Being an accomplished player now requires that you take on another level of responsibility for yourself as an athlete. It is no longer enough to sheepishly admit to your coach that you are not fully ready for training, and that you have not made any investment in your own development besides the formal training time set aside with your coach. What follows are some practical suggestions that you can adhere to in order to make the most out of your individual or team training times. It is most fun to be playing the game, so we need to do everything in our power to make sure we are ready.
Ready to Play:
Players should bring with them to every training session the following:
- Inflated ball
- Their own cool water (cool water is absorbed faster)
- Shin guards
- Cleats or indoor shoes depending on the season
- Extra shoe laces
- A complete change of clothes (especially socks)
- Keepers, bring your gloves, shirt and long pants in case the field is poor
In short, you should be ready for anything! Put these items in your bag the night before your session so that you do not have to hunt them down and thus be late for training the next morning! Be at practice 10 – 15 minutes early, in time to get your gear on so that you are ready to start on time.
Practicing on Your Own:
The best thing that you can do is get your friends together, set up a field, choose sides and play. Sometimes, invite players that are older than you, and better. The most important thing is that you play, whether it is 1 v 1, 2 v 2, 4 v 4, or even 2 v 3, it doesn’t matter, just play.
If you can not get others to join you, spend as much time with the ball as you can. Find a wall to kick against, invent juggling games for yourself, try to chip a ball into a garbage can from various distances, be creative, have fun.
Above all, realize that it is not up to your coach or your parents in order for you to get better. You have to claim responsibility for your own development.
Once you realize how much fun it is to play the game with skill, you may never want to stop!