If you really want to get better at soccer and catch the attention of your coach, the best way to do it is to take what we work on in a training session and come back the next day, week, or even two weeks later and say something like this:

“Coach, you showed us the proper technique for _____ at training and I’ve been practicing it at home. I want to show you how much better I can do it now.” I love to hear and see that, and it would certainly get shared with my Director of Coaching.

It’s funny, I played soccer for some pretty good coaches, but when I think about how I learned to perform a skill well it was always on my own. I remember learning to hit a volley by throwing a ball on the roof of my parents’ house and striking it as it came down. I remember me and my neighbor seeing how many times we could head the ball back and forth in my front yard. I remember learning to do a bicycle kick using a ball of socks on a mattress I dragged into the living room and then against a fence in my best friend’s backyard with each of us tossing the ball to the other. I remember that I used to have a teammate hit me 8-10 crosses before each game to get my timing down for attacking headers — I scored 10 header goals in one season alone in college.

Here’s the lesson: if you really want to develop a skill, you need to work at it far more than the few hours we train each week.