216 Days Until the Start of the 2017 Season

The 2016 season ended 73 days ago and we have 216 days until the 2017 season officially begins. The transitioning from review to preparation is underway. I am moving on from "why" Team 29 failed to meet some of my expectations to what is necessary for Team 30 to fulfill its potential.

Program > Team > Student / Athlete

I believe we are all better when we are servants to a greater good.  In my personal life, I strive to serve God. As stated on the introductory page to this site, God is first, family and friends are second and I am third.  God > Others > Me.  Team 29 of our program made strides in establishing Program > Team > Student / Athlete as the basic tenet of the Lima Senior Soccer program but we still have a ways to go before we can say this truly defines who we are.

To begin with, I am not convinced every student athletes appreciates or understands Program > Team > Student / Athlete.  Allow me to provide an example of what I am talking about; we established new academic standards for eligibility in 2016. Each student/athlete was required to maintain a "C" grade or above in each class in order to be eligible to participate. Still, when weekly academic reports were issued we had a handful of student athletes who failed to meet this standard. In this regard, those student athletes failed themselves, their team and the program.

In a school system absolutely loaded with athletic talent this is an all too common occurrence.  And completely unacceptable to me. Maintaining a "C" in academic classes is about two simple things completely within our control - attitude and effort.  We are simply asking our student athletes to be average n the classroom.  Some are making a choice not to do so and are thereby lcultureetting down their team and, by extension, the program not to mention themselves.

So, here lies the first hurdle we must clear in pursuit of establishing a Program > Team 30 > Student / Athlete culture.

Being sure to have our shirts or jerseys tucked in at all times.

By the end of the 2016 season we had become very good concerning this simple task.  Many of the players rebelled at this rule when it was first instituted, but eventually became compliant with it if not overly enthusiastic about it. Simply put, compliant is not good enough. Too many of our student / athletes failed to recognize the reasons behind mandating shirts be tucked in and in fact, ignored the rule whenever out of sight of the coaching staff.  When allowed to wear their jerseys to school on game day the majority failed to tuck the into their pants. And it was of no surprise when I recently attended an indoor game to see not a single player have their t-shirt tucked into their shorts.

What's the big deal?


We have a cheer we break huddles with: Prepare like Champions! Play like Champions! Become Champions! A big part of this is to look the part. We look the part, we begin believing. We begin believing and we begin acting the part. We begin acting like champions and we begin playing like champions. eventually we become champions.

Character is all about doing the right thing even when no one is watching.  We are not there yet as witnessed by having our jersey's hanging out during school hours. There was a failure to comprehend and understand the importance of living the role of champion 24 / 7 / 365.  This has extended to the off season as was recently witnessed at the indoor game.  They won the league championship with an undefeated season and will believe this is an accomplishment that invalidates the need to look the part failing to realize how they look not only impacts  how they feel about themselves but how others perceive them to be. Being a rag-tag group is perfectly fine if your highest aspiration is to win your rec league indoor grouping.  It's not nearly enough if you aspire to be the champions of the toughest scholastic soccer league in northwest Ohio.

Personal preference before TEAM interests and program well-being.

No one player is bigger than the TEAM and no team is bigger than the program.

Last winter I led a Leadership Class for many of our student / athletes. A main theme of this class was the importance of being a Servant Leader. The general premise of this is for the individual player to serve the TEAM and by extension have the TEAM serve the program.  We have made strides in this. There is also still work to be done here.

So much of what is discussed here is either or propositions

We should always strive for perfection. It may never be attained by greatness can be. We all make mistakes. Each mistake made is a learning opportunity. That is, we have a choice when a mistake is made - accept it or correct it. Our decision on how to handle a mistake, adversity, sets the course for who we will become.  If a mistake is not corrected, our forward progress is stopped. We plateau as a an individual and as a team. What we allow, will define who we will be.

Defining who we want to become as TEAM 30 will be the key to the 2017 season. Setting goals is a part of this process, Defining the process to be followed in achieving the goals set is a area we failed miserably in last season.  The goals set were within an established comfort zone. There would be minimal change required to reach these goals. They were safe goals. They accepted expected adversity as their lot and lacked true challenges to be overcome. They goals set were well within established comfort zones and lacked impetus to expand and grow, to improve.

These are the areas we will be concentrating on over the next 8 months. Can we step outside of our established comfort zones to set our goals AND define a process that will provide us a legitimate shot at achieving our goals?

Dare to dream big.

Work to make those big dreams come true.

That's what 2017 needs to be about.

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