Club State cups have come and gone, our run at high School playoffs has ended. One would think that things are easing up and calming down but I am finding that is not the case. There is so much to work out and how we plan now, will have an impact on our next season for both club and high school. Helping this player decide what options are best for her, and that player wants to begin a summer program to improve their strength and game conditioning, summer camps, there are day clinics and of course open season play. It takes a great deal of time and committment that you do not have time for during the normal season.
When a parent remarked to me the other day how I must be glad summer was almost here, I could only smile and say yes. My reasons were probably vastly different from what they were thinking however. For me, the summer represents the time when players are looking ahead, trying to do all that they can to be ready for their next chance to test themselves on the pitch. Which summer camp do I recommend for which player, and there are pick up games to be organized, conditioning sessions, speed and agility sessions, not to mention club sessions will begin in a month. I always tell my players that there are two types of people who play football: soccer players and those that play soccer and if you fit into the 1st category, you won’t have to ask what the difference is, you will know.
I have a player on my younger team that is always the 1st to the pitch so she can get more touches in, she is also the last to leave every single time from training or games. I remarked to her one time about her dedication to the sport and how proud I am of all the work she puts into it. The player’s response is one that I think I will remember for a long time: “coach, I know I have a lot to work on. I want to be a good player one day and I will keep after it till I am. I don’t want to work on something till I get it right, I want to work on it till I don’t get it wrong”. A simple declaration of her intent, purpose and drive, but yet those words carry all of the hopes and desires of her being at this time in her life. You can bet that this player will be present for any and all pick up games, training, or conditioning she can find throughout the summer. This type of dedication is why we coaches put in all of the time in the offseason planning, encouraging and organizing for players.
We speak of champions, and stand out players a good bit. These players put in countless hours to get to where they are, but I bet not a single one of them began their journey by saying to themselves “I want to be a champion”, but instead I feel certain it began with a love of what they were doing and a challenge to themselves to be better each day. They put forth the dedication to test themselves each day and never settled for “that’s good enough”.
So, this summer, with all of the camps, all of the clinics and the open sessions that I will be attending, all of the training sessions and all of the time it takes, I want to leave you, the players with this: “players, I want to be a better coach. I know I have a lot to work on, but I promise to keep after it till I get it sorted out.”
till I see you on the pitch