What is "Soccer Intelligence" and how can you train it?

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Wayne Harrison in the August Issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete.

What is Soccer Intelligence?

I call it Soccer Awareness!

This is the “thinking” part of the game; it’s the game of the MIND. The game starts in the head of the player and players must think more quickly and with better accuracy in decision making.

Therefore soccer intelligence is based around players being able to identify their options BEFORE they receive the ball; and pick out the best option of hopefully several available to advance it; and maintain possession in the next phase of play.

Why is it Important?

Without soccer intelligence a player cannot assess situations quickly enough through thinking and movement and therefore cannot maintain possession of the ball especially in pressure situations that occur every second on the field of play. A player doesn’t need to be quick to be a top player, though of course it helps, but if he or she is quick of MIND then he or she can still be a top player.

How Does Soccer Intelligence give players and teams a winning advantage?

Players assessing the game more quickly “cerebrally” than opponents can play faster and think faster and make better decisions through identifying the best options much earlier than opponents; and hence be one step ahead of them.

In player development is soccer intelligence the most important? Where does it fit in with tactical and technical development?

I would say it is the key to being a great soccer player. It is the SKILL FACTOR in player development, the when, where, how and why of technical development in terms of decision making. I will explain more and in greater detail below.

At what age should soccer intelligence training start?

It depends on the player. Some can start at 7 years old some might not be able to grasp it until 10 years old. Generally speaking the earlier the better; introducing very simple decision making training at 7 or 8 years. Development of technique with closed skill training is the most important at these ages, repetition of the same things without too much thought; so they are capable of making successful dribbles and turns and passes without pressure and then introducing decision making to see if the players know where, where, how and why to make that pass, that dribble that turn and so on with pressure included. Ages 9; 10, 11, 12 and 13 we can bring in the more “tactical” awareness development.

To get the rest of the article including workouts and more resources to help you have the best season yet, download the August issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete today.

Find out more about Soccer Awareness Elite Academy Programs at http://soccerawareness.com.