Do you remember when most all Americans, coaches included, thought ‘rondo’ meant this:
Now we’re a bit more educated, but still have a long way to go on the rondo front.
Today I want to introduce another topic, that of ‘checking your shoulder‘.
Many have been saying that phrase quite often but, much like the rondo, most are missing a ton of depth and nuance. As a result, we’re not correctly identifying this player attribute.
By far, most players [outside elite pros] you identify as ‘checking their shoulder‘ are doing it to see if there’s pressure nearby. By far, they are not scanning the field to assess what their next decision is – not to mention what 2 or 3 moves into the future could be.
That, my friends, is truly ‘checking your shoulder‘. That’s next level. And that’s what separates special from average. Well, let’s be careful; we’ve also got to consider what level the player is exhibiting this at. Context matters.
Learning to ID these players who are next level takes a ton of experience. But at least now we’re aware there’s more to it than witnessing a simple head swivel.
Below is a video to help illustrate.
The Player: Carlos (Charly) Anguiano (b. 9/28/2000)
The Comp Level: Highest global club (vs FC Barcelona)
p.s. Oh … and good luck with analytics, on its own, capturing this. Topic for another day. 🙂
Ali Ahmad says
Hey Coach Kleiban, in depth analysis of one player on your own team are hard to capture, not just with the ball but without it. It’s easy to record a game but to truly break it down player by player is what makes you a great coach. Before the end of the article I was asking myself how did you do that, till I read the last line “p.s. Oh … and good luck with analytics, on its own, capturing this. Topic for another day.”……..this truly made me laugh as many coaches, trainers won’t even bother with this aspect of the game.
As I’ve decided to assist at my club this year, all I do is record the game’s & scrimmages to help Boys individually on what they need to work on during practice.
BTW…..thank you for another article so quickly after the last one, keeps my voracious appetite for learning growing.
Man this is so good. Thank you for making it, Gary….
…and after my comments from the most recent article last week, then following along in a recent Twitter conversation just this weekend with the many many important games, guess I’m gonna have to continue to deal with the relentless message of ‘this can and simply has to be better.’
Ben Edwards says
Great illustration, at 30 seconds in he has 4 opponents converging on him but he’s able to calmly play out of it because he checked both shoulders and knew who was where. Not only that he ran into the space that he spotted after checking so that gave him time to make a play. Thanks for sharing, will definitely use as an example!