September 16, 2014
Q: What are some of your favorite drills? Team bonding? What works best?
What I loved so much about game day, (well of course just the fact that it was game day) -was the routine of my preparations. Some people call them rituals or superstitions, but I like to the think what goes on during game day preparations are routine.
As a player, I didn’t want to have to think or wonder what will be coming next. I wanted to know that we get to the field, you get dressed, you do your team warm ups, cheers, etc.. etc… When it is laid out for you, then as a player, you can focus on just being ready.
A couple of things that I did and enjoyed I will share with you now. These routines I am sharing were during my playing days with the U.S. Team. I always sat in the same spot in the locker room or next to the same person. The last thing I did before going on the field was put my hair in a ponytail. When I got out on the field we all would jog side line to side line a bit to loosen up and then I would pass at the center circle with Julie Foudy (and when she retired I did that with Abby Wambach). Then we would go into our team warm-up.
A couple of drills I liked to do with my team were; half in half out in the center circle. Half the group would be in the middle with out a ball and the other half on the outside with the ball. We would start by passing, then volleys and then jump headers at the end. It was a great drill because we were together as a team and the vocal support started there.
Then I always loved finishing with a shooting drill that would get everyone fired up. Two players take a shot then play a ball wide and get in for a cross. It gave everyone a chance to shoot on goal and get some crosses in. Not really rocket science, but you find things that work with your team and then keep it the same – game in and game out. This gives the players a routine without thinking so much, allowing everyone to focus on just getting there touch ready and their mind.
Find a routine that works for you. Something that gets your ready, focused and relaxed before the game starts. The nerves will always be there, it is just about settling them and then when the whistle blows, you are ready to kick some butt.