It was never going to be easy… but we are making strides. The week started off in the wrong way. The kids didn’t pay any attention, were all over the place and not focused at all. The end result was that the skills session ended after 15 minutes and we switched over to only conditioning work.
They weren’t impressed.
That was Tuesday. It was followed by a SERIOUS talking to, some naming and shaming of the culprits and then laying it to bed 100%.
On Wednesday and Thursday, it was a totally different group of players that pitched up. They were focused and worked hard and I showered them with praise for their efforts.
It doesn’t happen in a day’s work. It is one brick at a time.
Shift in mindset
These kids come off a season where they lost everything. This didn’t just happen on the field. They lost self-confidence and hope along the way. Speaking to individual players they told me that after a while they just stopped trying.
The Tuesday circus was a symptom of this.
Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, the focus was more on skills improvement and helping them realize what they are capable of.
The focus of the training sessions
Every player had to be made aware of their abilities that had been buried deep down after a devastating season. Over the years many of them were also not allowed to express themselves on the field.
This is where some organized chaos comes in.
The drills for the training sessions were focused on mimicking game-specific situations. They were never the same and the kids were forced to think for themselves and act for themselves.
If they did well, I praised them. If they messed up, I said nothing or suggested what the better option might have been.
That sequence was rinsed and repeated again and again.
The week ended with some skillful displays from a number of players. Not close to the level we want to get to yet, but up to around the 50% mark.
The goal for the season is to get to accurate execution and good decision making at least 70% – 80% of the time.
It is almost crunch time!
We are one week out from trials. So no time to waste. The kids are getting excited and are challenging each other in practice.
Two weeks after trials it is time for their first match. A friendly against a school from rural South Africa that absolutely crushed them last year. The kids are almost exclusively from farming communities and stronger than your average kid.
Our performance on THAT day will set the tone for the season…