• Andrea Neil

Underdeveloped Development Part 2

Updated: 6 days ago

If you ask any player what they would like to improve, they will inevitably say something like I would like to become more creative or pass the ball better, or I would like to score more goals or become faster.

In my last blog, I set the groundwork by discussing how football actions are the soccer-specific activities that define the game of football. They include skills like passing, getting open, shooting, pressuring, heading, creating space, pressing, clearing, and dribbling. These football actions are a player’s tools in their toolbox that help them contribute to the overall team objective of winning the game. The development of these tools is very important for every coach to emphasize within their program environment because any team tactic or strategy can be affected by an individual player’s ability to execute these football actions.

What has been very interesting for me to observe over the years is how two players who put in the same number of practice hours, within the same training environment, can turn out with radically different skill levels and abilities to influence the overall team performance.

One profound, but less visible reason, is often what each person is doing or not doing off-the-field of play to support their on-field performances. Elements such as developing their approach towards their own nutrition, maximizing their recovery, improving their mindset, honing their leadership skills, and learning stress management practises.

While every coach probably wishes they had the time, or perhaps even the understanding, to educate their athletes about more of these individual elements, this is not the reality for most clubs and programs. As a result, many aspects needed for an athlete’s holistic development go unlearned and underdeveloped.

Players who work so hard in training, undermine many of their efforts by not considering when they eat, what they eat or even how they eat it. Or what about the player who stays up late, just because? There will be a long-term effect to this, not only to their on-field performances, but also to their mental, emotional, and energetic capacities and well-being. We must learn to ask ourselves, how is it that a person may best work with the fatigue, the frustrations, the fears, and the distractions, that surface not only when we are playing the game itself, but beyond the four lines on the field. What is it that we are really looking for from our sport experience? What from our participation, inspires us as people? What is it that long after it is all said and done as an athlete, or as a coach will we be left with after we have retired?

One of the main reasons that I created Andrea Neil Coaching was that I saw such huge gaps in the development of young athletes today. These areas are opportunities to cultivate many of these integral on and off-field life skills. Skills that will serve them, not only as a player, but more importantly, holistically as a person.

What we cannot see, we cannot change in life. Those people who possess the will and place forth an effort to build their foundation as a person through sport, will begin to see things in a deeper and more meaningful way. When this happens within our lives, there will be a positive impact on not only our on-field performance, but also on our performance in what I call the ‘game of life’.

This is the essence of the holistic coaching/mentoring arm of Andrea Neil Coaching, and it is where I love serving the most.

If this resonates with you, I’d like to invite you to join my mailing list through or join my Instagram, Twitter or Facebook communities. If you'd like to hear about any upcoming offerings or sessions, then please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information below.

Sending light and warmth your direction, wherever you are in this world.


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