Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: coach, coaching, habits, match days, tactics, time keeping, warm ups
Driving to a match at the beginning of the season I got stuck in some roadworks that made the journey take twice the time it usually does. I made it to the game just in time for a quick chat with the players before they went on.
There are two or three different ways to get to our home ground from where I live, and for years I’d gone the same way. But those roadworks were going nowhere fast – it would be months of holdups unless I changed the way I went.
So I started taking a new route to the ground. Yes, one week I forgot and went the old way and got snarled up in traffic, but gradually I got used to the new route.
I had a laugh to myself last weekend then when, even though the roadworks have gone, I set off the ‘new’ route, because I have become so used to going that way, and I trust it will deliver me to the ground on time.
Now there’s a thing – I’ve changed a habit. It’s something most people tell me is hard to do but I’ve done it. And when I think about why I want to get to the ground on time, it’s because of another habit I changed…
When I first started coaching, I had no time for warm-ups or doing the right things before a game. I arrived seconds before kick-off and regarded warm-ups as being for wimps – my team didn’t need them!
But gradually I learned more about young players and that they needed to stretch both mind and body in the lead-up to a game. I learned how much better they would perform when they were 100% ready to play. The more I studied the game the more I had to admit I was hindering my players by not doing those other things. So just like forcing myself to drive a new way to the match, I forced myself to change.
Along the way I had setbacks, but over time my players stopped letting in silly early goals and even started scoring early themselves. And there were no pulled muscles or players out of breath after a couple of minutes of running.I forced myself to be a better coach on match days.
And that’s why I hate getting to the ground late, because it reminds me of my old habits. Preparing yourself and your players for a game is so important – make sure you do it.