoria Park Vixens at a sodden Hackney Marshes. I use ‘unfortunately’ advisedly as well as momentum is everything in football and not east to gather when matches are scheduled every other week.

We have won our last 4 games, playing some attractive and effective football in the process, so fair to say confidence and enthusiasm levels were high, emphasised by the strong looking squad who had made themselves available this week.

It’s also disappointing as we have worked hard on various aspects of our game in the last 2 training sessions and it would have been nice to have seen tangible results from these long hours of practice, many spent with driving rain stinging the player’s faces meaning we would have been well prepared for the monsoon like conditions we would have encountered this week.

Observational and verbal feedback indicated that some players lacked in confidence when faced with the opportunity to fire in long range shots, often opting for a safer, easier option instead which pay less dividends as far as winning matches goes.

To work on this aspect which is a mental block as much as a technical barrier, Brian and myself created a scenario where long range shots were encouraged and indeed the only way a player could score. 2 goals were situated approximately 18/20 yards either side from the edge of the penalty area which acted as a dividing line between the two halves. Goals could only be scored from inside your own half leading to what would have been deemed previously ‘speculative’ shots that players would most likely not have taken on. This encouraged a mindset shift of ‘shoot on sight’ and soon shots were literally ‘raining in’ on a beleaguered Paula and a rather more unruffled Brian at the other end.

As a progression we worked on mindset needed to follow in on rebounds (the goalie will drop everything) and also penetrating deeper into the other half and feeding off ‘sets’ where the momentum on the ball could be used to make the shot from distance easier and more effective.

As ever with Development Diary, I hope you enjoyed this little insight of what goes on behind the scenes and the effort/eye for detail needed to try to hone the mental strength and technical skills required to ensure players are the best version of themselves.

With no match footage available this week I thought I’d include a little snippet of a typical session at Drapers Field. Hopefully this emphasises the level of detail myself and Brian strive to impart on the players but also the effort and commitment put in week after week in all conditions (mostly adverse) by this very enthusiastic and talented group of players.

Thanks for reading and keep dry and safe in the coming week.

Regards Neil #DevelopmentDiary