While the second nationwide lockdown in England may feel slightly different seven months on from the first, with schools open and professional sport allowed to play on, restrictions to our liberties remain agonisingly challenging.
The suspension of grassroots football across the country has hit amateur players hard, particularly children and young people who rely on their weekly excursions to the local park or astroturf pitch for physical exercise, mental release and social interaction.
While not all those voids can be filled during this period of locked gates and unworn boots, there is one solution that can help. Perfect Play is a football training app developed with and used by the Chelsea FC Academy, providing access to professional standard, world-class coaching for all.
Since launching on iOS in August this year, it has become the most downloaded football training app worldwide. A version for Android users is now available too.
The app’s technical and physical training drills have been taken directly from the club’s youth development programme, enabling the Cobham experience to be directly replicated by footballers of any ability. Innovative performance tracking ensures individuals can monitor their progress across a range of core skills from agility, ball mastery and dribbling to passing, shooting and strength.
‘The technical and physical drills have been taken directly from coaching sessions we run with our younger age groups every week at Cobham,’ explains Sam Page, an Academy coach who has been involved in the app’s development.
‘All our players have had to master these skills as part of their journey through the Academy and the performance tracking allows users to gauge how quickly they are completing an activity or how many repetitions they can complete, which replicates the monitoring of performance that our coaches would do.’
With football locked down again for so many, Perfect Play can be a useful tool in maintaining physical fitness, technical proficiency and motivation. There are over 50 individual drills on the app, as well as multiple progressions within each area, many of which can be completed indoors as the nights draw in and the weather turns ugly.
As a coach, Page found the app particularly useful during the first lockdown as a means of sustaining contact time and engagement with the young players in his group.
‘The most interesting aspect is you can track your progress over time so players can use that as a challenge during this latest four-week lockdown,’ he notes. ‘That might be technical skills, how much stronger or quicker you can become, or how much better your reactions can become over this period.
‘You can track that progress through the app and then hopefully see that come to fruition when you start playing again. Just like Premier League players during the first lockdown, this time can be used to get physically and technically in good shape for the return.’
Launched earlier this year on iOS, and now available on Android as well, Perfect Play is already aiding development for many aspiring footballers with a thirst for self-improvement. For parents and guardians, the app enables them to help children learn while they play and improve their game at home.
Restrictions to normal social interaction have caused concern over mental wellbeing once again this month and, while nothing can replicate the unique camaraderie and sense of togetherness that team sport provides, there are benefits to individual training.
‘Getting yourself out to train consistently on your own is tough and requires resilience,’ adds Page. ‘It’s the sort of thing that can help develop those mental skills which will help you playing football as well, things like focus and concentration that transfer on to the pitch when you return to play.’
In other words, Perfect Play could be the perfect remedy for those difficult lockdown weeks ahead.
Download the app now!
The Perfect Play app is available now on iOS and Android for UK and USA users only. Click the links below to download today!
- Android (UK)
- Android (US)