What can make our Soccer players improve?

Metacognition is “cognition about cognition”, “thinking about thinking”, “knowing about knowing”, becoming “aware of one’s awareness” and higher-order thinking skills. The term comes from the root word meta, meaning “beyond”, or “on top of”. Metacognition can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or problem-solving. There are generally two components of metacognition: (1) knowledge about cognition and (2) regulation of cognition. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metacognition)

Ok – a big concept to grapple with.  Let me try to break it down as it applies to soccer training and development, and where MOTI can assist. 

There are two key parts of Socratic teaching, questioning, and metacognition.  They work in synergy to help players think critically and develop skills for lifelong learning and self-reflection.  Socratic questioning prompts players to question their own beliefs and assumptions and to test connections between their beliefs and the situation at hand.  Metacognition assignments invite students to reflect on their own thinking and learning, which deepens learning and improves retention. 

Most Soccer Clubs have players who can kick a ball, have a decent first touch, cooperate well in a team environment, have mobility and are competent athletes.  All the main characteristics desired to be an excellent Soccer Player.  So, what is the problem?  Why aren’t their game performance levels rising and could this be an indication of why a Club is losing 50% of their membership at the U14 levels?        

Does your club have a tool for measuring ability and performance?  Do your coaches have a detailed curriculum that clearly demonstrates a path and an expectation for each player and team to attain, that is specific to gender and age?

Maybe your coaches at training pose questions multiple times within a practice to ascertain player knowledge and comprehension of soccer.  Some players get it, while many may not, even if their answer is primarily based on recall or an inferred clue in the question.  Sound familiar?  It should because this is exactly how the United States Soccer Federation is instructing its Grassroots Coaching Pathway in their Play-Practice-Play format.

All coaches and parents should be looking for ‘Curious and Brave Soccer Players’.  Players who have and will continue to work on improving and broadening their Skill and Ball Mastery.  Not only doing this in their team meetings but also at home, by themselves or with a buddy or sibling. 

The stats are there for us to embrace and change collectively wanting to keep soccer players active past 14 years of age in soccer.  60% of parents identify with Free Range parenting which delineates some rules and guidelines, at the same time giving more freedom and parameters to discover and explore in the Real World.   A high percentage of parents have read child research giving credence to the notion that unstructured play and self-discovery assist in the levels of a child’s creativity. 

The same goes for learning to be a soccer player and athlete.  With “metacognition,” coaches, parents, and teachers can expose themselves to the MOTI Soccer Platform where the skill sets, the activities, the motion capture and expert coaching points all work hand in hand to cater to short-circuiting the learning curve with the key elements for ‘Perfect Practice’ not just ‘Neanderthal’ kicking a ball around and running in circles.

Having players listening in to the coach and other players while getting instruction, then sharing their thoughts and ideas during a practice reinforces the thinking within the group and also gets players to make visual connections and responses to each other at a totally different level of engagement, leadership, and maturity at any age.  This environment and content produce a guided learning experience where players get to utilize the nonthreatening soccer field classroom.  

Players are not only thinking, but they are also learning how to retain information.  This allows them to take these small-sided tasks and activities into the vast area the big field thrusts them into when they scrimmage.  The coach and all players are facilitating collaboration, enjoying productivity, vocal leadership, empathy and strategies of good habits that will last over time. 

I know from firsthand experience that good soccer players can be produced using 3D visual and auditory learning techniques.   Observing, practicing and then executing perfect application of a skill, and witnessing how it relates to the larger game and team play elevates player knowledge, game understanding, game awareness, intuition, and self-esteem.  Think MOTI “metacognition” or  MOTI “thinking about thinking” as a solution in helping players to improve.   The MOTI Soccer Training Platform offers members of the squad an opportunity to listen to their inner voices as they look at the 3D animated practice sessions and 3D motion capture of the skill elements needed to become an accomplished soccer player.   Students of the soccer game using the MOTI App can not only view the activities and skills, but they also end up reciting key coaching points.  Unlocking the content of the game breaks this complicated game down into its building blocks that can accelerate both player’s and coaches’ understanding of this complex and demanding sport.