Recently, I met with Randy Waldrum, Head Coach of the Houston Dash, to discuss planning for preseason training. Our preseason begins March 14, with our first league match in April 16. This gives us about 5 weeks of formal preseason training, including a week long trip to Portland and two scrimmages against college teams. As we met and stated to plan, I came up with 5 things that we considered when developing our plan.
1. Duration of training camp
The duration of the training camp in days and weeks gives you an idea of how much training your team will be able to complete. Most teams have 3-4 weeks of preseason preparation. It is important to periodize the training loads, but at the same time ensure that tactical topics are covered. Mapping out the preseason training schedule by day on a spreadsheet helps to visualize the preparation time available.
2. Spacing of friendlies
It is definitely appropriate to have training matches during the preseason, both to assess the team’s progress an...
At the most recent NSCAA Convention in Baltimore, I had the opportunity to moderate roundtable discussions with Avram Grant, Stuart Pearce, and Michael O'Neill, all accomplished coaches at the club and international levels. While there were many interesting stories and experiences shared, there was one by Stuart Pearce from his career that stands out as something for coaches of all levels to contemplate.
Stuart told the audience of an incident early in his playing career when he was first selected to the England National team. I am writing from memory so I may not have every word recorded perfectly, but you will get the idea.
When Stuart got his first call up to the National Team, he was filled with doubt. He knew he was a good player, but he was not sure if he was of the level necessary to represent his country.
At the time, he was playing for Nottingham Forest, who was coached by Brian Clough. Stuart told the attendees of the time that he had gotten a call to report to Coach Clough's...