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Coordination Skills in Football

Maximising Sports Performance »

Many practitioners refer to fit training exercises with coordination skills. Most people may think of pictures of soccer players going through an "agility ladder" or rings and cones.

But what do we really train?

Ηow could we really help our athletes to increase their overall abilities by directly focusing on the specialization of motor patterns that the athlete will be called to do in the game?

How could we develop brain signals with a better motor result?

Coordination Skills in Football

Maximising Sports Performance »

Motor skills are refered into 2 categories which interact:

Physical abilities

1. Strength

2. Speed

3. Endurance

(According to many sports scientists, flexibility is included as one of the main physical abilities)

Coordination skills

1. Ability to kinesthetic differentiation

adaptation of motion in space and time based on kinesthetic information

2. Ability to balance

maintaining body position and recovery in case of loss (static / dynamic)

3. Ability to orient in space

determining the position and movement of the body in time and space related to a predetermined field of action

4. Rhythmic ability

tone management during a movement (tempo / frequency)

5. Complex reaction ability

rapid motor response to external stimuli (visual / auditory)

Coordination Skills in Football

Maximising Sports Performance »

Analyze the above parameters in detail in your exercises and understand exactly what your athlete is called to perform.


In field training , with coordination skills, we include some if not all the above parameters by "copying" the motor patterns performed by the athletes during the competition. In many cases we can even simulate the energy systems of the game through our exercises.So if we have tennis athletes, the training of coordination skills is quite different from the training of football players.

The main goal of practitioners and sport scientists is to determine the dominant role of coordination skills in different sports.

These in turn play an important role in the overall improvement of the footballer's performance with the accuracy and economy of movements in constantly changing conditions. The ability to differentiate kinetic variables with the accuracy of the assessment where the position of the body changes in time and space. The speed and accuracy of movements with the expected and unexpected changes of stimuli, (with the whole body or parts including the speed of reaction to the stimulus).

Coordination Skills in Football

Maximising Sports Performance »

So imagine a soccer player during a match where he has to analyze team placement data, opponents placement and ball position depending his own body. At that moment he will be called upon to respond to an off-balance stimulus by changing direction, quickly activating torso and limb motor units, to achieve a full-precision football movement at the execution speed required by the occasion. The success of the outcome will create the performance improvement profile we aim at by training the partial parameters.

Soccer training by its very nature contains a series of stimuli of coordinative skills and practitioners should choose carefully

a) When coordination training stimuli will be included

b) What parameters will be used each time

c) How much load will they receive

So we do coordination skills training?

The main guideline should be the overall improvement of their football performance by calculating the load they receive from the total football training with SSG's, Tactics, Technical based training exercises, etc. The isolated and not planned approach creating random overloading conditions in specific capabilities can in the long run yield in addition to a plateau of improvement, even drive us to opposite results.