November 8, 2011
Minimize Distractions, Practice Smart, Build a Team and Speak the Truth are just a few of the crucial tips to help today’s youth players reach their potential.
I am a huge fan of preparation, on and off the field. It is the key to creating successful elite players, whether those athletes are headed for college soccer or the pros. As coaches – and parents – of premier players, it’s important to prepare our kids for success, as well as the challenges they’ll face playing at the highest levels of their sport. Pressure, competition, setbacks and attention (both positive and negative) are all part of the game for top athletes. I’ve seen many sports careers fail to reach their potential because athletes couldn’t handle the unique pressures. And once a player deviates off course, his or her play will likely be affected; once performance is compromised, careers are jeopardized. It’s a harsh cycle ambitious athletes must strive to avoid.
A player must stay focused on his or her game, and the team’s success. It’s important to remember that – at the college and pro levels – it’s about performance on the field. All rewards stem from stellar performance; everything else – good and bad – is a by-product of how a player delivers. Ultimately, a player must be able to focus on execution, constantly striving to improve and excel.
So how do we help promising premier players achieve? There is no magic formula, unfortunately. But here are some lessons I’ve learned, as a player and coach, to help talented players soar.