|cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Mike|
One of the most important things you can do on the soccer field is remain "switched on" while you are on the field, playing with all 11 players at the same time, not 4 players who are switched on and 7 players switched off.
Playing with all 11 is a concept that Bill Belichick, one of the best American football coaches, tries to instill in his players. Perhaps that is one of the reasons he has been so successful, winning numerous championships.
Too often, if we are not in the immediate vicinity of the ball, we tend to relax, stop thinking, stand still and turn off. We start moving and thinking only when the ball is close.
Instead, we need to prepare for what is about to happen and move appropriately.
For example, if you are an outside midfielder away from the ball because the mid on the other side of the field has the ball, you should anticipate what will happen next. If the opposite side mid with the ball receives pressure, turns their hips inside and plays the ball to the back on that side, you should immediately drop back down the line, anticipating that the back is going to pass to the center back and the ball is going to switch fields to you.
Another example: you are an outside forward and the forward on the opposite side gets the ball. You should anticipate an early cross and be in a position to receive it. If a ball isn't crossed early, get in the box and anticipate a later cross.
Thinking ahead is the key to success in this game. Always be switched on, moving constantly and anticipating. We must play with 11 in order to achieve the level of success that we want to achieve.