Soccer

Unsolicited comments on Old Way/New Way® from a member of the South Australian National Women's Soccer League

"For the first time, I felt like I was in charge, not the ball! I could control where the ball went or predict where it would go.

"There was so much less guesswork involved. Instead of relying on various tricks that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, I knew that if I got my foot next to the ball, kept my head down and followed straight through that the ball would go straight ahead. I was in charge, not the coach.

"For the first time, I don't feel like kicking is something that I can only do well when a coach who I understand is watching over my kicks and correcting poor technique.

"Now I don't only understand good technique in theory; I understand how my body needs to move to put it into practice. (I never found it very easy to learn kicking technique from [coach's name], for whatever reasons. And I didn't know how to improve the technique on my own. Now I know how to do that.)

"It is a different kind of understanding or knowing than I had before.

"Old Way/New Way® has been great because I practice kicking less often and it improves significantly more that it used to!! That is, it helps me work smart instead of just hard. The "return" from Old Way/New Way®, i.e., the benefit gained for the time put in, is excellent.

"For the first time, I have seen real improvement in my kicking during games as well as during training. I think this is because I know the technique well enough in my own mind that I can do it under pressure and quickly.

"My coach can see the improvement. This time, when I finally said to [....], after he told me how bad my kicking was that I thought my kicking was much more accurate, the kicking didn't let me down in the following game and even [....] said that it was great! Miracles will never cease!

"It is a technique that I can use to obtain further improvements in kicking and in other areas of my game.

"I feel so much better about my kicking and am so much more confident in myself about it. Now, at club, players that I respect want me to cross the ball to them instead of someone else because I can cross a decent ball.

"I am sure that the confidence I feel with kicking is impacting on other areas of my game, for example, people are telling me I have really good "vision" and I think it is because I can finally put a ball where I want to put it.

"Why was Old Way/New Way® so helpful? What makes it work well? In my opinion, the presence of both sports psychologist and coach is critical, particularly in a situation where a coach has (possibly justifiable) preconceptions about the inability of the player concerned to execute the relevant technique.

"For me, with respect to kicking, I think Old Way/New Way® taught me to focus on one thing at a time and to focus on direction rather than other aspects of kicking technique such as whether it was good strike or went the distance, or whatever. A successful kick was one that went straight, even if it felt terrible to kick and went along the ground instead of going in the air. Once I was able to kick consistently and strike a ball so that it went straight ahead, it was easy to make it go in the air and get more distance.

"As a result of doing Old Way/New Way® I now think that the way to work at increasing distance is not so much to practice long kicks but to practice kicking technique over a shorter distance. Once that is right it seems to me to be much easier to get the distance.

"The Old Way/New Way® sessions were the first time, I think, that I had ever had a coach actually work through with me in one session all the different things needed for good kicking technique. Most of what we talked about I had heard before, e.g., foot next to the ball, head down, follow through, toe down, etc., but never all at the same time and in a way that helped me put all of them together into one kicking technique. It was really important to build up a "new way" from all of those little things.

"As well as learning a 'new way', I learned how to trigger it - that there were a few things that if I got right the rest would follow."

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