What to Bring / How to Prepare
First, players should dress appropriately for the weather and in a manner that won’t be a distraction:
- Warm weather: BSC practice jersey and soccer shorts (dress for soccer, not for the gym)
- Cool / cold weather: Warm-up jacket and pants (avoid hoodies) and other gear as appropriate
Regardless of weather, all players must wear shin guards, knee high soccer socks which cover the shin guards and soccer boots. In other words, come to play.
Second, bring a properly inflated ball to every practice. I may or may not bring balls (or an air pump) to each practice, thus players need to be responsible for bringing their own ball in good playing condition.
Third, bring a large water bottle. Sports drinks should be avoided unless they are cut 50/50 with water (few sports drinks are formulated or portioned in a manner appropriate / safe for a young athlete).
Finally, I require my players to:
- Wear their hair in a pony tail or braid (if they have long hair). It’s difficult to see and focus on the task at hand if hair is flying around or constantly being fussed at.
- Remove all jewelry (earrings, watches, bracelets, rings, etc.). This is a rule enforced by referees for matches and I believe in the same for practice purely from a safety stand point. The last thing I want to do is send a kid home with a giant tear in an ear where they got themselves caught on another player or some other similar, but entirely avoidable, injury.
As a competitive team, we will practice three times a week for 90 minutes. Sessions will start on time (meaning players need to be ready to go with boots on, shin guards in place, hair out of face, jewelry off and properly inflated ball in hand) and we will end on time. I ask that parents get their player to practice on time and, in exchange, I will ensure they go home on time.
Occasionally we will have special sessions coordinated by the Club or with other teams in the age group. If one of these special sessions causes a practice to be extended / shortened in duration; start at an unusual time; or take place at a different location, I will advise parents ahead of time so they can plan accordingly.
Regular Season Practice Attendance
Like school, attendance is extremely important: BSC’s Blast Competitive players are expected to prioritize their team’s activities and attend as many as possible during the 6 months of the year when we’re “in-season”. As mentioned above, during the regular season, the team will practice three times a week and these practices are mandatory:
- If a player misses one practice during the week, they will not start, but shouldn’t see a reduction in playing time.
- If a player misses two practices, they will likely not play in the match that week.
Absences due to other sports, vacations, music lessons, etc. are not excused as a player choosing competitive soccer is a player choosing to prioritize this activity over other pastimes. Soccer is a team sport and each player’s efforts are important not just for themselves, but also for the development of their teammates. If a player isn’t keeping up with topics and working to develop alongside their teammates, they are hurting not just themselves, but the team as well.
The only “excused absences” are due to conflict with a school activity or if a practice has to be rescheduled to a different time due to weather or other unexpected circumstances and this change results in a unresolvable conflict. If a player has been ill and misses one or more practices, they probably shouldn’t play in a match for health reasons (such absences will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis).
If a player needs to miss practice, regardless of reason, parents should communicate the absence ahead of time so I have the option of adjusting session plans to accommodate fewer players.
Goalkeeper is an incredibly important position with a unique technical skill set. Players who choose to pursue this role will have the opportunity receive specialty training sessions outside the regular team sessions. What this means, and the potential additional commitment that comes with being a goalkeeper, will be discussed with parents and players on a case-by-case basis.
As the parent of a goalkeeper, I have a deep appreciation for the position and will dedicate additional time / effort to helping goalkeepers develop.
Rain or shine, the team will practice provided the fields have not been closed by the city and the weather conditions aren’t dangerous (e.g. very high winds). Soccer is an outdoor sport and we live in Colorado where weather, particularly in the spring, can be very unpredictable. Players need to be accustomed to playing in cold weather, in light rain and in the wind as we’ll have matches in these conditions. During inclement weather, players should come to practice appropriately attired (wind breakers, light gloves, stocking caps, warm-ups, etc.).
There may be some situations when bad weather and likely field closures can be predicated in advance. If this happens, I may seek out an alternate indoor training location for the same day or a different day that week. Times may also vary if alternate practice plans have to be put into place. If such changes need to happen, I will communicate those changes out to the team as early as feasible and appreciate parents’ understanding when short notice adjustments need to be made.
Kids will be kids and will mess around a bit. This is expected and a (fun) part of coaching young players.
However, kids screaming, having fits, showing aggression to teammates and so forth will not be tolerated. Players may be excluded from practice activities. In the worst scenario, parents may be contacted to retrieve a player from practice. Repeated incidents may result in the player being asked to leave the team.
Typically, our regular season practices will run during the following windows:
- Fall: Aug 1st to Oct 31st; fall may be extended into Nov depending on league schedules and to accommodate make-up games if there is bad weather during the season
- Spring: Mar 1st to May 31st
These windows are approximate and will vary slightly from year to year. See also the “Annual Cycle” section on the Team page.
Kids (not to mention coaches and parents) do need a break. Kids need time to heal and mentally rejuvenate themselves from activity packed soccer seasons. However, completely stepping away from soccer for months at a time is not a good idea. Just like a student returning to school after a summer spent away from the books, a lot of time can be wasted on “remedial” training if players aren’t getting a few touches during the off season.
During the Summer, I highly endorse the following activities:
- 1 week of summer camp (see Appendix: Summer Camps)
- Broomfield Fives
- 3 v 3 tournaments
- Individual skills tutoring
I will help organize teams for Broomfield Fives and can support the other items where parents and players have questions or need help. I will also organize occasional team training sessions and, for those interested, I can / will run technical tutoring sessions for smaller groups. The bulk of these activities will be optional, but recommended.
During the Winter, we’ll have an off period following the Fall season, then pick things up around Christmas time:
- Potential for one or more indoor tournaments (typically these are single day events)
- Indoor practices from early Jan to late Feb (typically just 1 or 2 nights during the week indoors with the potential for occasional outdoor sessions as weather permits; the Club usually has access to various turf fields making weeknight evening sessions under lights and weekend day sessions possible)
- Indoor League (soccer or futsal)
- GO Soccer
- Potential for the Impact Sports speed and agility program
Aside from the indoor practices, winter activities will be optional, but recommended. Like many other families, we ski. I moved to Colorado, in part, for the skiing and wouldn’t ever ask any player to give it up just to play an hour long indoor game on Saturday or Sunday.
Additional guidance around off season activities can be found in the “Off Season Fitness” section on the Players page.
- The Blast Striker Camp and BSC-Tottenham Hotspur International Player Development Camp (new for 2016 Summer) are both convenient and high quality offerings from BSC
- BSC Pro League Camp will NOT be offered for 2016 Summer
- Coerver’s Regular Summer Camp is another great option and there is usually a camp in Broomfield each summer
- There are also a range of other well regarded day camps and sleep away camps offered by the University of Colorado, Regis University, Colorado School of Mines, University of Denver and the Air Force Academy
- For goalie-specific training, consider the BSC Pro League Goalkeeper Camp, the SoccerPlus Goalkeeper Day Academy or the Core Soccer Academy goalie program