It’s time to shine the spotlight on someone who is instrumental in your development and growth: your club coach. With recruiting on the brain and your focus on the future - college visits, ACT scores, ID camps, and your NCAA goals - it can be easy to overlook the present. Here are just a few examples of the value that your club coach brings to the table. After reading, perhaps you’ll even thank them instead of complaining during sprint work!
They Control the Tempo
Your club coach is in charge of ensuring that your training sessions are intense. You should be working hard throughout a session, both mentally and physically. A fine balance of technical work, tactical strategies, conditioning, and fun is challenging to plan! Quality club coaches prepare each training session with specific goals in mind and account for every minute on the pitch. This is all to ensure that you continue to improve as a player so that you can reach your full potential.
Good coaches communicate with players, parents and college coaches. You should feel comfortable approaching your coach to discuss the steps you can take to further your game. Coaches are educators of the game; they want you to ask questions and do the extra work! Asking for “soccer homework” shows coaches you’re invested and passionate – two qualities they will be sure to mention with they discuss you with college coaches. With the NCAA ramping up restrictions on recruiting conversations, college programs will look to club coaches to learn more about a player and determine if they have what it takes to contribute to and succeed in their programs.
They Challenge You
If you watch collegiate soccer consistently (and you should!), you’ll notice that there are rarely any blow-outs. There is no “easy” game in the NCAA. Grinding out two 90+ minute games a week, plus team practices, individual sessions, and strength and conditioning workouts challenges players mentally and physically. To prepare you, your club coach works to ensure that your team faces a difficult opponent at least once a week. If your particular division doesn’t have stiff competition, then your coach should be finding other ways to challenge the team: playing a boys’ squad, facing an older age bracket, and even incorporating college fitness tests into your sessions. Pushing you out of your comfort zone will probably lead to some losses and frustrations, but it’s in your best interest in the long run.
Having goals and forward vision is important, but it is just as important to be in the moment. You’ll only reach your full soccer potential if you dedicate the time and consistently put in your best effort every single day. Your club coach works to provide opportunities for growth and learning in the present moment so you can get to where you want to go in the future. Make sure to recognize all they bring to the table and take full advantage of their soccer knowledge.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.