Players Discover Autonomy at TOCA

Youth soccer player in TOCA indoor soccer facility

Young soccer players dream of bending the ball like David Beckham or eluding pressure with a quick and sensational first touch in space like Zinedine Zidane. Many of these young players are motivated to emulate their favorite players during regular team training. However, as they approach practice, they realize their coach focuses the entire session on the collective needs of the team.

When a soccer player walks into TOCA Training, each session is customized to the athlete’s specific needs, freeing players to establish and achieve individual goals.

TOCA values the importance of a player’s feeling of autonomy to empower the individual to find their best.

“When team training wasn’t fulfilling my individual needs as a player, I took control of my future,” said TOCA founder and former 15-year professional Eddie Lewis. “I owned the responsibility, and TOCA was born.”

TOCA Training is built around individualized training. At TOCA, the relationship between the player and trainer is pivotal to yield better results and sustain the player’s motivation. In a one-hour session, the trainers are not just running 15 exercises, they are actively engaged with the player through every delivery and touch on the ball. This 1-on-1 nature of training allows for focused attention on the individual player’s skills and needs.

A player has the freedom to enter a TOCA session focusing on improving a weakness or position-specific movements.

“I can tailor my training to a centerback position,” said D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum. “For instance, the machine was playing as a left back that passed to me, I then take a touch and anticipate finding an outside back or center midfielder using the three goals. It’s a great tool to keep me sharp while also building my fitness.”

I thoroughly enjoy TOCA because I can focus on position-specific movements and exercises.

For every session, each player takes ownership in refining his or her training. An athlete has the ability to come to TOCA and work on very specific skills and deliveries they might not otherwise receive in regular practice. This ensures players are active participants in their own training program.

The TOCA experience further provides environments in which the player is allowed to express themselves and develop new skills. It’s vital for a young athlete to be in control of their own decisions and exercises to help grow as a player. However, the TOCA Trainers still provide focused control of the development plan.

“We work hard to make sure each player is engaged, motivated and takes ownership in training rather than being passive recipients,” Lewis said. “Simple feedback such as ‘how did you feel turning with your weak foot in that session? Do you want to run it again?’ involves the player more in his or her session.”

Because TOCA Trainers are more actively involved and understand players’ needs, they are often able to help develop mastery on the ball, and in turn, players have confidence to succeed on the pitch. For example, a forward who wants to master the volley technique can strike hundreds of volleys during a TOCA Session, then take their new skill and successfully apply that in a game-like situation.

TOCA does not merely explain the next exercise, it ensures the player understands the rationale behind it and how it relates to the game. Providing explanation for decisions can better aide athletes in understanding why and ultimately performing at a higher level.

If an athlete struggles during an exercise, our trainers use the solution-focused technique rather than a problem-focused one. This furthers cognitive development and promotes a deeper understanding of the game and absorption of the skill.

The TOCA Trainers know how to get the most out of my kids without sacrificing fun.

This customized training and super-charged learning environments free the athlete to explore and experiment inside the studio and push their comfort zone. TOCA’s mistake-friendly environments allow players the ability to work on their deficient skills. This can further add to intrinsic motivation to learn and achieve at a higher level.

“The TOCA Trainers know how to get the most out of my kids without sacrificing fun,” said Kristina Izumita, mother of three TOCA users. “If a young player is not having fun, they are unlikely to put their best effort into the session. My three children have improved their technical skills and deepened their soccer knowledge resulting in each having a lot more fun on the pitch and deepening a love for the game.”

TOCA’s goal is not only to improve a player’s overall ability but also to focus on what’s important to the player and help boost confidence in the studio and in a variety of environments.

Successful, confident players manage games on their own. By allowing players more ownership in their training, TOCA helps generate intrinsic motivation and empower individuals to take their new skill sets on to the pitch. These players have discovered autonomy at TOCA.