Giovanni “Gio” Reyna at Borussia Dortmund

Discussion in 'Yanks Abroad' started by jond, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    There are attributes that don't change between 12 and 21. One of those is brains. You're either born with them, or you're not.

    Problem is when the system is setup in such a way that it values the most, during the developmental years, exactly those traits that can be misjudged in teens: strength, size, speed.

    A boy hitting puberty at 12 will be the biggest, fastest, strongest at 15. But, then, the late-bloomers reach and surpass him at around 20. But, if by then the system has pushed them aside, well, it's too late: they are stuck with a bunch of 21 year olds who are no longer any bigger, any stronger, any faster than their mates, and are completely mediocre in all other aspects.
     
  2. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    I would argue that soccer brains, especially in countries like the US where some players don't "learn at daddy/moms/uncles/aunts knee" as much as some other countries, can improve tremendously from 12-19.

    There is a reason there are so many 2nd gen pros, they start learning the game very early. But for the rest of the unwashed, solid tactical coaching and proper instruction in your early teens can make a legit difference.

    A good soccer brain is not something one is "born with." It is, however, developed throughout a player's life, starting very early.
     
  3. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    I never said "soccer IQ" but intelligence in general. That you're a smart kid doesn't mean you'll be a smart soccer player, but if you're dumber than a box of rocks chances are you'll never have the sort of mental acuity to adapt to the rival in front of you in-game.
     
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  4. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    Would be interesting to study, and definitions of "smart" are pretty fluid, but in terms of "traditional" IQ/testing, I wonder where your average "top 10 league" pro falls on the scale.

    If only transfer market reported IQs.
     
  5. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    It's fairly easy to notice. Intelligence is all about problem-solving abilities. Not tests, gosh. To do well on a test you just need to have a good idea beforehand of what's on the test, and prepare for it. As for education, any fool can get a PhD if dedicated enough.

    Intelligence is about being faced with a novel situation and adapting to it in a minute. Whether it's an operating system you have never used or a team defending in such a way that all the plans are not working, deep down it's always the same: you're faced with a problem, and if the brain is good, you'll find a no-harm solution quickly.
     
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  6. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

    Feb 1, 2005
    Time's Arrow
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That’s one kind of intelligence. There are others- things like spatial awareness intelligence, hand/eye/foot/body coordination intelligence (its all controlled by the brain), etc.
     
  7. dougtee

    dougtee Member+

    Feb 7, 2007
    people who are 'dumber than a box of rocks' could probably never explain a single aspect of what they did that made them successful as a professional athlete, though they couldve been among the most transcendent athletes in their sports. also easy to confuse a total obsession with one kind of intelligence at the expense of all others as not having any kind of intelligence.
     
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  8. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    I guess if your definition of intelligence is "being good at soccer" then yeah, folks good at soccer are likely to meet your definition of intelligent...

    And the "It's obvious, I know it when I see it" intelligence definition is always... suspect?

    I mean, it's hard to argue Gazza or Maradonna are particularly brilliant problem solvers off a soccer field.
     
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  9. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    They all come to solving problems. Spacial intelligence = solving problems like finding a route to hunt that deer. Math/language intelligence = finding the right symbols to communicate an idea, a problem we all face all the time online. And so on.

    Even though the modern definition is all about "ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills," you need the complement of that phrase: apply to what? The answer is, solving a problem facing you.

    For a soccer player, the "problem" facing him is the other team. Even if the coach is a genius, if the guys cannot adapt in-game, there's little hope. Check out Bielsa's Leeds: a team that plays pretty soccer, but with second-rate players who, when they cannot find the way, get stumped. There's only so much the coach can do, even if he studies each rival for 200 hours.

    That's something Reyna's dad had: he was a fairly smart player. Only 5'8" and never particularly fast, nor a great stamina guy, but he could adapt.

    Since the turn of the millennium though, for whatever reason, the US system has focused more and more on big, strong, fast, and winning all the kiddie games. So the players that move along are the ones who hit puberty earlier: bigger, stronger and faster until at around 21 boom, they hit the wall and now the other teams have guys just as big, strong, and fast, but since they were selected for their brains, they're smarter.

    And we're screwed.
     
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  10. LouisianaViking07/09

    Aug 15, 2009
    Do you mean by sports teams or do you mean ranking overall among German cities?
     
  11. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

    Feb 1, 2005
    Time's Arrow
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes- linguistic ability is just one kind of intellect.
     
  12. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

    Feb 1, 2005
    Time's Arrow
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You and I are just talking terminology. Bottom line is you are correct- winning teams/programs develop the athletes who also understand the game (with various forms of intellect).

    It involves gambled both ways, though. You can pick a lot of “smart” runts and, if they don’t actually develop athletic ability, they won’t keep up. Where I think established powers best us is they keep the net cast as wide as possible as long as possible. They have the infrastructure to keep kids in the sport longer (for late bloomers) and also to teach the right lessons early (for the more pure athletes, to see if it actually sticks between their ears).
     
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  13. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    Much of athletic problem solving that occurs in the moment is only really done successfully when it is subconscious. I've seen both traditionally dumb and smart people be able to subconsciously process a situation and find the right answer quickly.

    And a lot of it comes down to pattern recognition and muscle memory. And a lot of that is reps. Genetics play a role in both the head portion and the execution physically. But to be able to process and react to the whole field at professional speeds requires some gene but is also highly boosted by simply playing and being those situations.

    I think the US has a skill gap, in part because our players don't start early enough and they don't do enough informal play.

    And I think where the US has a tactical gap, it's because the players simply don't get the same amount of play time as other countries against players that can force them to solve problems. Some of that may be competition, some of that may be hoofing it to early developed kids and some of it is the lack of playground play.

    I'm sure of it is what you say, but I think there's a lot more to it.

    Then again, I also don't think we're screwed. Because the younger generation seems more tactically aware than we've seen before, and a decent amount are more skilled.
     
  14. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

    Feb 1, 2005
    Time's Arrow
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You can laugh, but I think it is in no small part due to the increased options to watch the best professional soccer on TV (and online).
     
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  15. NietzscheIsDead

    United States
    May 31, 2019
    The modern soccer player in the US is exposed to far more information, including regular viewing access to the top level of performance on the planet. They are much more tactically aware than my ODP generation was (Clint Mathis, Wolff, Bocanegra and those guys were my cohort).

    What they lack that my generation has in spades (and prided themselves on) was the desire to prove themselves and to fight for something greater than themselves.
     
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  16. butters59

    butters59 Member+

    Feb 22, 2013
    Mathis was a soccer genius, he was doing right stuff intuitively.
     
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  17. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    He could not, however, solve the problem of the invisible watch or the basement keggerator.

    (edit: I think the quality of coaching and competition in all this is severely under-valued. There is a reason, I believe, that a Rossi or a Dest, or even a Pulisic or Gio or a JOB back in the day seems more tactically astute than some other players - the level and quality of coaching they get. Whether it's Rossi at Parma at 13, JOB or Dest at Ajax at 15 or 12 respectively... Hazard at Lille, everyone at Ajax or La Maisa... the concentration and focus of certain academy situations develops already good soccer brains, even "old" 15, 16 and 17 year old brains.)
     
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  18. butters59

    butters59 Member+

    Feb 22, 2013
    Soccer genius only.
     
  19. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    Mathis, I think, is kind of the perfect example. Raised, if legend is close to truth, in constant competition with his older brothers who forced him to perform at a higher level, but did not appear to have any spectacular intellect beyond his obvious soccer gifts.
     
  20. taylor

    taylor Member+

    Jun 9, 2000
    Fav team: FC CARL ZEISS JENA
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
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  21. naopon

    naopon Member+

    Jan 2, 2007
    California
    Club:
    Kawasaki Frontale
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  22. Sbey17

    Sbey17 Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    Australia
    Jan 20, 2020
    I have to disagree with this slightly, I think you can try and help to improve players awareness but you cannot teach them to speed up their decision making process or even make better decisions as at I imagine at the top level everything happens in a split second. Also that 'sixth sense' or mental instinct that the top top players seem to have cannot be taught.
     
  23. Sbey17

    Sbey17 Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    Australia
    Jan 20, 2020
    That being said Dortmund is the perfect place for a young player to be. Just judging by the talent that has come through recently the coaching seems to be at an excellent level.
     
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  24. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    Dystopia
    Happy Friday - Dortmund (tied for 4th) host FC Koln (tied for 12th) today.
     
  25. NietzscheIsDead

    United States
    May 31, 2019
    Mathis' intellect was intact. He just didn't like to conform. He was a teammate of some former teammates of mine for some time. The guy was an extremely gifted player and he was no fool. He just wanted to do what he wanted to do, and that's his prerogative. It's his life. Sometimes we forget that these are people with their own lives and interests...they're not just digital FIFA creations for our amusement.

    That's important to remember for players like Gio Reyna as well, who appears to be a Mathis-level soccer mind.
     
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