Ah the offseason – when I get to be a pure spectator/team parent. My two oldest play basketball in the winter to give them a break from soccer and keep active. I enjoy being able to just drop them off at practice!

401e.jpg­At a recent practice, I happened to notice a girls team practicing and all the girls were wearing these strange goggles. They were strange because they had no lenses. Just a fat bottom part just below the eye and a thin upper part. At first I thought they might be some type of facial protection, but it made no sense for all the players to have them. So I asked the coach. Turns out they are a training aid. The bottom part doesn’t sit flush against the skin. Instead, the upper edge pushes out about half an inch from the face just under the bottom of the eye. What this does is block their lower field of vision, forcing ­them to dribble without looking at the ball and keeping their heads up watching the game around them. Even if they look down, they can’t see down well at all. Yet their outward vision is unobstructed.

Wait For It… Do you see what I see?

How awesome would these be for soccer players? On the surface, the training goals between basketball and soccer are very similar – just using your feet instead of your hands. Dribble the ball while looking up so you can see the game taking place and look for lanes, passing opportunities, etc.

Is it just me or would these things be fantastic for training soccer players to keep their heads up during play and improving their confidence dribbling because they don’t have to look down all the time? They would learn to receive passes by judging the approach of the ball to their foot vs. watching it go to their foot. They would dribble without looking down, and hopefully keep their head up more during scrimmages.

I toyed around with various ideas, trying to get my players to look up while dribbling, none of which worked very well. They got a kick out of dribbling with a disc cone on their head trying to keep it there. But they slid off too easily or the kids dribbled too slowly, worried the cone would fall off. But these goggles seem like a fantastic idea for soccer players. They are very inexpensive (about $5 each), so I’m thinking of getting these for my U11 Girls and see how it goes. One of my players is on the team using these, so she’ll be able to tell the girls (hopefully) what they did for her in basketball.

Has anyone tried this out for their soccer players?