The batteries are recharged and my mind is overflowing with ideas. I have spent the last two weeks pursuing the answers to life’s persistent mysteries concerning athletic development. Just kidding. For me recharging the batteries was not to take a vacation and sit on the beach contemplating my navel, it was refocusing spending more time coaching. The Venice Volleyball team starts district playoffs today as the number one seed. I can’t believe we are three weeks for the end of volleyball season. Venice baseball training has gone well. We have made some great progress. Age 14 to 18 year old boys are such an open book; you can’t help but make them better. I started coaching a twice a week soccer speed session with a group of U14 girls. It was as yogi Berra said deja vu all over again. When I went out to the field to set up it was as if I had never left, out there were the same soccer trainers doing the same drills they did 15 years ago when my daughter started playing soccer. They teach the drills disconnected from the game. The drills would be effective if the game were played in a phone booth. The kids are amazed by the speed sessions; they recognized right away that what we are doing was game like and most importantly related to the game. It is not that hard to do, watch the game you are preparing for and prepare for that game. Drills are neat, but do they connect to the game? They are not an end unto themselves; they must be a means to an end.
The absolute craziest thing I saw was a conditioning session with another team in the same age group. At least I assume it was “conditioning.” Here was this herd of pubescent girls all in soccer boots and shin guards slogging laps around the perimeter of the soccer complex. Every time they passed us the ground shook. Quality foot contacts? Related to the game? Hardly! Did they get tired? Probably. I can’t believe with what we know about conditioning this same crap continues to go on. They are actually setting these girls up for injury. They are making them slow and taking away their explosiveness. Somehow we must stop this!