Archive for October, 2011

It’s been an excititng regular season, and we have had our ups and downs.  But I am so proud of our team finding a way to get results that we needed to finish 2nd in the conference this year.  We’ve had season ending injuries to four key players in our varsity, and we’ve moved some guys around to positions they haven’t played.  But the guys still found a way to finish strong.

I’m excited to see how we will respond in the playoffs.  For the first time in program history we will host playoff games, and it’s going to take the best we have to offer to reach the conference final with the roster we have right now.

What a great run going 3-1-1 in our last five conference games!  The team was picked to finish 6th this year, but once again we’ve proved everyone wrong.  Hope our players understand how special it is to come together and achieve something as a team, not as individuals, but a unit with a common objective.

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Ethics in Coaching

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Coaching Philosophy, Ethics

Recently my ethics as a college soccer coach were called into question by another coach in the profession.  I realize that this job creates an environment of extreme competition, but hopefully we don’t compromise on our values and ethics to gain a competitive advantage.

I think it comes down to having a coaching philosophy that outlines the objectives and motivators ahead of time instead of dealing with issues as they arise.

For me coaching is about the players and what they are getting out of the experience.  I want them to come away from Dakota Wesleyan as better men who have grown through trials and challenges that have helped to shape their character.  What better environment than athletics where athletes deal with victory, defeat, set backs, distractions, unity, selfishness, goal setting, motivation, leadership, etc?  What a great opportunity to work on solidifying the values that will carry us through a lifetime of the same challenges.  But there needs to be a coach who wants to be proactive about helping athletes develop in these areas.  We can’t just put our kids in sports and expect them to come out on the other side with a strong moral base. 

Athletics provides an environment where these things can be taught and brought out in our players, but it won’t just develop on it’s own without an intentional coach.

So much of our program is about character and values, being a person who has integrity.  When these things are called into question it is disappointing that people see me as a coach, or a program as otherwise.  But again, it’s an opportunity for us to work on our character development as well.  I need to rise to the occassion as much as my players need to, and I need to be more worried about doing the right thing and the peace of mind it give me rather than worry about what others are saying.

Having a strong foundation in my faith is also a must to stand the tests of this profession.  Maybe we shouldn’t take these tests as offensive, but as a compliment that we are worthy to be tested and that others want to see us fail?

The season has been a series of close games for us this year, and as a typical coach I see the things we struggle in more than the successes we’ve had.

We’re one month into the season, and there is month left in the season.  Our record is 4-5-0, and our conference just opened last week and we are 2-1-0 tied for fourth currently.  Below is my mid-season analysis and a break down of some objectives I want to see for the second half of the season personally, and as a team.

2011 Goals

  1. Finish top six of the conference (qualify for tournament): currently tied for 4th
  2. Average 1.75 goals per game in conference: currently averaging 2.67
  3. Average 0.85 goals allowed per game in conference: currently averaging 1.00
  4. Shutout 30% of our opponents: currently have four shutouts, two in conference, out of nine games

Personal Analysis of Games

We’ve had a tough schedule this year, and we wanted it that way this season.  We’ve played the defending national champions, three teams who have been nationally ranked or received national votes, and a fifth team that was at the national tournament last year.  Our record against these five opponents 2-3, and in two of the losses we had the lead at one point.  Every loss has been by a single goal, and we’ve had two double overtime games.

Our record isn’t that impressive, however we’ve seen some huge successes on the field in areas that can’t be measured with just the win-loss-tie record.  For instance, our shots on goal percentage is 0.598 this year.  This means we are getting quality chances at the goal, not just shots.  Our team’s passing accuracy for the season is just under 80% at 0.77 of all passes; we’re doing a good job finding feet and limiting mistakes.  Our backs have a passing percentage higher than our midfielders, and midfielders have a higher percentage than our forwards.  To me this means we’re making good decisions and taking risks in the proper thirds of the field like we should be.

There are some areas that I have concern about and our coaching staff needs to address for the second half of the season.  We’ve allowed nine goals in nine games, not bad.  However, only one of those goals has come in the first half, the other eight have occurred either in the second half or overtimes.  We are obviously not substituting properly to maintain a level of intensity that matches the first half.  We are also giving up more corners in the second half of games, and this means we’ve allowed teams to dictate the play a little more in the later parts of matches.

Another stat that troubles me are the three leads we’ve given away to lose a match, and the five matches we’ve loss by a single goal.  We struggle to close out matches and find the goals to put opponents away.  We need to work more on game management and decision making on the field to maintain a lead, or to push harder for a winning or tying goal.

Team spirits are high, and the players are training hard.  We’re meeting our goals and objectives we’ve set for ourselves and the players see the results of those with the quality competition.  We need to start instilling an attitude of winning however in training, to help our players recognize how and when to close out a game.  We need to focus on the second half of games and be more aware of energy and intensity level.

Hope to see us learn from our mistakes and successes and finish the season strong.