Soccer intelligence is primarily made up of “anticipation” and “decision making” skills. Anticipation necessitates that players read the game and perceive ahead of the action in any particular situation. Decision making necessitates that players select and execute an action based on circumstances in the field of play.
It’s important for coaches to help players develop the ability to execute skills before worrying about the where and when. Focusing entirely on where and when to pass a ball does not matter if the player does not know how to pass a ball.
This refers to a player’s ability to move efficiently and effectively and depends on coordination and muscle memory. Young players must learn how to move and control their body. It takes time and repetition to develop; playing multiple sports can help gain a wider range of physical literacy.
Components of Athleticism:
The components of athleticism required for soccer are: balance, strength, agility, speed, endurance, and flexibility. All 6 of these components carry equal importance and should be harmonious.
Vision & Awareness:
It’s important to emphasize that players need to scan the playing environment repeatedly: head on a swivel, looking around the field, at the ball, at the movements of opponents and teammates, and identifying areas of space that can be exploited or exposed. Training exercises that require a player’s eyes to constantly scan the environment will help increase awareness and soccer intelligence.
Intelligent players are able to identify opportunities to gain an advantage through patterns in play as sequences unfold, for example: 2v1 situations, triangles of support, gaps between defenders, etc. The ability to identify those familiarities enables players to anticipate the likely outcome of events ahead of time.