There is so much to say about this that I am not sure I can fit this into one post... so I am calling this part 1. Also, I am admitting to being totally biased here, I am going to come right out and say that I do not support development academy's. I fundamentally disagree with their premise, something I plan to explain in detail over the course of these blog posts.
These are by far the toughest decisions I make as coach; who starts, who plays, for how long and where.
In high school soccer, I coach the highest and most competitive level 90% of American kids will play. As such playing time is not going to be divided up evenly, nor does it have to be according to Dr. Nicole Lavoi, Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports However...
Every week, every game the starting 11 is up for grabs. If you want to start, get lots of playing time and play the position you want, you better meet three criteria to even be considered. First, physically show up to practice. If you don't come to practice, even for a good reasons, you miss the lessons on how I want you to play as a team, therefore you may not play. Second, when you show up, be there mentally also, with the right attitude. If you are physically there but mentally somewhere else, it shows in how you practice. It is painful to watch a group of players "practice" who aren't really practicing. Third, be a skillful player. Even if you attend everything and are mentally fully engaged you must be more skillful than the other players who have met the same criteria.
A few weeks ago. A parent got angry with me. They didn't like the position I was playing their child on the field. They thought he was a great forward, and perhaps he is, but I thought he was a better defender. Perhaps most importantly, a defender was what the TEAM needed. Here is a great article I wanted to share. I hope you will take the time to read it, because it is really good. I have copied the article below for those too lazy to use the link. Thanks to my assistant coach who sent me the link.
"I had a parent email me last week seeking advice for how to help her 10 year old son deal with the fact that the coach is playing him as a defender, whereas he’s usually played as a forward. It wasn’t clear to me from her email if the issue was hers or her son’s, so I (hopefully subtly) encouraged her to figure that out first.
I then tried to get the point across to the parent that BEING A TEAMMATE is being a member of a team and doing what is needed – being on the bench, being the goalkeeper, being the goal scorer, being the defender that stops the other team from scoring, or the weak sided midfielder that runs up and down the field all day and rarely receives the ball.
You get my point. Being on a team means you do what the team needs from you at that moment. Being a teammate means you play your heart out in whatever position you happen to be assigned. Just like a chess match, each position is essential to the proper performance of the team.
I get this. Or at least I thought I did.
“The way the game is educated, told, driven, we are still far away from real soccer nations,” Klinsmann told the Post. “The biggest educational problem is people think it's a coaches' game in the United States. It's not. It's a players' game.
“There's too much emphasis on telling people what to do.”
Crossing the ball is an essential part of the game. There are 4 different types of crosses and 3 different places to make crosses from.
These crosses are sent from before the 18 yard box....
With the rise of social media, so too has come the rise of too much information. One of the first things college coaches do when considering a new recruit is check out your Facebook or Twitter account. Don't believe me? Read below. (You can find the original story here)
If you’ve ever hung around a group of millennials, you know that we use some combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, SnapChat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. And if you’ve never hung around a group of millennials, you probably know it anyway.
But did you know that these social networking sites have the power to make-or-break peoples’ careers, like athletics scholarships and full-time jobs?
As a young man there were several great people who helped me develop and grow. I can think of coaches, teachers and church youth leaders that all had positive impacts on my life. If I can, in some small way, have the same impact on the lives of those I coach, teach or mentor, I will feel like a huge success.
Being remembered at the time of big events in peoples lives is probably one of the best ways my former players, students, and youth can show their appreciation. I recently got these two wedding announcements/invitations in the mail and I am so happy for both of them. Staci Sokolski played for me at McKeel for 5 years and recently contacted my about helping with fund raising this next season. Caroline McKendrick played for me one season at LFC, her and her family have been family friends for years. These two ladies are such great people, devout in their faith, hard working in their effort and fun to be around. I am so grateful to receive these announcements in the mail and proud of these girls for the decisions they are making.
At some point in your soccer career you are going to get angry or frustrated with your coach, team, or situation. It could be for any reason; maybe you think the they are not good, maybe you don't like the position the coach is playing you, maybe you aren't playing as much as you would like, maybe you didn't make the team you wanted, maybe... well, you get the idea. At some point you will be unhappy about something.
In situations like this I encourage players and parents to think about why they are playing soccer in the first place. What do you want from the game? Are you playing for fun or do you have some competitive aspirations like making the varsity team, earning a starting position or post high school play? Knowing why you are playing club, high school or recreational soccer will help you keep a healthy perspective on what's going on on the field or in practice.