Many of us strive to be the best version that we can be; whether on or off the soccer field. We all want to have a better first touch, finish more consistently, or make that great pass that sets up the winning goal. But when we look back on our seasons, many of us feel like we didn’t accomplish as much as we could have. Why is that? And what can we do to change that? Is there a way to “plan” out our success?
WHAT HOLDS US BACK?
Many of us start the season with lofty goals; both coaches and players alike. But with any goals, there are many hurdles to evaluate and overcome. In my personal experience, I have noticed three main things that have hindered my success; as a coach and player:
Each one of these are critical to success and MUST be organized.
PLAN - To succeed, we MUST actually plan to succeed. When planning, we must start with creating goals for ourselves; usually smaller goals to get the ball rolling. For example, starting off a season with the measurable goal of training on the ball 3x per week for 45 minutes vs. winning your national championship for club. Both are great goals BUT one is measurable and will start the process towards the larger goal. At the end of the season, you can look back and actually track if you hit your goal of training on a weekly/monthly/season basis. Actually following through on your plan will determine your success.
EXECUTE - Following through on your plan AND having someone to keep you accountable is critical as well. there are going to be days that you don’t “feel” like putting in the effort, are battling soreness, or honestly just want to take the day off. That is when having an accountability partner comes into play. You NEED someone who will remind you of your goals when you lose focus. Someone who will tell you to get outside back on the ball and continue working towards your dreams. It doesn’t matter if a teammate, a friend, a coach, or parent but you need to develop a relationship with someone who will keep pushing you when it becomes difficult. They will help you put in the effort and consistency needed to improve.
**Find someone who has a drive similar to you. It works two ways - you push them and they push you.**
RECOVER/ADJUST - If you are to reach your goals, you will need intermediate periods of rest and recovery; both physically and mentally. If you are training 7 days a week, you will eventually burn out or suffer injury/fatigue. BUT recovery is not random “lazy periods”. Recovery and balance are planned into your training program. For instance, if you train M/T/Th/F, then leave W/Sun for recovery days; days where you have stretching/yoga and catch up with family & friends. Balance and recovery helps you to keep sharp; especially when your body & mind need to be at top shape.
**Part 2 will cover the technical and tactical aspect of planning your training program i.e. what skills, how often, learning the game, etc.**