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There are several skills that I believe are fundamentals for any player, at any level. You all know them, stopping, passing, hitting, and right/left drags all coached and focused on till your blue in the face. They are all coached at every level – top to bottom. However, they are all skills that require you to be in possession of the ball BUT what about before we get the ball?

The key skill I see neglected and I find still isn’t as prevalent as it should be at all levels is of course, prescanning – the ability to look around you before receiving the ball. Sound so simple.

So why is prescanning so important…well…check out the video below…2 FANTASTIC GOALS but can you spot the difference?

Did you see it? In the first goal the ball is played into the Irish Midfield, did he prescan? I didnt see it. Lack of prescaning means he doesn’t know that there is 2 Belgian Red Lions hunting their prey. What about the second goal? Just before the ball is played into the Netherland’s Robbert Kemperman he has a little look around and what can he can see – space open to attack, which i’m sure you will agree he does to great affect.

Prescanning helps players to make better decisions and speed up play. Moving a part of the decision making process takes to before a player receives the ball. If players know who or what space is around them, they can make an informed decision on which direction to turn OR even if they should turn at (revert back to first goal above). If decision making is happening earlier this should help speed up your passing and could help improve the speed of your teams attack. It could prevent needless turnovers, especially in dangerous areas and like the video above could help your forward expose space. It’s a skill that should be utilised all over the pitch and you don’t need the ball to be good at it.

Don’t underestimate the power of prescanning – help your players see the bigger picture!!!!

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