England 1 Brazil 1 – where’s the ‘field sense’?

Yeah, it was a draw. Yawn.

Ah weel, something intelligent for you anyhow on why learning to play footie in the streets makes sporting sense (from current Wired Magazine, Wayne Gretzky-Style ‘Field Sense’ May Be Teachable):

“Learning these skills [field sense] is difficult, however — particularly for older players with established habits. So Farrow is also thinking about how young athletes can develop field sense before their coaches make them believe it’s impossible to acquire. To figure that out, he recently began interviewing elite players about their early life in sports. One factor is backyard games, or what Farrow calls unstructured play. Playing soccer with 30 other kids in a dusty village plot turns out to foster the kind of flexible thinking and acute spatial attention that pays off in high-level competition.

“We should be modeling our programs on that,” Farrow says emphatically. “And what do we do instead? We put children in regimented, very structured programs, where their perceptual abilities are corralled and limited.” Farrow recently made a poster of Wayne Gretzky and gave it to several AIS coaches. The Great One, he points out, spent thousands of hours scrimmaging with friends and neighbors on the homemade rink behind his family’s house.”