SoccerU and Blast The Ball Review
I have to admit, when I first stumbled upon the SoccerU and Blast The Ball DVD-series I was a bit sceptical. An American, “coach V“, who claims most people go about practicing soccer drills entirely the wrong way. What does he know!? (You know we Europeans like to think we have a leg up when it comes to “our kind of football”).
I am glad to report that my initial impression wasn’t only unwarranted, I was absolutely wrong. SoccerU is a revolutionary approach to soccer training.
Master the Skill – NOT The Drill
If you’ve ever participated in or watched a soccer practice at any level, you’ve no doubt experienced what looks like exercises for passing, shooting, one-on-one dribbling skills, set pieces and so on.
But how many players have actually received training in all the different SKILLS required to perform these drills?
If you think about even the most simple of drills it will likely involve skills like passing, receiving, moving, looking, dribbling and kicking. And in my experience most youth soccer coaches seem to think that the best way to learn these skills is to practice the drills again and again. With little or no instruction on the technical skills involved.
“You learn the game of soccer by playing the game”, as it were. Or “the game is the best teacher”.
Nothing could be more wrong! Or at the very least it is not the whole story.
Because practice doesn’t make perfect – it makes permanent. Just “doing” something over and over does NOT necessarily make you better at it. If you never get to learn the appropriate skills in the first place, chances are you will learn many bad habits and inferior technique instead. You’ll always hit the field looking clumsy and unable to carry out what your team strategy requires you to do.
If you think this is unusual, or mostly “a lack of talent” – you’d be wrong.
In fact, there are many “advanced” soccer players that can’t perform all the different types of kicks correctly. And if they can, they often can’t perform them with both feet.
Enter SoccerU and Blast The Ball – truly a university of soccer SKILLS if there ever was one!
SoccerU isn’t just yet another collection of soccer drills. You don’t need to buy any DVDs for that, you can find a huge amount online for free.
No, SoccerU actually breaks things down and teach you the SKILLS needed to become a great soccer player.
It starts from simple ball control exercises, many of which you can (and should!) practice virtually anytime and anywhere in your spare time. It then moves on to dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting and so on. In short, this is over 11 HOURS of instruction on every soccer skill you need to master.
See the full SoccerU course outline here, and watch the video demonstration below.
The beauty of coach V’s approach is that he doesn’t just tell you to “run down the sideline and hit a crossing pass in to the penalty area”.
He teaches you, thoroughly and step-by-step, how you speed dribble with the ball, and how you regain control over the ball before finally showing you how to approach the ball and exactly how to strike it with your foot in order to make the ball fly perfectly in the height and direction you want.
But Isn’t Learning Technique Boring
While this might sound all technical and boring from the onset, it is anything but. While he does sometimes mention the theory behind it, like what physics are involved in making the ball curl for example, everything is very hands on.
You’ll get to see exactly how to learn the proper technique yourself and/or how to teach it effectively to someone else. And another thing I really like is that all of this isn’t just demonstrated by players who have perfected all of the skills.
You actually get to see coach V teaching all the different aspects of soccer technique to players of various ages and skill levels – from beginning 10 year olds all the way up to Division 1 college players.
This may seem like an unimportant detail at first, but it actually make all the difference. Simply watching great players perform soccer skills does very little for development. If you are a coach you need to watch all ages and skill levels being taught. Then you will learn how to teach these skills.
It will always be up to you as the coach to keep soccer practice fun for your youth player. We all know how important this is. But personally I have found that even the youngest players really don’t mind learning how to kick the ball correctly.
In fact, they will be much happier to practice harder if they see some progress from all these exercises – which they WILL when you teach them SoccerU style.
It’s not like you are going to practice the same formal technique hour upon hour. Always start by teaching the correct technique, see that the kids have understood and then show them how to take what they just learned and use it in engaging drills.
How To Really Blast The Ball
While SoccerU teaches just about every soccer skill there is, Blast The Ball contains more detailed information and training for shooting. As the whole point of the game of soccer is to score goals, I highly suggest you get both SoccerU and Blast The Ball.
If you buy them together you also get the best deal.
It is probably not the cheapest set of soccer DVD’s you can buy, but considering that you get about 12 hours of quality instruction on soccer technique – from basic to advanced – it is definitely well worth the money.
Who Is This For?
So who should buy a copy of SoccerU and Blast The Ball. Well, just about everyone who is involved with soccer: players, coaches and parents – of all levels.
While it is true that the best time to learn correct soccer technique is when you are a young player, it is never too late to improve you skills. The SoccerU series have even made ME feel like somewhat of a late bloomer – and I am well past 30!
If you have advancing youth players who seem to get worse over time, it may be that you have been too focused on other aspects, like physical conditioning and winning games.
Don’t get me wrong, team spirit and conditioning are important, but you may just find that what SoccerU has to offer is the missing link for continued growth. For you personally and for your entire soccer team.
I know I would have wanted a coach who taught soccer technique like SoccerU and “coach V” when I was a young player. I still probably wouldn’t have become a professional player – that would be a ridiculous claim to make – but it sure would have saved me from a lot of frustration and countless embarrassingly inaccurate soccer kicks.