Updated: Dec 15, 2020
In observing the great players, sometimes a surprise moment of magic catches your eye. It can be fleeting. At match speed, things happen so fast, your brain has already moved on to the outcome; the cross, the shot, the tackle and the anticipation of what's next.
David Beckham graced the football world with Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, PSG and LA Galaxy in a stellar legendary 20 year football career. He burst into the Manchester United 1st team at just 17 and become an overnight sensation, scoring from 60 yards out from his own half against Wimbledon in 1996. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out on YouTube. He states it as his most memorable goal.
Beckham for me was a wonderful midfield player, with a beautiful ability to see and execute a long range defence cutting, game changing pass. However it was his phenomenal technique in curling, bending a ball with the inside of his foot, wrapping up, over and around the ball that he was to be remembered for. The headline famously forevermore captured in the 2002 movie 'Bend It Like Beckham', a light hearted romantic comedy starring Kiera Knightly playing a young budding football player.
Over the years I have coached players the bending technique Beckham and many great players utilise. In my own playing days it was technique I used successfully to cross and score with. A left footed free kick playing for Leicester City v Leeds Utd at Elland Road one evening under the floodlights, is a special memory I have. Bending the ball up and over the wall into the top right corner, away from the outstretched hand of top goalkeeper John Lukic.
However it is not this skill I think of in coaching players, when I think 'David Beckham'. Rather it is a wonderful technique of buying time on the ball to retain and allow for a forward player to make a run before passing. It is a technique I'd continually see him use to great effect, a subtle, effective turn on the ball.
Beckham when faced by a defender, would dummy to strike the ball long but at the last second, cut/snap the ball across his body with the inside of his passing foot. He'd then draw the defender in close to him as he moved infield, only to repeat the move, cutting the ball back across him, whilst shielding the ball from the defender. The ball returned to where he was originally positioned and then he'd make the pass. The extra couple of seconds gained allowed the attacker further up the pitch to make a run into position. It was a controlled, confident technique.
In coaching young players, it's very important to help build confidence/calmness in the art of retaining the ball in the face of opposition. Manoeuvring the ball, whilst shielding and buying time for support to become available can set you apart as a player. One of the beauties of the game is that nothing stands still for a second, new moves always appear.
I'm delighted to have this terrific skill demonstrated for One2Pro students to learn in module 2 of the One2pro app. It's called 'double inside cut'. Add it to your kit bag of skills.
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