Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Soccer is not only the most popular sport in the world, it is also the most amazing. Besides having plenty of investors pumping money into the various club leagues, soccer also has the largest talent pool from which to draw from. Soccer scouts can search for new stars in every corner of the world. There are many reasons why soccer is amazing besides these.
Real-time strategy and decision making. Soccer is all about making good decisions, but doing so in real-time. Players are coached and schooled on how to develop the best mindset and acumen for soccer. This means that a player must understand whether a safe pass or a higher risk offensive pass is preferred. Sometimes, however, it is better to dribble the ball into space when that ground is given by a defender. Part of the decision making process for a soccer player will be how to strike the ball, i.e., which foot to use to strike the ball, whether to drive the ball straight, chip the ball with backspin to allow the receiving player more time to run onto the ball or trap it, slice the ball with the outside of the foot for pace and curve, or hit the ball with the instep for a lofted opposite curve with a soft bounce. With defenders bearing down, decisions such as these must be made in a matter of seconds. This is unlike many other popular sports: in the NFL, each play starts from a static and equal position, the strategy and decision making once a play starts is limited to only a few positions, and is the result of plays dictated to the quarterback by a coach through microphone headsets. In soccer, the coach is often too far away to make a real impact on the game, and every player must be able to determine what to be doing--even if they do not have the ball or are on the other side of the field.
Equal parts speed, power, and skill. Soccer does have skill positions, and some players have more specialized roles (such as a center midfielder's ability to send crosses on corner kicks, or a striker's ability to hit accurate shots from free kicks). However, each player must have a similar amount of speed, power, and skill. A defender in soccer must have the same footwork and coordination as a cornerback in football. This includes the ability to back-pedal and keep an offensive player in front while also being able to turn around and sprint with closing speed to catch an offensive player after that player makes a move past them. An offensive player must have the power to explode for a 10-20 yard sprint, but have the skill to stop or cut the ball in various directions--in response to the defensive player's movements! After the offensive player's expenditure of energy to sprint past a defender and the skill to cut or stop the ball mid-sprint, the forward must then (in full stride and with a defender throwing their legs at the forward's) strike the ball toward the goal. According to Accredited Online Colleges, a soccer player can strike a soccer ball with incredible power, regularly touching 80 mph, and often touching between 90-100 mph.
To put it in perspective, playing soccer is akin to a basketball player dribbling while standing on their hands for 90 minutes, be thinking constantly, all the while retaining the power to propell the ball as fast as an MLB pitcher. This is pretty amazing.
Posted by TheFlatBackFour at 5:43 PM
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