If there's one thing we know to be typical of young players, it is that they will let out a big sigh of exasperation when asked to use their 'weak foot'. In a competitive sport such as football a young player will naturally want to stick with what they perceive themselves to be good at - most of the time this is their trusty right foot, or for some, their wand of a left! Little do the kids know that their ability, or inability, to use their underdeveloped side is simply a matter of neurology and the kids' assessment of themselves, that they're either 'rubbish with their left' or that 'they just can't do it' couldnt be further from the truth.
motor function, neural symmetry and myelination...
Here at Catalan our Odd-Sock® training method focuses in on the level of balance in our players, and aims to develop a 'neural symmetry' helping them to be both proficient and confident using both sides of their body - arms, thighs and feet included! We are not saying that both sides will be identical, but any child that starts young enough can get pretty close.
For anyone that may have tried to do their best handwriting using their 'other hand', you will know that feeling - no matter how hard you concentrate, or how much time you take, it seems that it will never be as good as your stronger side. The good news for kids is that whilst the chronologically challenged, adults, may not be able to dramatically improve their skills, any footy mad kid certainly can! Here's the science...
Between the ages 3-11 young people's minds and bodies are in what is known as a' golden-age of learning'. Neurological change and growth happens at an exponential rate, a process which young people can fuel by regularly carrying out a wide range of general movement skills and more sport specific, intricate coordinative moves. During these formative years the neural pathways in the brain and those that run to the limbs are in a state of 'hunger', and will quickly build engrams and movement patterns based on the physical habits that may be repeated by a child.
so whats the coaching method?
Through our weekly training sessions, private 1-1 coaching and Catalan school holiday camps we deliver two-footed practices themed around the use of both red and yellow socks. To help you remember not to put the socks on the wrong feet - its always wear your 'Red on the right'. Through concentrated periods of repetition, and commitment from the kids, the strides made in the players motor functions using both their red and yellow socks can be tremendous.
Players that can quickly assess where to pass the ball are an asset to any football team. Through our highly detailed training sessions we help players understand which foot they should be using to receive the ball to help them with their next move, and also calculating which receiving side would be preferred by a team mate before passing the ball. "Play to the foot that makes his next move easier - red or yellow?" - the tactical benefits of this level of selection from young players is invaluable.
Why not come and see for yourself? Anyone who loves football is free to come down and watch!