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Be coachable. Every team has an athlete on the team that is praised as a “Coachable Player.” Here are 3 tips every athlete can do to be on the path of being “Coachable.”
1) Arrive to practice 15 minutes early, get your gear on, and immediately start warming up. As your fellow teammates arrive, encourage them to warm up with you and be ready for practice on time. If you can’t get to practice 15 minutes early, then have as much of your gear on in the car before you arrive at practice. Show your teammates and coach that you are ready for every practice and eager to help your team.
2) Jog and run everywhere. Walking looks and is… SLOW. Every athlete that moves quickly looks like they have energy and coaches love energy. Positive energy helps teammates bond, picks up the intensity of practices, and tells the coach that you are ready to be pushed and ready to learn. Jog to water breaks, run to pick up equipment, sprint in every drill, and every chance you have = Jog or run.
3) Speak to your coach. If you’re a shy, quiet athlete: a simple greeting “Hello” and “See you next practice” will do. If you’re an outgoing athlete: talk with your fellow teammates and encourage the quite ones to engage with the rest of the team. Greeting your coaches and teammates will make the team bond stronger. As your confidence grows in talking with your teammates and coach, ask them how you can become a better player. Coachable athletes are ones that can take positive critique and become better team players.
It’s not easy to be a “Coachable” athlete. The 3 tips above are a starting point to becoming more coachable. Being the coachable athlete means you have to step outside of your comfort zone, talk to your coach and teammates, be supportive of your coaches’ every decision, and help your teammates when they make a mistake. Every athlete can achieve great success in their sport if they are willing to put in the work.
-Coach Brittany Gonzales, USSF, CSCS, FMS, USA-W
Chris Leachman is a Southern California native, who grew up in Long Beach playing youth sports including soccer, baseball, basketball, and football. Although he was a multisport athlete, his true love was football.
He played several years of Pop Warner for the Millikan Pop Warner league, playing multiple positions on the field. It was when he got to high school he found his niche as a quarterback. Chris played quarterback for Long Beach Polytechnic High School and in 2010 received first team all Moore League honors in his senior season. In addition Chris played in the 605 all-star game where he led his team to victory by throwing the game winning touchdown late in the contest.
Chris continued his football career in college with the Alabama A&M University Bulldogs where he was named South Western Athletic Conference Player of the week for a game in which he threw for multiple touchdowns. Understanding the importance of being a scholar athlete, Chris will graduate in the spring of 2015 with a degree in physical education.
If an athlete can increase their knowledge of their sport, then the athlete can handle tough situations that may arise in a contest. Chris’ experience in high-pressure situations plus his knowledge of sports, football specifically, will be extremely beneficial to the athletes he comes in contact with at Champion’s QUEST. With a positive attitude, Chris hopes to bring just another dimension to the deep wealth of knowledge already installed at the Champion’s QUEST Athlete Academy.
In light of the recent MLS Championship won by the LA Galaxy on Sunday, December 7th, you may be wondering how do these soccer players last 41 weeks of a MLS season during a World Cup year. Soccer players, like all other athletes, train their bodies and their minds, eat nutritiously, and take the necessary time to recover their bodies.
1) Physically and Mentally Fit: In a 90 minute soccer game, each player can run as little as 3 miles and sometimes 7 miles in the full game. In order for their bodies to last the entire game throughout the whole season, each soccer player must spend extra time maintaining their muscle strength and speed. The weight room is an extension of the soccer field. Two to three days a week, these professional soccer players are required to go to the weight room and workout.
The training regimens they complete are similar to those you see other athletes participating in, including: jump squats, kettle bell swings, med-ball slams, and other weighted exercises to strengthen their upper body and core. Strength work is just as important in youth athletes as well because it helps to prevent injuries and helps the athlete grow into their bodies. Putting in time in the weight room helps young players move closer to achieving their goals of playing like a professional soccer player.
2) Eat Nutritiously: Nutrition plays a huge role in the performance each soccer player can give in a game. Pre- and post- practice/game snacks and meals help with the recovery process in the body. If eating after a game is difficult, then chocolate milk or protein shakes help with the initial phases of recovery. Different foods affect each soccer player differently. Some soccer players feel heavy after eating a large amount of carbohydrates and prefer to eat additional protein instead. It’s important that every soccer player listens to their body and pays attention to which foods help them to perform best. It’s best to test different foods in the off-season with practices. Hydration is a big part of the nutrition process for each soccer player. For example, when they travel on airplanes, they drink anywhere between 8-10 ounces every 30 minutes on the plane. Youth athletes can benefit from proper nutrition and should be timing their snacks properly between their busy schedule and practices. Eating healthy at an early age teaches discipline and gives youth soccer players an advantage of playing more consistent because the body is fueled properly.
3) Physical and Mental Recovery: To be a competitive soccer player at any level, Recovery days are just as important as practice days. There are two types of recovery days that soccer players need: Active recovery and Passive recovery. Active recovery could be light cycling or light jogging for 15-20 minutes. Passive recovery involves stretching, ice baths, massage, and other recovery methods. Both active and passive recovery should be completed within the 48 hours after the game. Often times, these methods are also used following practices, scrimmages, and try-outs. Giving your body the needed physical rest helps the player’s mental recovery as well. After each game, every soccer player needs to evaluate their performance and then mentally move on and prepare for the next game. Every professional team has access to a professional sports psychologist. Sports psychologists help the soccer players to learn how to deal with their mistakes in the game and their stresses with coaches, teammates, and themselves. They also help with goal setting with the team and the individual players. This is extremely important for the whole team so that they can get through the season together and perform together at the team’s highest level. Being mentally strong can be developed early on and benefits the youth athlete as they are able to get past their mistakes quicker than those who are not mentally strong.
When every soccer player on the team is physically fit, mentally fit, has healthy eating habits, and goes through the steps of recovery, then each of those soccer players on that team have an opportunity to achieve their highest goals. It takes discipline, hard work, and consistency in the weight room, at practices, and in their own lifestyle. Youth athletes can be like a professional athlete every day by focusing on all the aspects it takes to get the most out of their body. The greatest reward from all the hard work is winning and perhaps being like one of the professional soccer players on the LA Galaxy in being the first MLS team to five championships.
Congratulations to the LA Galaxy for the 5th Championship for Los Angeles. Thank you to Landon Donovan for dedicating your life and career to push soccer forward in America. Thank you to all the LA Galaxy strength and conditioning coaches, the nutritionists, the physical therapists, the athletic trainers, the doctors, and all the support staff that have provided the means to keep the players healthy. And thank you to all the Galaxy Players for giving hope to all the young soccer players that want to one day be just like you! – Coach Brittany Gonzales
Growing up in an uncommon youth sport in Southern California had its challenges. Now that the soccer culture and community has changed in Southern California, these 3 tips about youth soccer share a different side of the game that many parents and athletes should consider when playing this fun and competitive sport.
As a youth soccer player, I often had to play soccer in the street against the curb. I won if the ball came straight back to me, the curb won if the ball popped straight up. Watching soccer on tv was even harder since the only games played were on the local Spanish station in Spanish.
During the 90s, I had to patiently wait every 4 years to watch the Men’s National Team take on the world in the FIFA World Cup. My first FIFA World Cup experience was the 1994 tournament held here in the U.S. My room was covered in all soccer posters of the Men’s National team and other stars from around the globe, one being our beloved Men’s Soccer Head Coach, Jurgen Klinsmann. Five years later, my soccer dreams came true when the U.S. hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup and my birthday present consisted of tickets to the Final game when the U.S. beat China for the championship (the last time the U.S. won the World Cup.)
Fast forward to 2014 and youth soccer is paving the way in America with Youth Soccer being the fastest growing sport in the United States. 11.1 million people watched the USA Men’s National team play against Ghana on ESPN during the FIFA World Cup hosted by Brazil this past summer. The number of Americans watching the FIFA World Cup Final beat the number of viewers watching the 2014 NBA finals and the 2013 MLB World Series despite the U.S. not even playing in the game.
Now as an adult soccer player and coach, helping the youth soccer players gain speed and strength on the soccer field gives me the same passion the sport had for me as a kid. It saddens me when I hear young girls and boys say they are not good enough to play soccer at the next level. With over 100,000 youth soccer players in Southern California and some of the best weather in America, kids don’t realize they are competing against top competition all year long.
As I watch my youth soccer players play in parks and schools, it’s hard not to be proud of the progress the sport has made and the impact I make daily on it’s continue growth. Helping the youth soccer players gain confidence, speed, and power on the soccer field is vital to the continued success of soccer in Southern California.
Tip #1 about playing Soccer in Southern California
The sun shines all year round. With extreme heat in the desert and snow in the mountains, the majority of youth players can still play soccer all year round. The heat does not stay for long and most kids and teams can travel to lower temperature cities to play. With mostly man-made snow in our mountains, the majority of soccer players living in those areas travel to play soccer on recreation and club teams.
Compared to other states with extreme humidity, snow storms, and rain, Southern California is the perfect place for year round soccer. With that perfect weather, come year round practices, year round games, year round tournaments, and the need to increase soccer athleticism -year round of course.
Tip #2 about playing Soccer in Southern California
The competition is or close to being the best in America. In the 2011/2012 season, the US Youth Soccer posted key statistics about the number of youth soccer players in America. Southern California came in 4th place with 144,161 soccer players registered for annual soccer leagues. The area that brought in the most annual soccer registrants was Northern California. With the state of California having the most soccer players in America, we have more teams in various levels of soccer with more leagues and tournaments held each year for all the teams to play in.
Compare to other states that could have below 10,000 youth soccer players, Southern California soccer players tend to make soccer part of their lifestyle and can choose to be as competitive as they would like with the many teams available in the state.
Tip #3 about playing Soccer in Southern California
With the nice weather and thousands of youth soccer players, Southern California breeds the best teams of soccer players. Check out the numbers:
- 4 members of the 2012 Gold winning Olympic Women’s National Team played for the Cal South ODP team: Alex Morgan, Rachel Buehler, Shannon Boxx, and Amy Rodriguez
- 26% of the U.S. Men’s National team for 2010 World Cup were Cal South Alumni.
- 28 Cal South ODP teams won 28 out of 60 US Youth Soccer National Championship Trophies (2000-2014)
- 42 club teams from Cal South have won 42 US Youth Soccer National Championship trophies since 2001.
- 56% of US Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships won by Cal South club teams (1997-2013)
- 62% of US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup Regional titles won by Cal South club teams (2009-2013)
Coach Brittany wrote this blog based off working with the Southern California youth soccer community for the past 6 years. A product of a Cal South youth club team, Camarillo Eagles, and the Cal South ODP program, Coach Brittany assists the youth soccer community in gaining speed and strength on the pitch.
Contact Coach Brittany for guidance though the Cal South’s options for playing soccer at all levels.
Female soccer coaches and female strength and conditioning coaches are on the rise, despite the sports world still being a male dominated field. Currently, there are many female strength and conditioning coaches paving the way in the Collegiate and Professional rankings. Kansas University’s basketball team has a secret weapon in Andrea Hudy, the only female head strength and conditioning coach with 9 national title teams and has helped develop over 2 dozen NBA players. On the MLB side, we saw the first and only female strength coach, Rachel Balkovic, become the full time strength coordinator for the minor league system of the St. Louis Cardinals.
With the increase in female coaching positions, it’s important for past female athletes to become mentors for the younger female girls in the community. Young girls would benefit greatly on and off the field with a female role model to look up to. Female coaches share the same social experiences and can help young girls as they grow physically and mentally.
5 Reasons to Have a Female Coach for Young Female Athletes
#1 Female coaches are Great Role Models for girls because they have Competed themselves.
#2 Female Coaches have gone through similar Emotional Stresses in their Life.
#3 Female Coaches are Compassionate.
#4 Female Coaches know the style of the Female Game.
#5 Parents feel comfortable with a Female Coach being a Positive Role Model.
CLICK HERE to see Female Coaches coaching Female Youth Soccer Athletes.
Need a Female Coach? Email Coach Brittany Gonzales
Every team needs Team Bonding, but does every team achieve TEAM BUILDING? Both team bonding and team building could be used interchangeably as long as the focus of the activity is to unite the teammates towards a common goal.
I prefer the term Team Building because a team is always striving to achieve a goal, whether that is to achieve a number of wins, move up a bracket in league, make it to the conference tournament or a national championship. Taking the team to a gym to workout is along the same lines of Building toward achieving a goal. In fact, the training in the gym directly correlates with the success of the team on the field.
The athletes get a chance to see each other’s strengths and weaknesses as it pertains to their fitness. They can empathize with each other over the difficulty of performing high intense exercises and completing the workout together. They also get to see their emotional and mental strength in each other and how to help each other through a difficult workout. Often times, emerging captains come out of the training because an athlete wants to encourage and cheer on their teammates through the difficult workout.
The best thing about Team Building in a gym, such as Champion’s Quest, is that the team is working together off the soccer field in a positive-rich environment that will push them to be better athletes. The Team Building exercise is mentored by an athlete performance coach, who is unbiased towards their playing time and playing position on the field. Every athlete is treated equally and gains confidence to help the entire team achieve their goals. It’s a Win-Win for the Team and each individual Athlete.
-Coach Brittany Email me