Learning to be a team by working together
Hi, this is Jared again. My Mom wanted me address teamwork in our practices here at the Italian Soccer School (AIC).
From my first training with Bruno, he had the three of us moving in step with each other. We would each take large steps to a ball and then dribble it to a cone and then dribble it back to a center line. We had to be in perfect time with each other. (Note from Jared's Mom - The Italian Soccer School, AIC has only accepted three boys into their year-round program this year.)
Even from the first day, if one of us was ahead or behind of the others he would be repeating to us to keep in time. We worked on repeating basic drills and movements in time with each other until we could easily move in coordination with each other.
Also at home some of my teammates didn't always pass. They were more interested in taking the shot to try and score even if someone else was open. A few of my teammates had told me they didn't want to pass because they might not get the ball back and be able to take a shot.
Here in Italy, we work together as a team. Dribbling and creativity are encouraged, but the coaches also want us to pass to our teammates. The coach for the team I am with is Luca Borghi. He stresses teamwork.
Also in the US even though our coaches always said we were supposed to work as a team, the training is very competitive. We were timed racing each other and measured against each other in different courses, the yoyo and other things.
I have had measurements taken since being in Italy, but here the only person I am measured against is myself. Bruno creates workout plans for us and we train at the gym, along with our soccer training. We joke with each other and are all competitive, but there's a difference in the way it feels.
Italy vs US Teamwork - Mom's Perspective
I was fortunate enough to watch Jared's first practice session with Bruno. The emphasis that Bruno placed on the player's moving in step seemed distinctly unlike the teamwork building practices I was used to watching in the states. If the boys were at all out of sync, Bruno would call out "Together, Together".
This is not meant to suggest that the boys are taught to play as robots by any means. Rather, I think the goal is for them to become so aware of one another and their movements that they instinctively follow and adjust their own movements in accord. This understanding of each other as an extension of theirselves - as the team results in them being better able to anticipate what each other will do.
My son has played on elite teams; however, there were always been players whose whose passes were consistently short or long. The boys either did not understand how to anticipate each others speed and drop the ball accordingly or they didn't have the skill necessary to do so.
The young men in Jared's group and on the team he is playing with seem to have a much better understanding and anticipation of how and where each other will move on the field.
In my opinion, Italians seem to celebrate cohesiveness as a team in a way we do not. The players are encouraged to socialize together and build friendships. Despite my son being fifteen and playing in a team of 17 - 21 yr olds, he feels they have been very welcoming to him. Teamwork in Italy seems to mean doing what is best for the team.
Click on the link to learn more about the Italian Soccer School AIC.