Since I have taken the backseat to be the Assistant Coach for the Long County All-Star Soccer team, I have learned a lot from the Head Coach. If your team loses, it’s not their fault that they lost. They were only doing what they were taught to do and they played exactly how they practiced. At the end of the regular season, my team did not win 1 single game. I will be the one who takes all the responsibility for an unsuccessful season, if you want to look at it as Wins/Loses; my players were only doing what I taught them. I had certain players that would only show up for game time. They didn’t feel the need to practice. So if we had a specific plan on how we are going to play that day, those players are not on the same sheet as the rest of the team, but I can truthfully say is that I didn’t have a choice. The reason I say that I didn’t have a choice was because it was my players that had experience playing soccer that decided that they didn’t want to show up; but playing for the Recreation Department, you have to be fair and everyone has to be given the right to play. Now that we are going to start our All-Star team push, all that is thrown in the wind.
The fair participation rule doesn’t apply on the All-Star team. If you don’t show that you want to contribute to the team, you can easily be replaced by an Alternate. Before I recommended my girls for the All-Star team, I asked myself and also talked to my wife if I was being fair. She told me that I was the Head Coach and if I felt that they had a chance to compete and contribute to being apart of the All-Star team, then it shouldn’t be a problem, because at the end of the day, I was the Head Coach. Another reason that helped with my decision was the Head Coach for the All-Star team wanted my daughters to play, though it was their first year playing serious soccer. They played when they were 4 & 5 years of age, but at that age, they aren’t really playing for a winner. They want all the players to get a chance to play and have fun. That’s the approach I took as a Head Coach this year. All I cared about was that my players gave me 100% and they had fun. If the players felt they gave 100% and the game was fun for them, then I said I accomplished my goal.
Now looking back on it, I wish I would have taken it a little more serious. I was thinking that no one is getting paid for this so why not let the kids have fun, right? The 3 Coaches of the U12 teams came together and submitted who we thought were the best players on our teams. So again, I asked myself, do I think my girls were better than other players on the team? I can truthfully say yes, because they never gave up and gave 110% every time they stepped on the soccer field. With my 2 daughters on the All-Star team, they are at a disadvantage, because they are smaller and weigh a lot less than some of the players on the All-Star team and that will be the same as we prepare to play other counties. Now that they are on the All-Star team, they are around a group of kids that love playing soccer and they know how to play the game. Being the Assistant Coach, I am able to work specifically with both of my daughters and make sure they understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.
At the end of day, I’m glad that I recommended the girls for the All-Star team, because they are around other good players and they are being taught the right fundamentals of the game. Yes, you can say that I did show a little favoritism, but it’s for their own good, because the Head Coach is focusing on the fundamentals. I know that they might not get the chance to start, but the Head Coach has told me that he would rather have a player that needs help polishing their fundamentals, rather than a player that has it set in his/her mind that the way they were taught to play the game is the right way or are willing to let something else other than school, take second place. Once you are recommended, the player and the parent sign a contract saying that they are willing to adhere to whatever the Head Coach deems necessary. The girls have a lot of potential and they not only practice on the days they are set to practice, but they go out of there way to make sure whatever we went over that day or in a previous practice; to make sure they can do what is asked if them, of course this is done after all their homework is done or during the weekend.
What sucks about our first tournament, it is single elimination. I think we will do fine with the talented players we have. Whether we win our first game or lose it, the girls and the rest of the players on the team are making history. How, you ask? This is the first year that Long County has put a Soccer All-Star team together. There has always been a spot for them, but since Long County didn’t have a strong soccer program, they never filled that slot. Now hopefully the players that live in this county will stop going to neighboring counties to play and will see that Long County is finally taking the soccer program serious and hopefully this will keep the good players playing in their own county. I always thought that there was a “recipe” to win, but there isn’t. There isn’t a special drill that will make your players winners overnight. It’s all about fundamentals and how the players are coached. One thing that I can say that I took from the Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban is “The Process.”
I know that I’ve already talked about The Process in one of my earlier posts, so I will briefly remind those who already know what it is and briefly explain it to those that don’t. In its most basic form, the Process is Nick Saban’s term for concentrating on the steps to success rather than worrying about the end result. Instead of thinking about the scoreboard, think about dominating the man on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage. Instead of thinking about a conference title, think about finishing a ninth rep in the weight room. Instead of thinking about graduating, think about writing a great paper for Intro to Psych. Pretty much all he is saying is worry about the little things and not so much on the end result, because if you are making sure that you do your job and make sure you’ve done all the little things the end result will be what everyone as a team wants and that is success.