After five years of coaching, it was about time I wrote down my PHILOSOPHY. But I needed help putting it into words and that help came from Tony Dicicco and Dr. Colleen Hacker*.
- Play Hard, Play to Win, Have Fun. Another way to say this is, “winning isn’t everything, but it’s more fun than losing; let’s play to win.”
- Better Together. Soccer is a team sport, not a star sport. Every player—from the weakest to the strongest—is better because she’s on a team. We will win or lose as a team.
- Vulnerable, Humble Coaching. I’m learning, too, and want to learn from the girls – their skills, what they see on the pitch…even about life. I want them to know they have a voice worth being heard.
- Validate Their Feelings. These girls are in a significant time of change in soccer and life. Their emotions are as important to me as their skills.
- Challenge. I want each girl to face and conquer a challenge, to do something she didn’t think she could do.
- Perfection Isn’t the Goal. I want players to understand what they’re supposed to do and work at doing it so that it’s natural in a game. (Dicicco calls this “imprinting.”) Understanding is the goal, not perfect execution.
- One Size Doesn’t Fit All. I have three kids (two daughters), and none is like another. I won’t expect any girl on my team to be like any other, and I’ll try not to treat them as if they were all the same.
- Be Prepared. I want the girls to be prepared for virtually any situation they’ll encounter on a soccer pitch, from throw ins to penalty kicks to blowout scores. This mental preparation is harder than any skill training – and a good life lesson.
In addition, three PRIORITIES guide my coaching:
- Safety – on and off the pitch, my players’ safety is my top priority.
- Fun – regardless of whether she ever plays soccer again, I want each girl to have fun.
- Soccer – there’s a reason it is the world sport: anyone can play, and all you need is a ball.