This week’s featured community was chosen because I came across an assistant coach that does a great job of supporting her team. My favorite message that she posted for her team on her Team Page was that “Proper Practice Prevents Poor Performance” also known as the 5 P’s. Additionally, she made a note about the importance of staying hydrated to prevent cramping and improve performance. I thought that these educational and insightful comments, which were posted as part of the pre-season preparation (how’s that for more P words?), were an example of someone trying to go the extra mile and also a great use of TeamPages. So without any further delay I present to you Abby Roth and the Kutztown High School Girls Soccer Team.
Kutztown Area High school is located in Kutztown (bet you didn’t see that one coming), Pennsylvania. There are about 600 students at the school which ranges from grades 9-11. One of the things that makes this school unique is that they have successfully implemented the “one-to-one-laptop-initiative.” This means that every student has a lap top which is given to them by the school. As such, the athletes on the sports teams are able to receive updates about practices, social events and games on TeamPages all throughout the day.
The Kutztown High School Girls Soccer team consists of both a JV and a varsity team. The first game of the season is not until march 11th, when they will have their first game against Reading, but they have already begun to practice and build a cohesive team. The team has a pot luck dinner at the beginning of the season to give the parents, coaches and athletes a chance to get to know each other. As assistant coach Abby said “it gives us a chance to interact with the parents as well as lets the girls socialize in a less uniform based setting.”
The coaches of the team take a supportive approach to the game. The philosophy at this point is more one of getting the athletes to play their best rather than focusing on playing to win (although I have full faith that this team will do both). What Assistant Coach Abby looks forward to most about the season is watching the girls develop as a team and seeing them work hard for a common goal. She knows that the thing that makes a team successful is hard work and dedication; “a successful team is one that pushes themselves and always tries to work harder.”
This dedication and hard work can be seen on the field (or gym depending on the weather) during the games and the daily three hour practices. The amount of time and energy dedicated to the sport can make it hard for the girls to have a balanced life. Abby notes that the girls can at times struggle with balancing their academic, athletic and social lives but as long as they “are open with their coaches and families, we can understand what they are going through and try to help them.” One technique that has been successful in previous years, is the implementation of journals which the girls then submit to the coaches. This enables the coaches to track the girls’ progress while at the same time ensuring that they know what is going on in the lives of all of their athletes. The coaches of the team recognize that the girls are not just players but rather people dealing with the day to day difficulties of adolescence. One challenge that Abby has noticed is that the girls do not always have a healthy self image and that at times it is hard to get them to keep their heads up. As such, the coaches ensure that they are not only teaching the girls how to play soccer but also teaching them life lessons. As stated by Abby, “high school sports prepares people for life. There are so many different lessons to be learned from working with a team and playing the game.” One such lesson that Abby tries to teach is that of staying positive and supporting your team mates.
The coaches of the Kutztown High School Soccer Team try to create a well rounded soccer experience. It is easy to teach someone drills and plays but dealing with the challenges of day to day life and teaching life lessons is truly going the extra mile. So girls, win or lose, as Mike Ditka once said “you are never a loser until you quit trying.” As long as you work your hardest, which seems to be the focus of your coaches, I am sure you will have an amazing season!
If you have any questions about this post or if you would like to be featured in an upcoming community of the week please leave a comment or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.