I bumped into a parent as I was leaving the Complex, last night. I had coached her older daughter in U13 back in 2014, and we ended up talking Auburn Rec soccer for a long time. She knows soccer and what “good coaching” is, and we covered some of the same running themes I’ve discussed with other parents and coaches, this season.
At some point in our conversation she asked if we have ever considered some sort of “Preseason Camp” for our Rec leagues. This is one of the ideas I have on my long list of ideas, but was never so sure of its feasibility. It piqued my interest that a parent would bring it up, though, and I started thinking….
- A “Preseason Camp” has benefits for players, because they can meet and interact with their teammates, league-mates, and other coaches; and they would get some fundamental skills and knowledge to build on that season and beyond. It can help set a positive tone for their season.
- There are benefits for coaches, because we can demonstrate some of our curriculum and practice lessons plans, learn some “best practices”, and get to interact with one another.
- And for the entire program (including parents), it can be an important culture-building activity demonstrating “this is how we do things here.” For example, our players are not here to “Booooot it!” during games. 🙂 We’re teaching and learning soccer, having fun, and striving for a higher standard of play. And, we’re trying to keep players involved through their U19 years.
For scheduling, we could potentially use the fields and time slots for each respective league’s regular season games, so it’s a day and time that parents/coaches should already have available on their calendar. It would not conflict with coaches’ regular preseason practice time. And, this might be a perfect opportunity for our older U19 players who want to learn coaching to participate and interact with (and mentor) the younger players.
I figure we would host 3 or 4 “Preseason Camp” days per league. 1 hour each. Also, I think this concept might work best with U10 and U13s; maybe U16s and U19s.
FYI, this fall, we have 69 U10G, 98 U10B, 84 U13G, 106 U13B, 28 U16G, and 55 U16B. Spring season numbers should be approximately 80% of these.
What do you think?