Growing up playing for Beachside Soccer Club in Connecticut, I always lived by the club’s motto, “Success is a Choice”. With soccer fields, teams, clubs, and schools shutting down, youth soccer players finally have a chance to think about and reflect on what their overall goals are. With most of our players, we help guide them in setting short- and long-term goals for their soccer careers. The two most common goals we hear are:
I want to play college soccer and I want to be a professional soccer player.
Don’t get me wrong, we push our players to create rigorous and challenging goals but at a time where everyday life is disrupted, athletes’ true colors will begin to show.
Athletes can handle the current situation with the coronavirus in one of two ways - They can use it as a break from school and practice or they can use it as a platform to better themselves in a variety of ways. Whether an athlete’s goal is to make their high school varsity team, or it is to become a professional, now is the time for young athletes to really reflect on whether they are serious about this.
This blog is not meant to downgrade the health crisis that is going on in the world. Instead, this blog is meant to show athletes the rare opportunity they have to live the life of a professional or college soccer player and determine if they are willing to do what it takes to achieve those goals. When we ask players, “Why have you not practiced at home?”, the answer almost always revolves around the words, “I’m too busy”. Now there is no school, minimal schoolwork, and no organized practice. With no other excuse to make right now, athletes have a big decision to make. Are they willing to take the necessary steps to take accountability for their success or are they going to waste their time playing video games or scrolling through social media? I saw a quote the other day that rang true - "If your child doesn't fall in love with the ball at this time, there's a bigger problem"
We always preach to athletes to “control the controllable”. There is so much going on in the world right now that you cannot control but weirdly, that loss of control has created a chance for athletes to control their own success and see if they have or are willing to do what it takes to live out their dream. A lot of people only see the glamour that comes with being a college or professional athlete and do not understand what it takes to maintain that level of physical fitness and mental strength. There is constant struggle to balance work, family life, social life, and athletics but those who are determined to be successful will find a way to make it work. One way to combat this balancing act is by creating a daily schedule or routine to follow. If youth athletes can learn the skill of creating routines for themselves, they will be way ahead when it comes time for adult life. They should think about what their main priorities are, what they want to accomplish, and how they are going to accomplish it.
Below is an outline of a daily routine that a youth athlete can follow if they are determined to be reach their goals. The schedule below emulates what a college or professional players daily schedule would look like. You will notice that there is not much down time and may be thinking that it is impossible to keep up with this. Everyone is different so you need to find what works for you and what will help you achieve your goals, but I wanted to at least give you some ideas.
8 am: Wake up and drink a bottle of water to rehydrate your body
8:15 am: Eat Breakfast
8:45 am: Plan your day - What do you want to accomplish today? What are the top priorities? How will you accomplish those tasks?
9:15 am: Morning workout - Gyms being closed are no excuse not to stay physically fit - There are hundreds of workouts on YouTube that you can do on your own
10:15 am: Eat a small snack or protein shake to help your body start the recovery process
10:45 am: Start whatever school work has been assigned to you
11:30 am: Soccer skill work - Use drills that you have done with coaches before, use YouTube or other online outlets to help come up with drills
12:30 am: Lunch
1:15 pm: Film Analysis - Watch your own game film and reflect on your performance,
watch games of professional players who play in your position and focus on their movement and touches on the ball
2:15 pm: Help your parents with chores around the house - Do not wait for them to ask you to do something, take initiative and JUST DO IT
3:15 pm: Take a break - Let your mind rest by listening to music, meditating, or stretching
4:15 pm: 2nd round of soccer skill training - Ask a sibling or parent to help so you can work on drills that require two or more people
5:15 pm: Finish whatever school work you have left or get ahead for the next day
6 pm: Dinner
7 pm: Spend time with your family - Playing board games, watching TV, or just talking
8:30 pm – read for 30 minutes about a topic that will help you reach your goal
9 pm: Stretch all muscle groups
9:30 pm: Get ready for bed
It is a testing time for all, but turn it into a time for self-development.
Thanks for reading,