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Kristin Englehart, Girls DOC
The teams that I have coached know all about “training on your own.” This is one of the first lessons that I teach my teams.
I made my first premier team (Santa Rosa United) and fell in love with soccer when I was 12 years old, although the only reason that I made that team was because of my speed. I was way behind the curve compared to my teammates who had grown up as one-sport athletes, training year-round and preparing for premier soccer. I remember my first team practice like it was yesterday. We worked on passing patterns, and I was so focused on my first touch that I wasn’t able to remember the patterns. Since I had decided that I wanted to go as far as I possibly could in the sport, I had A LOT of catching up to do. So began the next ten years of training on my own.
Our Technical Director, Dan McAllister, has already posted some amazing resources under “Technical Training” on our MFJ website that you can use to help plan your individual sessions. I highly encourage you to use these resources. I think it could be helpful for you to get a glimpse of what this may actually look/feel like on a daily basis.
Quite honestly, none of the games, tournaments, practices, lectures or team meetings taught me as much as I learned through training on my own. Based on my own experience, here are some tips for training on your own:
1) Know WHY you’re training. Your long-term goal will be the only thing that gets you out there some days.
2) Make a plan for your training and stick to it.
3) Don’t make excuses. I trained before school. I trained in hotel parking lots when we were on vacation. I trained on Christmas day. Every day counts!
4) It’s not glamorous. I worked on dribbling cuts and turns in my dark and dreary garage on winter days. I would reach for that last touch when juggling, and the ball would knock my dad’s tools off the wall, crash into trashcans and land behind bikes and lawn mowers. I once did a 25 minute training in the corner of an airport terminal while waiting to board a plane!
5) Push yourself. Set goals during the actual training session as well. For example, I wouldn’t allow myself to go back in the house before I broke my juggling record. I had to hit a certain amount of targets when working on shooting and finishing, or I would run sprints.
6) Use a wall! This was the BEST thing that I did for my game when growing up. You can use a handball court, a racquetball court, a garage door or a brick wall. Work on 1 and 2-touch passing, receiving balls out of the air, turning with the ball and more!
7) Lastly, of course it’s hard. It can be boring, repetitive, even painful. The trick is pushing past that. You’re working toward your goals and dreams!
‘The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when no one else is watching.” - Anson Dorrance