Chapter 45: YOUR MOST ABUNDANT AND UNDERVALUED RESOURCE – ROOKIE: Surviving Your Freshman Year of College Soccer
You’re going to have a lot of teammates, and none of them are clones. They all bring something decidedly unique to the table. They all have something that got them to the college level. And you can learn something from each one of them.
I’ve had the opportunity to watch fantastic youth players arrive to the college level and stagnate almost immediately. But I’ve also watched role players evolve into college stars due to a steady improvement in their individual games. It’s remarkable how many of the players in the latter group began to resemble their more high-profile teammates in terms of their technical skill sets. Their 1v1 moves or the way they turned a ball or how they moved after a pass… it would often remind me of another (usually older) teammate. In a sense, they began to mirror the skill sets of the players who played the most minutes. Why? Because they saw something they liked from a teammate and decided to make it a part of their own games. Makes a lot of sense, right?
Someone on your team is going to have a phenomenal 1v1 move. Most of your teammates will say, “Wow, she sure is great at that move! I don’t know how she does it!” You, on the other hand, can take a radically different approach and simply ask her to teach you how she does it. If you can master that move, you’ve just added one more tool to your toolbox and became a better player in the process.
To improve at a noticeable level, you have to do more than just show up. Yes, you will naturally improve simply by playing every day and adjusting to the new speed of play, but that’s a slow climb. Wouldn’t you prefer to accelerate the process? Of course you would! And you can! You just need to study the best things that your teammates have to offer and then learn to do those things as well as they do.
Your teammates will give you a buffet of choices for technical improvements. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; just take the best parts of everybody else’s wheels! You’ll begin to do this anyway without even realizing it. The key is to do it while realizing it! The key is to enter college soccer with the premeditated idea of borrowing the best that your teammates have to offer and incorporating those things into your own game. The more tools you can add to your toolbox, the better player you will be. And remember, the best players play.
Coaches aren’t the only learning aids at your disposal. Pay attention to your teammates. Take their best ideas and add them to your game.
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