Sometimes it takes a random quote to really get you thinking.
I came across this quote today by Bill Copeland (American Poet) and it really made me think about the importance of setting goals and actively pursuing them; specifically applying to soccer athletes. His quote was:
"The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your
life running up and down the field and never score."
Think about that for a minute. What did Bill Copeland mean? Was he literally talking about the game of soccer or was he alluding to something bigger; using soccer as an analogy? What can we take away from this quote to drastically change our approach to soccer development; as players and coaches?
Everything in that quote is correct about the game of soccer. Imagine playing a game of soccer without any goals (literally and figuratively). Players would pass & move, sprint up & down the field ...... but what would be the point? It would be like a giant game of "keep away" (which is a great training exercise to teach through) but there would be no obtainable outcome. How would you win? Eventually, players would wear out, mentally burn out or just get bored. Goals have a purpose in games..... the ultimate measuring point of success for a team and individuals. If we know success equals the soccer ball in the net, then every aspect of our game play must be oriented towards making that eventually happen. We must take the steps necessary to accomplish our goals and then execute those steps!
So just how does this quote and mental approach apply to our training and development as players? It has a bigger impact on our development than many players can realize. How many of the athletes do you know that have actually planned out how to improve? I mean actually sat down and wrote out their season goals and more importantly how to accomplish them? While our QTSD© Coaches work with close to 200+ athletes each year, I have only heard of close to 20 athletes that actively journal their seasons, plan out their training goals and record their results! That brings me to my next question:
How can you obtain your goals if you haven't set them?
Those soccer goals in Bill Copeland's quote are the ultimate measuring point of success. If you set the goal of scoring and take the steps to obtain that goal, you win. The same applies in soccer development training! Players must set goals to accomplish to measure their improvement and success. You cannot go through your next season expecting to "become better". That cliche phrase has no value and does not prove anything in regards to your soccer development! You must set specific, measurable goals and take the step to accomplish them!
A great example of this is the simple aspect of juggling. As a coach, I asked my u13 team at the beginning of the season what their juggling records were. Many of the players said they didn't practice juggling or that they didn't know what their records were (with the highest count of about 20 juggles). I had to ask them "How do you know if you are getting better if you don't keep track of your touches?" Each week, we started practice off with 10 minutes of juggling but actively kept track of our individual and team juggling records. What do you think the result was? By the end of the season, each of our girls were competing with each other and themselves; with our juggling records increasing to a range of 20 to 150 without dropping the ball! Simply by asking them to keep track of their goals and actively attacking those goals!
Heading into 2016, I want to stress how important it is to set goals for yourself as a player. You cannot passively improve but rather need to actively attack your goals without stopping! During the month of January, QTSD© will be explaining different aspects of mental preparation for athletes including:
Goal setting (S.M.A.R.T)
Development tracking journals
Controlling emotions and decisions
Development planning and more!
In addition, we will be inviting renowned Sports Performance Psychologist Todd M. Kays, Ph.D., to work with our athletes and families on January 11th. He will be speaking on how to prepare for game pressure, how you can "bullet proof" your emotions & thought process during the season, how to achieve a mental edge over your opponents and more! Don't miss out on this great opportunity to work with QTSD© and one of Columbus' most experienced Sports Performance Psychologists! Check out details below!
Our goal at Quick Touch Soccer Development (QTSD©) is to develop complete soccer athletes! That means much more than just the physical nature of soccer but more importantly sportsmanship, mental strength, nutritional intelligence and more! If you have any questions at all about our programs and training, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com!