Gearing Up For Our First Match

Posted: August 21, 2011 in Psychology, Tactical, Team Management

Pre-season is wrapping up and classes begins tomorrow.  We wrapped up our final week of 3-a-days with a Blue v. White Scrimmage in Rapid City, SD (home town for several of our players, and a city that has no college soccer teams within a three hour radius).  The team kicked off the weekend with a cookout hosted by one of our wonderful parents, and the guys had a great time meeting families and enjoying good food.  We booked a youth camp for the team to stay at, and we were able to take the boys through a low ropes course.

The low ropes course was a great oppoturnity for the players to compete outside their comfort zones on elements that challenged their thinking, communicatuion, and team work.  We had some fun too!  In the debriefing we discussed how we could learn from the challenges in the course to help us with the season.

The next morning we were scheduled by the hosting soccer association to run a youth soccer clinic.  Mid-morning half the team went down to Mt. Rushmore to play tourist for the day, and the other half went down and watched a few high school games.  Our scrimmage was hosted by the local soccer club in Rapid City, Rushmore SC, and they helped to bring in a decent crowd for our scrimmage.  We ran through a couple game management scenarios, and let the boys play for a period as well.  After the scrimmage it was fun to watch the players signing autographs for some of the kids that stuck around.

The first road trip is always fun, and I loved how we were able to make this trip a great team bonding experience.  I think it’s important to get the players away from campus and secluded with one another before classes begin and the life of college slowly pulls the team’s attention away from one another.  The camp experience was a great one too, staying in bunk houses and making memories with each other on the low ropes course was a definite plus.

Right now we are less than a week away from our first varsity match of 2011 and we definitely have some weaknesses.  Some of our game management scenarios opened our eyes to the fact that we need to work on when and how to press higher up the field in a goal down situation.  We still struggle to keep possession in the middle third of the field and need to work on the decision making of our boys when to pull the ball back and when to push forward into the final third.

First match is five days away, we have one more exhibition match against a great opponent that should give us the final tune-up we need.

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