Do you really know your athletes?

Coaches,

Our athletes do amazingly powerful things on the field….I hope that you catch them being great, unlike at the Olympics where it can be a crapshoot (see photo).

Wags

gymnastics horizontal

Player Safety Tips and Cards

Coaches,

As you may be aware, U.S. Soccer has recently announced changes regarding concussion initiatives. Here are a few great safety resources for you, your players and parents as we on-ramp this season, including the U.S. Soccer Federation initiative “Recognize to Recover- Player Health & Safety”.

Children MD app

Concussion Protocol

US Soccer Player Health and Safety

I will be printing more IOC Pocket Concussion Recognition, Dynamic Warm Up, SAQ and Lightning Policy cards and will make available at our pre-season coaches meeting on January 22.

Thanks,
Wags

How Our FC Boulder Teams Define “Strength”

Coaches,

I wrote in this blog on 9/2 that I was going to ask all our fall competitive teams to define the word “strength”.   Look closely below and you’ll see some common themes.  Fascinating stuff.  Hope this helps in your efforts in continuing to develop our players.

How do you define the word “strength”? (given no context – ha!)

-Wags

 

Mentally bond as a team

Physically strong to maintain technique

Being aggressive

Persevere

Working hard

Stamina

Playing smart

Teamwork

Positive

Everyone brings something different to the table

Work together as a team

Ability to do something your own way

Not just about physical power but how hard you try

As a team we depend on each other use each others best qualities

Win lose as a team

Sound mind and body

Not let anything disturb you off your game

Being present in the game for 90 min mentally and physically

Fit means having aerobic and muscular endurance to avoid bad technique

A player who is physically and mentally fit to last the entire 90 min game and help their team win

Never give up physically or mentally have energy play with your best play hard after mistakes

Not giving in

 

 

 

Transition, A Time for Reflection and Homework!

Coaches,

In this winter time, a general annual periodization model will tell you that we are in a transition period.  Time to rest and rejuvenate from competition, psychologically and physiologically. Our athletes remain active, but with reduced workout hours and unstructured training – often with activities other than soccer. Generally, this period lasts one to six weeks.

As athletes transition, please take this time to transition yourself and reflect on your season.  I have a favor to ask of you:

Would you write down, draw, diagram or etch your favorite “fitness” activity and send to me?  As I prepare the curriculum for the spring season, I would like to see some ideas which may be helpful to others.

Now go read that neglected book or article!

Thanks for all your efforts.

 

Wags

There is no path to happiness

Happiness is the path.

Find your inner joy today and share the positivity with your friends, family, players and community!

snoopy joy

 

Why Movement Matters

Coaches,

Some inspirational quotes for you, your players, families, friends to get…EVERYONE MOVING….

From neurologist and author Oliver Sacks:
Much more of the brain is devoted to movement than to language. Language is only a little thing sitting on top of this huge ocean of movement. 
From Henry David Thoreau:
Me thinks that the minute my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow, as if I had given vent to the stream at the lower end and consequently new fountains flowed into it at the upper.”

From neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert:

We have a brain for one reason and one reason only — that’s to produce adaptable and complex movements. Movement is the only way we have affecting the world around us… I believe that to understand movement is to understand the whole brain. And therefore it’s important to remember when you are studying memory, cognition, sensory processing, they’re there for a reason, and that reason is action.
 From Moshe Feldenkrais:
I believe that the unity of mind and body is an objective reality. They are not just parts somehow related to each other, but an inseparable whole while functioning. A brain without a body could not think … the muscles themselves are part and parcel of our higher functions.
From roboticist Hans Moravec:
Encoded in the large, highly evolved sensory and motor portions of the human brain is a billion years of experience about the nature of the world and how to survive in it.The deliberate process we call reasoning is, I believe, the thinnest veneer of human thought, effective only because it is supported by this much older and much powerful, though usually unconscious, sensorimotor knowledge. We are all prodigious olympians in perceptual and motor areas, so good that we make the difficult look easy. Abstract thought, though, is a new trick, perhaps less than 100 thousand years old. We have not yet mastered it.
From philosopher Blaise Pascal:
The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.

From dance choreographer Martha Graham:

Nothing is more revealing than movement.

All that is important is this one moment is movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.

Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It’s a miracle, and the dance is a celebration of that miracle.

Next week I’ll provide relevant context as to why we’re doing what we’re doing in APP!

Good luck!

Wags

 

APP In-Season “Strength” Programming Set for Week of 9/14

Coaches,

Last week I began asking teams to define “strength” in the context of soccer.  Teams have been compliant in reporting thus far and I believe, via their responses, have been a really cool source of information and opportunity for players to engage with each other on another level.  I will be compiling all teams’ responses and then sharing this info to our DOC’s to find a relevant and meaningful way to help educate and enhance our culture.

As part of our overall Long Term Athlete Development model, our Athletic Performance Program will be implementing a 6-week in-season “strength” program beginning the week of 9/14.  As I have been able to assess players movement patterns over the past few weeks, some teams/players I feel comfortable adding some amount of load/weight, others not so much.

Therefore, you will continue to see your teams do a variety of movement patterns designed to challenge each players’ central nervous system (thus the individual tennis ball/cone) as well hops, squats, lunges, etc. in all three planes of motion.  Younger teams will continue body weight work while some older teams will be performing not only body weight exercises, but begin to lift actual weights.

A decent, but long, paper on in-season “strength” training can be found here:  Strength training in soccer with a specific focus on highly trained players

If you have ?’s…ask.

Hope you well and good luck this weekend,

Wags

 

 

 

 

 

Defining “Strength”

Coaches,

I hope you are well and enjoying the fall season (bring on the leaves!!). It’s been awhile since our last blog on Growth Mindset.

As part of the clubs Athletic Performance Program implementation this fall at our Sports Performance Center, I’ve begun to ask teams to define what “strength” is in the context of our sport. There is no right or wrong answer, but rather an opportunity for players, coaches and teams to engage in critical thought about “strength”.

I’m giving teams, based upon their indoor schedule, 1-2 weeks to present their definition the next time they work with me in the APP area. Hopefully everyone takes advantage of this unique time to collaborate, work as a team, really think about the word, it’s definition in context and have the CONFIDENCE to speak in front of others.

Thanks again for all your support and reach out with any questions.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another” William James

In health,
Wags

Growth Mindset and Region IV ODP

Coaches,
As I shared in my last blog, I would write a follow up to my experiences at Region IV ODP Camp.
I also wanted to share this article- which is awesome! It speaks on how we should praise effort, the struggle, the process and not with how wonderfully talented they can strike a ball, for example.

Growth Mindset

REGION IV ODP
In late June and early July, I attended and worked my fifth Region IV Olympic Development Program Boys Camp in McMinnville, OR. Under the direction of my third Region IV head coach in five years, there was a bit of optimism and skepticism for this year. I was hopeful that we continued the path of truly identifying the best players in camp and provide them with a chance to showcase their talents under the ODP umbrella. As the case in past years, Cal south was absent and some states are vastly over and/or underrepresented. This is due to the varying protocols states follow in promoting, identifying and assisting kids to travel to Regional Camp (the whole structure of ODP is for another day).

As the coaches settled into the schedule and format for the week, it was clearer than ever that there is an enormous amount of implied trust with us coaches to “get the job done”. Those ideas made me feel good and excited to work with the kids. It was scramble format where kids were mixed with kids from different states across Region IV and I was assigned two groups of players. It was clear from the get go, that some of the best players in Region IV (as compared to previous years) are not in the camp. Some have already been identified through other channels, some are in Cal South and some just simply could not afford the cost of camp.

However, the players who did attend were hard workers, some technically very good, while others are athletic- just liked we’d see in our own teams. They all possessed a great desire to get better, hopefully be picked for the regional pool and were respectful. After reading the growth mindset article and comparing it to the players who attended Regional Camp, I couldn’t be more proud than to be associated with ODP. There are so many paths for players to achieve what they want to achieve. There are many routes and avenues for identification, development and growth. We, as coaches, have a great responsibility to establish (if not already done so) and foster a growth mindset environment, so that any player, in any city, has that chance to grow, struggle and find success.

Wags

USWNT…….more multi-sport athletes

Congratulations to our U.S. Women’s National Team for winning their third World Cup Title!  Certainly the better side throughout the tournament….fit, strong, determined, tactically not stuck to one way, and just fun to watch.

Did you know that most the 23 members played multiple sports before committing fully to soccer in their later teenage years?  Read these short articles….

USA Today Article

Post and Courier Article

Next week, I’ll recap my experiences at USYS Region IV ODP camp and a funny encounter with Brandi Chastain.

Wags