A football academy which believes it has the development of young talent boxed off has arrived in the East Dunbartonshire area.
Box Soccer Training was originally the brainchild of former Hearts manager Ian Cathro who set up the programme while he was a youth coach at Dundee United, developing the likes of Ryan Gauld, John Souttar and Scott Fraser.
After Cathro’s managerial career took off the company was bought over by former Hearts and Celtic star John Colquhoun who employs Hearts youth coach Darren Murray as his head of coaching.
It now operates in various parts of Scotland on a franchise system with the East Dunbartonshire operation under the control of Tony McMinn, a fully qualified coach who is also assistant manager at East Fife.
The development of skills through repetition and the ability to apply them in the sometimes confined spaces of a match situation lies at the heart of the academy’s philosophy.
Watch the likes of Barcelona for any length of time and you’re struck by the ability of players to move the ball quickly to a team-mate despite opposition attempts to close them down.
No matter how fit a player may be, nothing moves about a pitch quicker than the ball.
Being able to find a team-mate quickly with single first touch - and having the game awareness to know where you are going to play the ball before it arrives - can give you a huge advantage.
Add in the anticipation which allows you to gain or regain possession quickly by winning second balls and it’s not hard to see what’s required to succeed in the modern game.
Like like any sport, practice makes perfect and the more touches of a ball a player gets the quicker he will develop the required attributes.
And, as Tony McMinn explained, Box Soccer drills operate is a relatively confined space to allow youngsters to do exactly that.
Tony explained: “The detail that Ian Cathro and now Darren Murray have put into the programme is unbelievable.
“In terms of receiving on the correct foot, different types of turns and passes, strikes - it’s frightening..
“Everything happens within this 24 by 24 box and for club teams that’s perfect because that might be the area they get to train in.
“A session might start off with a lot of repetition and not a lot of pressure and by the end of it there’s pressure coming from everywhere.
“You’re then practising that skill under pressure - and realistic pressure, maybe a 1 v 1 and there’s a recovering defender behind making it a 1 v 2.
“It’s the repetition first of all and then we put it across in terms of how it transmits to a pattern or a specific position within the game. It makes it that wee bit different.”
Box Soccer operates on a Monday night at Kirkintilloch High and Friday night at Turnbull High, both from 6.30 to 7.30pm.
For more information visit www.boxsoccertraining.com or the Box Soccer Training - East Dunbartonshire page on Facebook.