Pretty much sums up the past 2 months. High School season is in full swing now and everyone has been working to get their respective programs in shape. A few seasons ago, we identified some areas we needed to address in our program so that we could in a very methodical manner, grow our program. One of those was to get into the middle schools that feed our high school and have better interaction with those students that might have an interest in our girls soccer program. Well, try outs came and we were overwhelmed with the turn out. We had 48 girls come out to our JV try-outs this season, 25 of them were 7th graders (and 1st time soccer hopefuls).
I guess sometimes you need to be careful of what you wish for! Now we were faced with a bit of a crossroads; we certainly could’ve taken the better players and given us a good chance of success this season, but at the expense of those younger players who put their anxiety in check and came out for the 1st time. What message would we be sending back to the other middle schoolers? What would our identity be if we went down that road? In the end, we decided to go with 2 squads, one is being developed and prepped for V level play sooner than the other squad.
Working with 2 sides with very different levels of play has its own challenges and creates its own difficulties from time to time. Assuring that the training is relevant to the level of play, making sure that we are tracking each player’s progress and keeping every one connected daily are just a few. Game days are another; whichever side is left at home to train with assistants needs to feel that they are just as important as the side the coach is traveling with. Then there is the communication aspect with over 40 people to keep updated, sometimes email just does not make it in time, but who has time to make 40 phone calls to update?
The season moves so fast, we have two weeks to prep before we are playing and with so many new players to the sport, things like the concepts of play, movement on and off of the ball, and nuances of play must take a backseat almost to just how to move the ball or receiving the ball. We have found that when we are doing our planning sessions, it is easier to set weekly objectives and work back from there. We have been able to move players around within the drills to create level playing fields to help assure forward progress for the players.
Spring is always a busy time and spring means high school soccer. For most players that means 6 years at the most to be involved playing in front of their friends, showing their parents what they have learned, and making a connection with their team mates that they will remember for life. 6 years “ain’t got time for that” ? Somehow I always make time for that, it is just a blink of the eye and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
till I see you on the pitch