The World Cup is over and I’m still blown away by what players at that level can do with a soccer ball. But what happens when you combine soccer with Capoeira, the acrobatic martial art from Brazil? Take a look (warning…don’t try this at home).
These young athletes aren’t practicing on groomed grass fields. They’re performing in an inner-city setting on dirt lots, paved streets, rooftops and courtyards. This video may help your students to realize that it doesn’t take the best facilities in the world to become the best athletes in the world. It takes work, dedication, constant practice and the obvious passion for one’s sport demonstrated by these athletes. Incidentally, Brazil is one of the best soccer countries on the globe.
Here’s a video that has gone viral – it’s based on the true story of a group of boys who lived on a floating village off the coast of Thailand. The boys wanted to play soccer, but had no place to play. So, they built a playing field on a floating dock. The boys played barefoot on the hard boards of the dock and spent a lot of time fetching their ball from the water. However, this team eventually began to play tournaments on the mainland and found a secret to success that was linked to their primitive facilities. Today, the team is one of the best in Thailand.
The big lesson for your students is that you don’t need the best facilities to develop as athletes or as a team. The other lesson is that your athletes should never be intimated just because their opponents have better uniforms, equipment or come from a larger town or school. The fact is imperfect facilities often develop aspects of athleticism aren’t often missed by those who seem to have everything.
The international soccer Association (FIFA) has developed a warmup program for both male and female athletes age 14 years and older that can dramatically reduce injuries in your athletes. While the program has been specifically designed for soccer, it can be adapted for other field sports.
Called the 11+ warm-up program, it involves 15 exercises performed in a specific sequence, involving both dynamic and strength exercises. Initially developed and tested in Switzerland, where it was implemented nationwide from 2004 to 2008, its effectiveness has been studied and proven. Teams that perform the 11+ program at least twice a week experienced a 30% to 50% decrease in injuries. You can download the study here. http://f-marc.com/11plus/downloads/
The program should be used as a regular warm-up before training sessions and also before games. However, before games only the running exercises should be performed.
The 11+ warm-up program involves 15 exercises performed in three specific phases. The phases are:
Slow-speed running exercises combined with active stretching and controlled partner contact.
Six exercises with a focus on core and leg strength, agility/plyometrics, and balance. There are three levels of difficulty.
Faster running exercises that combine planting and cutting movements.
As previously mentioned, a pregame warm-up will include only Parts 1 and 3, making warmups before games more dynamic and less strength-oriented.
FIFA has provided this resource free of charge. You can download the training manual, scientific studies, posters and reminder cards, free of charge. The website also includes videos that demonstrate each exercise.
To access these downloadable resources and the demonstration videos go to the 11+ website at:
It’s almost time for summer vacation here in North America. Traditionally, I stop posting bi-weekly blogs and newsletters during this period, to avoid sending emails to accounts that won’t be checked until next September.
So, I’ll probably send a single blog at the end of July, but not much else over these summer months.
Here’s a final video that I think you’ll enjoy – especially if you’ve ever coached or taught soccer. It shows a game between a professional soccer team in Japan, against a team of 100 schoolboys. Most look to be senior elementary age – and many are high skilled.
The video is in Japanese, but it’s fun to watch and I really had to laugh when the boys’ coach, with all 100 players huddled around his whiteboard, diagrammed a corner-kick play for his squad. His play? To put 90 of them around the opponent’s net.
Have a great vacation and I hope you come back next September with your batteries recharged and your motivation at a high level!