“10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness” – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
Just how much time do you dedicate to practice?
Did you know that even if you practice for an hour or two a day it will take you nearly 30 years to master the game (according to the 10,000 hour rule)?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of patience.
So how can you improve and master your footballing abilities without years of practice?
Well, there is a way.
There is a method that allows you to ‘hack’ your practice and see huge improvements in your game in a matter of months.
This method can be applied to just about anything, but when used in your football training it will allow you to develop the one skill that will quickly make you a better player than 90% of anyone else on the football pitch.
It is not for everyone:
Don’t misinterpret ‘hack’ for no practice at all. It still requires dedication. If you’re not prepared to practice daily, then this isn’t for you.
But if you’re ready to put in the hard work, you will see a massive pay-off in a matter of months. And to help you along, I’m also going to recommend the one piece of kit that will supercharge your efforts.
So, if you’re ready, let me introduce you to the DiSSS method.
Tango, Golf, Steak and Japanese
Tim Ferris is known for his series of ‘The 4-Hour….’ books, but it’s in his third book, ‘The 4-Hour Chef‘ where he introduces his model for rapid learning – D.S.S.S. He claims to have developed this technique and used it to learn how to dance (he holds the world record for tango), play golf, cook and learn multiple languages (he’s fluent in Spanish, Japanese and German, amongst others) in just a matter of months.
The method is made of 4 steps –
The aim is to break a skill down to its absolute bare elements, identify the one element that is key to the skill then hone this element until you have mastered it. It’s based on Pareto’s Principle (the 80:20 rule) of focusing all of your effort on the 20% that will give you 80% of the results.
Ferris provides an example from his youth, while an exchange student in Japan. Despite knowing nothing of the language and being completely baffled by the script (kana), by focusing on the 32 characters that are the most widely used in Japanese media, he was able to learn conversational Japanese in just 11 months.
So why can’t this method be applied to football?
DiSSS’ing Futsal Football
Ferris’ claim that this method can be applied to any skills got me thinking – how can you use it to ‘hack’ your football practice and boost your abilities quickly?
Let’s run it through the 4 steps and try to find that the 20% on which we should focus our practice to get the best results.
Step 1 – Deconstruction
The first step is to break down and identify the key elements to the process you’re working on.
What technical skills are essential to be a great futsal football player?
Let’s make a list –
- Ball control
You could argue that there are more, but I think this list is pretty comprehensive.
If you want to be a great player, you must have all of these skills in your locker.
Step 2 – Selection
In this next step, we must identify the which one, if practiced, will produce the greatest results.
Take a look through the list above again and choose one of these skills will be most useful.
What did you choose?
If you’re familiar with a few of my earlier posts, you’ll know which one I chose – ball control.
Ball control is at the very heart of futsal football. Without effective control, you don’t stand a chance.
Sure, passing and shooting are integral, but before you can do anything with the ball, you need to receive it and bring it under your control.
And what happens if you mis-control the ball?
You’ll struggle to make a pass or shot and you’ll probably give it away to one of your opponents.
So, improving your ability to control the ball and make it do what you want will have the greatest impact on your game.
Step 3 – Sequencing
You now know what the one skill is that you need to practice to give you the best results in your game.
Now you have to determine how you’re going to practice this.
- What is the process for practicing ball control?
- What is the best sequence in which to practice this?
- How can you measure your improvements and find what works for you?
The ultimate goal is to receive the ball, bring it under your control and move it on (either passing or shooting) as smoothly and with as few touches as possible.
So you need to practice this sequence –
And you need to do this with only 1 or 2 touches
And this is where the hard work comes in – this is the sequence you have to work on every day.
But how exactly do you practice this?
I’ll come to this shortly, but the key message is that you need to practice this single process repeatedly and deliberately.
And you have to measure you progress. Without measuring, you’ll never know if you’re making improvements and you won’t know when to make adjustments to your technique.
Step 4 – Stakes
So far, this is all fairly straightforward, but Ferris isn’t stupid. With this method, he’s identified the natural human failing of not being able to stick to a task.
How many times have you kicked off that weight training programme, never to have finished it? How many healthy eating kicks started on a Monday have fallen by the wayside by the time you get to Friday?
Knowing what to do is one thing – doing it consistently is the real challenge.
This is why step 4 is so important. If you want to see the kind of improvements we’re talking about here, you are going to have to practice your ball control every day. And to make sure that you stick to this commitment, we have to add some form of accountability.
Ferris mentions a website called StikK. It takes your credit card details and will donate your money to a selected charity that you particularly dislike if you fail to do a practice session. The idea being that the threat of the Michael Owen Autobiography Fund getting their hands on your money is enough to keep you motivated to practice or train.
Although I imagine that this would be the perfect motivation for me, you may not be willing to put your hard-earned cash on the line. There are other methods for habit-forming that don’t involve a credit card – check out Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret as a tried and tested method.
Why not post your commitment to your training on the Futsal Football Coach Facebook page, and follow up with a daily update on how your training is progressing? I’ll certainly make sure you get a hard time if you miss any of your sessions!
This isn’t rocket science.
All we’re saying here is that to see big improvements in your game in a short period of time focus on developing one skill, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
The key part that most people miss is which skills to practice and how to practice consistently every day.
You’ve established that developing your ball control will have the biggest impact on your game, but you need to figure how you go about doing it.
Previously, I have suggested that the easiest way to work on this skill is just with a ball and a wall. And I still think this is true – this is the easiest way to practice. If you have no other option, then go for it.
But we’re talking about mastering a skill here – we need the most effective, not easiest, way to practice. So what I’m going to suggest is a piece of kit that will do just this.
The Quick Feet Training Programme
The ‘Quick Feet’ system has been designed to drill right down to the fundamentals of ball control.
By increasing the number of touches you make with the ball in an allotted time, you will boost your muscle memory and make your ball control more automated and instinctive.
And one of the key strengths of this piece of kit is that it will measure your progress. The ‘Coach’ system calls out specific drills as you practice and gives you instant feedback on your performance.
As we saw back when we looked at the third step of DiSSS (Sequencing), measurement is integral to quickly progressing your ball skills.
But I’m not going to recommend this product to just anyone.
Quick Feet have designed this revolutionary system to turn average players into elite athletes. It has been integrated into English Premier League academy training (Manchester City and Newcastle United have their hands on them) and even Jack Wilshere has one in his garden.
If you’re not willing to put in the practice then you are wasting your money. I would suggest you start hitting that ball against the wall.
That being said, I know that you are serious about improvement. You’re here right, on a blog dedicated to improving your football ability? You appreciate what it takes to become a great player and you have already dedicated many years to your football skills.
And the Quick Feet system will take you to the next level.
The system might set you back a few weeks’ worth of pocket money. So I need to be clear here – do not spend your money unless you are sure that you can afford this.
However, to help you out, I have managed to blag a 10% discount just for you as a reader of Futsal Football Coach.
So if this is something that interests you then click the links below for each of the Quick Feet options (I recommend the ‘Coach’ system) – they will automatically give you the 10% discount if you use these links when ordering.
Quick Feet Trainer
Quick Feet Coach
Quick Feet Pro
If you feel like you are just not quite ready to spend the money, then don’t worry – there are other drills that I recommend in this post to help with your ball control skills. They’ll require a little more discipline from you and may not help you to develop quite as quickly, but still provide the required focus on ball control so that you can see a boost in your ability very quickly.
To really master a skill takes time and dedication. However dedicated you might be, you just do not have the time to give over to practice without seeing a visible improvement. If you’re going to work hard and commit yourself to daily practice, you want to see the fruits of your efforts now, not in the next few years.
But with the right type of practice, improvement over a matter of months is possible.
Using the 4 stages of the DiSSS method, we can ‘hack’ our training and take advantage of one core skill to level-up our overall football ability.
And with the right type of equipment, we can take this even further.
Rather than stumbling through a match, getting frustrated with your inconsistent performance, other players will start to comment on how you’re playing, you’ll get noticed by your coach and you’ll establish yourself as the most important player in the team.
Surely that’s worth a bit of pocket money and an hour or so a day of practice?