SS-023 Really Bend It Like Beckham - 2 Disks

David Beckham’s Official Soccer Skills runs about 100 minutes in length and is a series of instructional sets with Beckham demonstrating a skill and discussing its relevance followed by a group of young footballers practicing that skill in repetition. Each demonstration is shown from multiple angles, forward and reverse, and in real-time and slow motion. The target audience is young players (probably 12 and under) who have some experience with the game as well as their parents and coaches. Appropriately, the instructional set begins with an array of first-touch ball control drills. As any footballer will tell you, a good first touch on the ball is just about the most important skill one can possess, and focusing heavily on receiving a pass in a position where you can quickly and effectively play the ball on the second touch is a logical first step.
    Progressing from the first touch, Beckham then goes into some detail on how to create space for yourself immediately after making that touch, demonstrating a few popular and effective misdirection maneuvers like the step over and Cruyff turn. As the students gain some grasp of these concepts, he moves on to various passing skills, focusing on both the two-touch and one-touch pass as well as the classic one-two give-and-go and then returns to individual ball-handling skills forwards would use, such as working with your back to the goal and turning into free space.
    Having covered many aspects of the small-space skills, the instruction opens up a bit with some long-ball drills. Beckham covers elevated crosses to the back post as well as the more difficult low-to-the-ground cutback cross and then gives the students a chance to practice their favorite aspect of the game: finishing goals. A wide range of methods is explored here, from the straight power shot to more aerial moves like the header and the volley. The students also spend some time in 1v1 scenarios where they can utilize some of the ball control skills practiced earlier in the lesson.
    Nearing the end of the session, Becks spends an all-too-brief amount of time on defense. Learning proper defensive techniques is every bit as important as offense, but it isn’t as fun or glamorous, so it is often short-changed. To his credit, Beckham does share a very good 1v1 defensive drill where two players face off -- one with the ball and one mirroring his movements -- and are flanked on the sides by cones spaced about 10 feet apart (slightly closer on the defensive side). This is a speed drill where the offensive player fakes back and forth with the ball until making a definitive move for one of the cones. The defender’s job is to continually anticipate those movements and beat the player to the cone. It’s an excellent drill that helps both players with their footwork.
    Finally, the instruction wraps up by living up to the DVD’s title with some free kick examples. While Beckham doesn’t give too much insight into the specifics of how to “banana” the ball as he’s so famous for doing (something that’s admittedly very difficult to teach), he does set up some effective scenarios and gives the students a chance to bend a ball over and around a virtual wall of defenders.