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What is vision Training?

The 5 P's of Vision Training

  • Perceive

  • Process

  • Plan

  • Perform

  • Persist

What does Vision Training do for a player?

By TJ Kostecky / Men's Coach, Bard College

When a team is in possession of the ball, one of the most frustrating parts of playing involves relying on teammates to inform us that we are about to be challenged by one or more defenders when the ball is passed to us. This reliance often gets us in trouble because the information may be at best, inaccurate (when no one is close enough to challenge us) or at worse, too late (the ball has already been intercepted). So, if we ball watch and focus on the ball as a team mate makes the pass, it becomes easy for a defender to step in and intercept the ball. Invariably, we may complain to our teammates, "Why didn't you tell me the defender was there?" Even when teammates shout "MAN ON", we may experience a poor result. For example, when we hear "MAN ON", we may tense up and lose control of the ball or push the panic button and simply kick the ball away.

There is a better way


Some time ago, Len Bilous, co-director of the Vision Training Programs, was watching a pro game at Giant Stadium (NJ). At that time, Franz Beckenbauer, along with Pele and other world class players, was playing for the Cosmos, the glamour team of the North American Soccer League. Franz was known as the "Kaiser", a general on the field. What Len observed most was the consistency with which Beckenbauer received the ball without losing possession and his appearance of calmness under pressure. What seemed to work for Franz was that he would always peek over his shoulder at the instant the pass was initiated by a team mate (at the time the ball was released). In this way, he was able to determine, well in advance of the ball arriving, if and how strongly he would be challenged for the ball.

Scanning the field behind him, Beckenbauer seemed to add time to his game.  Thus he was able to plan ahead (scheme) and take action based on what he had seen.  At times he dribbled and at times he passed, yet he always remained calm.  Coaches and fans proclaimed that he had "great vision".  Players in other sports also seem to possess the quality of "great vision". Sidney Crosby, Steph Curry, are among the best at keeping possession and consistently making spectacular passes to the amazement of fans and teammates alike.  The method of scanning the field used by Beckenbauer became the foundation of Vision Training.

Once the Vision Training skills are learned, players:

  • Become empowered to make the best decisions

  • Recognize opportunities when they present themselves

  • Solve problems quickly and keep possession of the ball

  • Become better at positioning themselves

  • Become better passers of the ball

  • Gain confidence and become more creative

Other benefits of Vision Training include playing more relaxed, allowing for improved ball control.  (When someone or several people are shouting "MAN ON" it is nearly impossible to remain calm, relaxed, and level-headed).

Finally, by seeing the field (scanning before receiving the ball) you gain valuable time (we see things at the speed of light...186,000 miles per second...much faster than the speed of sound, which is only .2 miles per second).

Want to book a coaching course, a training session, or a camp?

To book a Vision Training Soccer Course contact Len Bilous (610) 704-8004 or by email

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