Soccer is a game that requires players to have good fitness, amazing reflexes and reaction times, sound decision-making skills, and agility. As a soccer coach, you have to ensure your players have all these skills and are training regularly to build on them. In the modern-day, coaches and managers have turned towards more technological methods to train their players in these areas. The use of reaction or reflex training lights is one of them.
If you follow professional soccer leagues or have a good idea regarding how the players train over there, you might’ve heard about the use of reaction training lights. Coaches use reaction training lights, like the Blazepod reflex light training system, to up their players’ reflex and reaction games. Using such a system results in a great improvement in player performance. If you’re a soccer coach and want to get the best out of your players, here are a few ways you can use these systems in your training.
Goalkeepers always need to be on their toes. Whether it’s a long-range shot, or a simple tap-in from a few yards away, they need to be ready to save them all. And to that, they need to have cat-like reflexes.
By setting up a training lights system for your goalkeepers, you can get them working on their reflexes, and monitor their reaction times as well (through the mobile app provided with the system). The lights can flash at any time, and your keeper needs to get over there in the shortest amount of time. These reaction lights can help them work on their decision-making skills as well. Based on how far away the lights are from them, they’ll have to decide within a split second as to whether they should jump in with feet first, or make a dive for it.
Apart from passing the ball around, and heading in corner kicks, defenders have two other crucial responsibilities – intercepting passes and blocking shots. The great Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United Football Club, once said, “Attack wins you games, defense wins you titles,” which pretty much sums up the importance of having a solid defense. You, therefore, need to train your defenders in a way that they’ll act as an impenetrable wall against the opposition attack.
By setting up reaction training lights, you can train your defenders to work on their reflexes and reaction times so that they can make important blocks and timely interceptions. Your defenders will not the sequence in which the lights will flash; it’ll be in your control. Their job is to run and slide to the light as if they were trying to intercept an opposition pass.
You can also set up a sequence of these lights, and make them light up at certain intervals. Your defenders, who’ll be aware of the sequence in which the lights are to flash, will have to race towards them before they light up. This is an intense training method and one that’ll surely help you realize the true potential of your players at the back.
Pep Guardiola’s Tiki Taka tactics at F.C. Barcelona took the world by storm. His midfield dominated the matches because of this tactic. The idea behind Tiki Taka was simple – intelligent passing, creating space and interchanging positions. And although this particular tactic is not used so much in today’s games, soccer coaches can learn a lot from it, and help their midfield players develop amazing passing and decision-making skills.
As a coach, you would want to use the reaction lights as indicators – they’ll direct your midfielders where to move next, in anticipation of the next pass or through ball. You can also use a sequence of these lights to help players work on their passing, and dribbling skills as well. Although you don’t need to implement the entire Tiki Taka plan, you can still take bits and pieces from it (like the intelligent passing, movement, and interchanging positions), and implement it in your training sessions.
Strikers have one key responsibility – to score goals. They need to do so by being at the right place, at the right time, even if it means that they have to run the entire length of the pitch in less than 10 seconds. Thus, you need to train your strikers to do that, and more.
There are many ways you can use the reaction training system to develop your strikers. You can use them to set up a dribbling course, see how fast they can run and reach a certain point, test their decision-making abilities, and a lot more.
You should also use the system to see how well your strikers can pair up with your midfield by setting up a joint exercise. In this exercise, the midfielder can set up a cross or a through the ball at a certain point in the pitch, and your striker needs to get there before or right at the time the ball reaches the point. This will help you test your midfielders’ crossing and through ball passing capabilities, as well as your strikers’ agility and reaction times.
These are just some of the many ways you can use reaction training lights to train your soccer team. You can come up with a wide variety of exercises on your own as well since these lights will give you all the opportunity to be creative.