Pre-Season 2011

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Coaching Philosophy, Psychology, Tactical, Team Management, Technical

In the next few months I’m going to be writing a summary of our season and what we’re doing.  This is my life as a coach, the regular season is the destination that we aim for the other nine months of the year.


Training camp starts with a day of planning and meetings for the leadership council.  Our four council members and two captains got together to plan team building activities, discuss our small group sessions, and to review the objectives and goals we have for the season.


The upperclassmen get together early and wait to help the freshmen move into their dorms.  Team leaders are asked to meet up with the new players that they have been assigned to on their teams.  Players are welcomed on campus with a watermelon social in the campus plaza put on by our student life staff, and we have our first team meeting that night.  The meeting consists of ice breakers and an overview of the schedule and objectives.  The first day is capped by a friendly scrimmage between the new arrivals and the returners.  This year’s returners won 5-1.  It’s interesting to watch the new players and the team dynamics.  Who will step up to lead their team, what shape do they use, who will communicate, can they take ownership?  We played two 45’s and the new players did very well in the second half to slow things down and find opportunities to go forward and they built up an attack and put away the finish.

The rest of the week is intermixed with fitness testing, going over defensive principles, and lots of team building and fun activities.  This year we had 12 of the 34 not pass the fitness testing standards that we set, so I think we’re definitely further ahead than last year.  The players are drafted into six teams by the leadership council, and these six teams compete against each other several different competitions (small sided games, fitness testing, soccer golf, soccer tennis, a laws of the game test, etc).  The premise behind these teams is for the new players and returners to focus on getting to know eachother in a small group setting, and then expand to developing team unity in the larger numbers.  Our match analysis session was over the USMNT v. Mexico friendly, Jurgen Klinsman’s debut as a coach, and the objective is to start teaching players how to be a student of the game and look at games in more of an analytical sense.

Week 2

Start to introduce our principles of building an attack.  With the skills sets of the team we have right now we are leaning more towards a counter attacking style.  But right now our technical and tactical sessions are very fundamental in nature and can be applied to any style of play.  Players who did not pass the fitness test are required to attend a conditioning session in the morning, and the rest of the team has two practices and a team meeting to attend.

Team meetings are focused on developing a team identity and better communication to work together.  We go through a personality profile and discuss team goals for the season.  Players are then asked to come up with individual team goals based on the team objectives.  We also start to break down team roles and responsibilities in the three phases of the game (when we have possession, when we don’t have possession, and the transitions between possession).  After team philosophy and style of play are analyzed players break into lines and define the traits and responsibilities of their specific lines with the coaching staff.

The first team scrimmage against outside competition in during week two.  This year we were able to scrimmage Iowa Lakes Community College at home.  I think in general community colleges give schools like ours a great look at building an attack against a team that presses high up the field, and how well we do defending against athletic and technically sound players.  The exhibition was broken up into three periods, and line ups for each period were pre-determined by what we’d seen in practice so far.  We wanted to see certain players play together and see how chemistry factored into specific line ups with different players.

NOTES FROM EXHIBITION:  Our returners did a great job applying our system defensively and created a lot of opportunities to counter through winning the ball in the midfield.  Forwards were making solid runs and midfielders were finding them on the other side of those runs.  As we started to go deeper into the bench we could see a lack of experience, and the knowledge to play our system right now.  Lots of good things we can take away from this scrimmage to improve on this week before our next exhibition.

Good overall first two weeks.  Pleased with where the guys are physically, and I think the team is really coming together quickly.  We’re struggling with complimentary runs off the ball and being organized on our zonal defending.

  1. Joy Robbins says:

    I am so excited to see the DWU Men’s Soccer team play a game this season. Go Tigers!

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