Cracking the Coach Code: Do I really have to play ALL YEAR?!
Oh those rumors! They sure do have a life of their own and who knows where they start? I’ve heard some of the craziest rumors since I began coaching, especially at the high school level. I’ve decided to put the rumors to rest, for all of us coaches out there who are shaking our heads in disbelief of the madness, one misled topic at a time. I know, I know, that player will swear up and down that the coach said word for word whatever the rumor is, but hey, you should hear what the players tell us their parents and teachers said… 😀
The most popular rumor that circulates amongst high school programs everywhere, is that if a player doesn’t play on a club team- or more specifically, a very particular club team, or play year round- then they won’t make the high school team. Much to the frustration of parents everywhere who are hoping for a vacation once in a while, or just a break from the travel insanity, this rumor gets everyone pretty riled up. I of course, can’t speak for all coaches, but it’s probably fair to say that the majority of coaches are on the same page here.
What most coaches are REALLY saying to your player: You can’t sit around all summer by the pool getting tan, lay around all winter in front of the tv eating nachos, leave your lax stick in a closet, and then come out and expect to play at the same level you left the last season. Or maybe you have a job, community service, missionary trips, dog walking, ACT tests, etc. and barely have time to sleep– you still need to train for the upcoming season at some point if you don’t want to start all over again with your hard earned skills. We fully expect (and need in order to build our programs) that players come back the next season a little better than they left the last season, or please, at least not worse! They are a year older, stronger and have had lots of time to improve, we’re only talking about an hour or two a week. That means putting a reasonable amount of time into conditioning, stick work, a little film studying and hopefully hitting the weight room. That’s hardly asking a player to play year round, give up life and commit to any club teams. Yes, that coach likely said that a great option to keep those skills is on an off season club team, and sure, there are teams we prefer because we agree with that team’s coaching philosophies or maybe several team members already play with that team. But honestly, here is what almost any varsity coach is going to admit:
How you get yourself better in the off season is totally up to you. Whether you visualize and meditate your way there, play nonstop travel ball, go to a camp or clinic, hire a trainer, play wall ball in the back yard, or wish it from a genie in a lamp, the bottom line is– we want to see your best at tryouts, that’s what we’re looking for. Do I care how you got there if whatever you do to prepare is effective? Well that’s gonna be a big NOPE. So, pick something reasonable that you enjoy, and that works with you and your family’s schedule, finances, etc, and well..just do it…(thanks Nike!)