"If you look for movement performance minimums you have more time for training." - Rodrigo Araya
We don’t forget core fundamentals and the great players build on a great base of core fundamentals, and in the circumstance where you have outliers who don’t have great fundamentals and are still successful then the only advantage you’ll have is to bring your weaker players up to spread the depth and be more consistent so those players can develop – that’s the advantage that most clubs will have.
Rodrigo Araya delivered a Masterclass about implementing a movement philosophy in a professional football club (coming soon). Afterwards, Rod Harris and I dug even deeper - you won't want to miss this - particularly if you're wondering how to justify it to CEO's, heads of high performance, sporting directors, managing directors - they’ll ask you why they should believe you. Watch the video below and skip straight to timestamp 08:20, or read the transcript here.
"In soccer, the game is with the ball. So, the whole time spent playing is a regression from your movement patterns. So you’re never going to reach the hips in the mechanics of absolute speed and acceleration because the ball is taking you to a pattern that is not functional. So we see the difficulties present in the switch, such as in Roger Federer when he switches his grip from forehand to backhand, he doesn’t even know, but the soccer players, they have a hard time because they are with the ball the whole time so we need to teach that, and that is movement skills. And we need to go backwards to teach them what it means to have the hip at 85 or 90 degrees, and for the ankle to be in a particular position to perform the pattern, so for that we need to know how the parts are moving themselves and how they integrate into the brain so they can change when they need to, when they change from passing the ball to running to space, and that is switching the mechanics. And some players don’t know that they don’t have that capability. (15:15). So when they are starting to learn that, they develop it in the mind, and mindset, to change that, and they don’t know they are doing it, then that is when the magic happens. And that will be the ultimate challenge, so they can switch from passing the ball to running really fast in a good manner of movement mechanics to fill an empty space and recover the ball. And it is something you can sometimes see in English Premier League but harder to see in youth mechanics in soccer.
Rodrigo asked for my opinion so I started with reflecting Rod's question to him, about "How do you get that buy-in?"
The answer is two fold: because we will never forget the skills of football because we started this game playing with the ball and we won’t lose the skills. And we probably won’t lose the technical and tactical understanding of the game. But we will often forget the core fundamentals which include movement, mindset, recovery and nutrition. So if you don’t implement a movement philosophy, you’re at a risk of losing the core fundamentals, and then be prepared to answer the question – Convince me why these core fundamentals are so important? And the answer relates to some longevity, but it also relates to the main point – that great players are built from a solid foundation of core fundamentals and they have longevity that repeat those core fundamentals across years. So the answer to the question, Why is a movement philosophy so important at a club that is very skilled at football? The answer is that you’ll always remember how to play football but you’ll probably forget core fundamentals and the great players who play in the game longest respect those core fundamentals and that’s why its important. So eventually they’re going to ask you, “what about the players who don’t respect the core fundamentals who are no longer present?” Someone like LeBron James. I’ve heard a story that he scores 9 on the FMS and you could argue he doesn’t need any corrections because he’s possibly the greatest player of all time because if you just give him the ball he’ll score 40 or 50 points. And he is someone that we would say has movement dysfunction on a movement screen, and we would also say that he is very good at functioning with his dysfunctions – he’s a functional dysfunctional. And he has been able to stay in the game for a long time functioning with that dysfunction. Or he has a 14, 15, or 16 on the FMS which is part of the reason he is able to stay so good so long. Or he’s an outlier and he is one of those people that with all the problems he has, just give him the ball and he’ll shoot from anywhere. The interesting thing about this one outlier who can defy all of the higher risk and still be present in the game is that most organisations don’t have a LeBron James and need to be supported by the depth of players and you need to bring the weaker players up to a higher level and what is important about that is that when you work in a market, like a football league, that is very competitive and your resources are stretched thin, the edge you will have when you can’t spend any more money is to keep your players on the pitch. So the movement philosophy is important because you’re saying, we can’t buy a Ronaldinho, or a Fabinho or a Virgil Van Dijk, so we have to keep our players on the pitch so they can develop their technique and tactics and the least time they spend working on problems, the more time they can spend working with the head coach, and he or she can do things that they want to do.