Spending some time at the NSCAA Convention in Los Angeles this past week I came away having benefitted from attending. Here are a collection of a few observations made;
Coaching Sessions – Everyone has opinions on what makes a good session and people tend to vote with their feet. I was at one session delivered by a coach from a pro club that was packed and by 15 minutes in it was half empty. If you look deeper you could say that it is a good thing that coaches can recognize that a session isn’t working, but do we have the foresight to change it if we were the ones delivering it. It also brought up the question of training space and do we as coaches have enough space to deliver certain topics. I bet that many coaches are training crossing and finishing to small goals in an area that isn’t as wide as the field your team normally plays on. The challenge is to always make the sessions relevant and relatable to the game itself.
Sports Science – The ever increasing acknowledgement of sports science and how it can improve and impact our game was great to see. If we all deliver similar sessions then what gives our players the edge over opponents – is it our development of the optimal training and game mindset? How much of impact are slight changes in nutrition? What do we do to recover quicker? The importance of periodization in training and across the whole season!
Technology – There was a huge amount of computer programs designed to manage players and monitor their development – which is fantastic but the hope is that they are effectively used by the right programs. Technology is meant to make our lives easier so I would say that when looking for programs to use to write sessions, manage teams, monitor players, train control, develop reactions etc then they need to add value to the process and not eat into valuable training/game time.
Big Business – You only have to look at the scale of the convention and the exhibitors to see the money that is involved in soccer….one exhibitor was showcasing and selling a piece of training equipment in excess of $8000 in price.
Opportunities like the convention should be taken to their fullest extent – watch training sessions, go to lectures, talk soccer and come away and reflect on what you have learnt and how that will change the way you coach and deliver your sessions.