This weekend we had a tough loss to take, but gained good insights on how to develop and improve as a squad.
Firstly, we will work on organization during set pieces, especially corners. There were a couple instances throughout the match where opposing players were unmarked in dangerous freekick situations or hanging around the box unmarked during a corner kick. We must make sure that we all have a targeted man to mark and there should be improved vocalization between our players and our goalkeeper who can see everything in front of him. The more disciplined we are in our own box, the less we will concede dangerous situations and less goals.
Second, we will work on our first touches and control of the ball. Our touches need to be precise so that we are capable of setting ourselves up for the best decisions and executions of plays. Players going forward need to get the ball in front of them and into a space where they can attack or create gaps for their supporting teammates to make their own runs. With our backs turned and players applying heavy pressure, our first touch needs to stay close to us so that we may properly possess the ball and then be quick to find the next pass. There were times where we gave up possession and lost opportunities going forward due to allowing the defensive pressure from the other team to force us into rushing decisions and to make plays that we were not aiming for. A piece of advice for this is for all our players to keep their heads on a swivel. Before receiving the ball, we should check our shoulders and be aware of space, our teammates, and defenders in order to make the best decision possible, and to play the ball faster under pressure since we would have already taken the time to decide what play is next. Also, players can work on this individually with passing drills at home, with the most simple one being passing the ball into a wall with different speeds and feet in order to feel more comfortable in the games.
Third, we must work on our mentality and commitment during games. We must commit to tackles and go into them strong. There were plenty of times when players mistimed tackles or go in half heartedly and we will work on that in the upcoming training sessions. We should have an unbreakable desire to win the ball back in any possible way, as quick as possible and we must go through with our decisions once we make them. Especially when it comes to the defense, we need strong bodies and hearts to stand up against the opponents and encourage the rest of the team to play hard and be an assertive squad. This will benefit us as a group immensely and will help us play with a more proactive style rather than a reactive one, which can make the differences in big games.
While that is what we will work on going forward, the boys showed great vision on the attack and had very good link plays throughout the match. Our wide players and strikers were able to get through the defense and we saw good runs being made, as well as great attempts for long balls and switching the field. We encourage the boys to keep this up, especially as it is a great way to get out of pressure and catch teams in situations that they don’t want to be in.
Wednesday at training, we will be discussing with the boys our decision for the third captain of the squad. Coach Nate and I have been watching the boys attitude, commitment, and leadership for the past couple weeks and have gained great insight on who we think will help organize this squad to be the best that we can and to help everyone reach their potentials.
Now for something off the pitch, after discussing with the boys before the game on Saturday, I have decided that we will create a Discord server for the boys to interact on. Discord is a communications app (can be used on both mobile phones and computers) that is similar to skype, and it allows the boys and us coaches to talk altogether and send various pieces of information where they can easily access it. The boys brought to my attention how much they like video games and after some thought, I decided it would be a great way of getting the team to bond off the pitch and build a strong chemistry that will transfer to the pitch. We want to encourage a brotherhood type feeling and create a comfortable environment for the boys so they will stand up for each other and work their hardest for the unit. Also, this channel will allow Coach Nate and I to get the boys involved in watching professional soccer via online streams we can all watch together and by linking videos and activities to encourage learning how to improve from the best of the best.
This is the link for the Discord Server, please have a look into what the app offers and be sure to let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. We will wait to roll this app out to the boys until we have some team protocols in place surrounding how we intend to use it: https://discord.gg/Ef8h2h
Thank you to all and we look forward to seeing everyone soon!
Coach Dani, Coach Nate