The Soccer Kick
The soccer kick is the essence of association football (soccer). This move is performed in every single game of football all over the world, whether it’s professional or amateur. There are two main ways of classifying kicks in soccer; the free kick and kicks in general play. The free kick occurs when a player impedes one of the laws of the game and the opposing team are therefore awarded a ‘free kick’ without the other team touching the ball and must be a certain distance away from the ball and the player who is kicking it.
The kicks in general play are very open skills as there are countless different scenarios when it comes to the soccer pitch. The free kick is somewhat closed because of the ball being stationary on the ground however the distance and environment is still very unpredictable. The soccer kick is a gross motor skill as I will show further in the report almost all the muscle groups will be utilised and activated. The soccer kick is also a serial skill; the run up, striking of the ball and follow through all come into play.
Acquisition of the Skill Cognitive Stage: Cognitive refers to mental processing of information, thinking and understanding. This is the first stage of learning; it is the stage that the learner gains an understanding of the skill. For example: a 9 year old playing their first year of soccer. The learner will experience feelings of disorientation, awkwardness and will encounter errors. The number and magnitude will depend on the difficulty of the skill.
There are many, many activities that can be used for players in the cognitive stage of learning how to kick a soccer ball. The best way to help learners in the cognitive stage to progress through the learning stages is to break up the skills into smaller movements, for example teaching the learner the run up to the ball first and create activities built around that part of the skill, then teaching the actual striking of the ball; keeping their eyes firmly on the ball and their head directed over it and lastly teach the follow through after the strike.
One activity to teach learning soccer players or students is line up 5 balls on a soccer field around 10 yards from the goal mouth, first tell the learner to practice their run up, they can do this anywhere on the field then get them to visual as if they were kicking the ball and finally tell them to follow through with their kick. Once they have a grasp of the movements necessary to complete the skill get them to practice on the real balls. Record their efforts and judge where they can improve for next time.
There are 5 main factors that can affect this learning stage they are: personality, confidence, ability, prior experience and heredity. These 5 all determine how the learners will cope with learning new skills. Personality is a key factor; if a person is not willing to try new and unfamiliar things then they will prove to be a difficult person to teach. An ideal mindset to have when learning a new skill is to not worry about what others think or how long it takes to successfully learn but instead enjoy the experience of learning new skills.
Heredity refers to genetic characteristics inherited from parents; for example: if you’re father or mother was very skilled at a particular sport than you will most likely have some ability in that sport. Confidence is the belief a person has in their own ability and skill set. Confidence is very important if the learner is to continue enjoying learning a new skill. Prior experience refers to the body being able to link other movements or skills in order to assist in learning a skill. Ability is the ease with which an individual is able to perform a movement or skill.
All these factors have an influence on learning skills. Associative Stage Associative means connecting or linking ideas. This is the second stage of skill learning, it is identified by an emphasis on practice. For example: an amateur rugby league player practicing goal kicking at training. The associative stage of learning is stage that the majority of young soccer players around the country will be placed in.
Soccer is a very popular sport in Australia especially in the younger years. The learner may have a few ears of experience up their sleeve and they can therefore progress in their learning of the skills of the game. There will still be some errors by those in the associative stage however they will be less prominent and less often. One of the most popular progressions for learners in the associative stage is learning the skill on their opposite foot. This will prove to be almost twice as hard as the initial learning of the skill for the majority of learners. The activity will be identical to that in cognitive stage however it will most likely take more time because of the use of the non preferred foot.
Factors that will affect learners in this stage of learning will once again be the 5 previously mentioned however as the learner is now in the associative stage they have a greater knowledge of the skill. Confidence is one of the big ones in the associative stage, the learner must feel praise otherwise they will be reluctant to continue. The learner must be surrounded by supporting people to increase their confidence. Ability will have an effect on how long the learner will take to reach this stage and also how long they will take to progress from this learning stage (if ever).
Some learners will move very quickly from cognitive to associative however to progress through to autonomous will take more time and more effort. Personality will also have an influence of this stage, the learner may not be enjoying the sport anymore for any number of reasons or they may have a very confrontational and stubborn personality and they therefore will not be an easy person to teach. Autonomous Stage Autonomous refers to being in full control of actions so they become automatic. For example: a professional tennis player serving a ball in a tournament.
The autonomous stage of learning is stage that the elite athletes will be placed in. This means the learner can automatically perform the skill smoothly, naturally and rarely show any errors. When in this stage the learner can not only perform the skill but can also consider other things that are going on around them, i. e. a professional football player can make a pass with two defenders around them and also have the ability to move into space and receive the ball back while looking for the next pass to make.
A practice that will help an athlete in the autonomous stage to maintain their skill level is a free kick with a goal keeper guarding the goals and defenders forming a wall to aid the goal keeper in keeping the ball away from the goals. This will force the athlete to make decisions that those in the cognitive or associative may not be able to make, whether they shoot for goal or pass and how they will strike the ball to put the right spin or curve on it and where the gaps in defence are to exploit the opposition and hopefully score.
If a learner has progressed through to the autonomous stage of a skill clearly they do have a strong passion for that sport or a raw ability. Their confidence will obviously be high as they will have faith in themselves that will be able to perform and perform well. However this can lead to arrogance. All the factors that influence learners must be in a fine balance for athletes to consistently perform skills at an elite level.
Acquiring skills can be related in all things in life not just on the sporting field, whether it’s social skills or driving skills, educational skills. People are learning all the time, it just depends on the amount of time they spend and the amount of effort they put in to certain skills. With the soccer kick, there are thousands of professional footballers all over the world in the autonomous stage and none of them got there by picking a soccer ball one day and they were instantly talented, they spend hours and hours practicing those skills.