How Your Player Can Be Smarter Today

  • May 11, 2018

Barcelona, Spain (May 15, 2018) – Guest article by Todd Beane, Founder of TOVO Academy Barcelona and the TOVO Training Methodology.

I am honored to be a guest presenter at the ECNL Coaching Symposium, a wonderful event to promote innovation in coaching and education. In this guest column series, I aim to share some of the concepts I believe to be vital to promoting a healthy and productive learning experience for our children. Thank you for reading.”  – Todd Beane

As parents and coaches, we all seek to nurture intelligence in our children. But what is intelligence as it relates to being a better player?

For perhaps far too long we have focused exclusively on the technical components of the game – passing, receiving, shooting, dribbling and heading.  Skills are critically important, but what is even more important is an ability to apply those skills in context.  Skills are what to call upon to execute a solution. When an idea accompanies a pass, we start to see remarkable results. Our children start to play intelligently and to reap the benefits.

The beauty of the cognitive process is that we can nurture it as parents and coaches. At TOVO, we teach cognition in six steps: perception, conception, decision, deception, execution and assessment.

For your child to be better today, he or she should begin with perception.

The task of perceiving is not dependent upon physical stature, age, or gender.  Therein lies its beauty. Your child can begin now. You can help her. From there we can advance through the subsequent five steps but for now let us focus on the first and perhaps most critical step.

Ask your player to swivel his head in both directions taking in visual cues from North, South, East and West. In doing so, he will prove that he can do exactly what Xavi Hernandez mastered in leading FC Barcelona and Spain to international glory. So simple, yet so effective.

In fact, researcher Geir Jordet in studying the visual exploratory frequency of English Premier League footballers shows that players who scan more complete up to 19% percent more passes. That is an amazing statistic. The brain will process the data it receives automatically so our players only need to collect that data by scanning the field.

Instead of watching the ball this weekend, watch the head of your child. In each moment, is she collecting data from her environment by looking about BEFORE she gets the ball? Those that scan, that perceive well, will be more likely to see solutions quickly and will be implementing a skill that will serve them well on and off the field. When this beneficial skill becomes a habit, your child will be a smarter player.

Click here to learn more about TOVO and our talent development programs.

About the author: Todd Beane is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford University and a former professional footballer. In TOVO, Beane has combined proven pedagogical practices with the visionary components of a football legend into a dynamic training methodology.  Beane is the son-in-law of Johan Cruyff, with whom he worked 14 years to deliver talent development programs worldwide.