I have been very pleased with the start of pre-season. The players are working hard and gellin'. The first day of afternoon practice was a scorcher--very hot and humid but the rest of the week wasn't bad weather-wise. Basically our schedule goes like this...we meet in the mornings at the Omaha Sports Complex at 147th and Giles here in Omaha for Xplosive Edge conditioning. We get back together at 2:30 for a meeting where we have done things like set goals, go over what I want to do for defense and distribute uniforms. Then from 4 to 6 we practice at CSM.
Coach Kim Matzen and I went to a conference in Indianapolis over the weekend. Coach Michelle was in charge of the team in our absence. Instead of practice on Saturday, the team went bowling. I am sorry I missed that because, as the team knows, I use my powers of sports psychology to excel at the sport of bowling. I hear that Jackie and Melissa made quite an impact at the lanes and were the leaders of the winning team. What did they win???? Kim promised to take them out for ice cream. A good time was had by all.
Moving on to a more serious note..one great thing that we have been able to do this year is finish our practices with a big game going 10 v 10. It has been a great opportunity for me to be able to watch players and start making decisions about who is going to start, etc.
Actually, my "starting philosophy" is kinda weird. I try not to put a whole lot of emphasis on "starters" and "non-starters." I do see benefit in identifying the top 12 to 14 or so players, ya. However, just because you begin the game on the field when the whistle blows, doesn't mean in my mind that you are necessarily one of the top 11. I may save a good player for later for tactical reasons. Here's the deal...it doesn't make sense to me to put the "strongest" players on the field at the beginning and then sub them out with "weaker" players so you get weaker as the game goes on. I want a balance. Also, I put parenthesis around the words "stronger" and "weaker" because some players are strong in some areas and weak in others.
For example, an opponent may prefer to send long air balls at our defense and run on to the ball. I need players in the back who can head the ball. My best header may not be the quickest player on the field or the most skilled but she needs to be in the game if the other team boots it high all the time.
One of the strengths of our current team is its diversity. I think there are players who will have specific strengths that we can take advantage of when the time is right. It should be awesome to see.
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