By John Cartwright
‘PREPARING TO REACT’. What on earth does that mean? Well, its’s the best way I can describe (explain) the brilliance of LIONEL MESSI.
MESSI, is playing and scoring goals in senior football as he did throughout his development years. From the streets in Argentina, to the greatest Stadiums in the World, he has produced performances of outstanding individual and team quality with seemingly incredible regularity.
How has he managed to reproduce the stunning ability to recognize and react to varied situations so successfully and consistently during his playing career? I have watched MESSI, both on TV and in live action and I have come to the conclusion that his playing style reaffirms the saying— ‘Practice Makes Perfect’.
MESSI, has practiced/played the game in accordance with the game’s competitive, playing requirements. This constant PRACTICAL/REALISM has created situations that have become recognizable to him and he has learned how to respond to them accordingly.
His movements, possession and responses are founded on recognition of situations and he can actually prepare himself in advance to produce the necessary skills for successful outcomes.
I have always recommended the use of REALISTIC PRACTICE and have stated so often over the years that PRACTICE what you PLAY and PLAY what you PRACTICE, is the correct formula (Coaching method) for the development of players. Messi, in my opinion, is the finest example of this development model. I would also like to praise those who have been close to him throughout his playing life, for they have allowed him to develop a playing mindset that is unique in the game.
Had MESSI, come through a learning period where ‘Dogma’ and restraints are too freely applied he would have become just another constrained and frustrated player who had the ability but was unable to reproduce it.