Preseason begins today for many Division I soccer programs. For others we are just a couple days away.
One of the great things about a fall sport preseason is just how focused everyone is on the team. There are no classes to attend, no tests, few other students on campus, many of the athletes are living together, you may even take your team away to an isolated setting.
Everything is about the sport.
It can feel like an enormous opportunity. And, it is. The coach can accomplish a lot.
This is a good thing, but watch out, there’s a hidden danger. Or, rather temptation.
You may be tempted to tackle too many topics, to try to teach everything you want them to know, in a short two-week period.
Remember as the great John Wooden says, “You haven’t taught until they’ve learned.”
A skillful coach can hurry some processes up of course, but in the hopes of accomplishing everything you run the risk of accomplishing little.
Differentiate Must-Knows from your To-Dos
Sure you have a long list of to-dos but perhaps you have a short list of must-knows that you will build on all season long. Focus in on this.
That’s why it’s important to establish your own priorities for preseason.
What is that you most want to accomplish? Why? And how will it lead into your season plan?
Nobody else can establish those priorities for you. Every team and coach has a different set of circumstances and different challenges. Therefore nobody can copy each other’s priorities no matter how tempting.
Evaluate your sessions, your days, each week and ultimately the team’s preseason against these priorities. When things veer off course, which is possible, steer back on. You might choose to wait and set your priorities after you have seen your team. This is understandable. Keep it simple. Don’t do extra work there’s already plenty.
Only you know your team so you set the priorities. Just don’t skip this important step.