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10 Ways to Manage High School vs. Club Conflicts Pixel
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Post by Guest on 17/01/11, 01:17 am

More great reading from SoccerAmerica.com


By Chris Hummer

Whether you're a coach or a parent, below are 10 things to think about (because everyone loves lists) when it comes to handling the high school vs. club conflict. These are areas where I see the most mistakes in helping over-worked players get through the season healthy.

1. Unnecessary Running
The kids are playing every day -- they’re already in shape. You don’t need them to run sprints to help win the next game, or worse -- threaten them with running if they don’t win. You need them to be rested, so they have the energy to perform when it counts. If you're going to “run” them at all, use a ball.

2. Shorter Practices
If the pros can do what they need to do in 90 minutes, so can you. Anything more than 90 minutes means you’re not efficient enough in progressing through your practice plan (usually because there is no plan). That extra 30 minutes (or more?) saved from the more typical 2-hour sessions is valuable time players could be using for homework among other things.

3. Manage Playing Time
Every coach likes their best players on the field, but you need to manage their minutes. A two-goal lead in the second half should be more than enough cushion for a good coach to give their best players a rest. And so is being down three goals against a team that is clearly superior. The minutes add up, and tired legs equal more chance to get injured.

4. Injury Recovery
We all have players who will chew their own foot off to stay in the game. We also all have players who think a slight twinge is an ambulance-requiring injury. The trick is knowing your players, and knowing when it’s OK to get them back in the game. But the last thing you should do is ignore a trainer's requests, or discourage your players from seeing a doctor because you’re worried the doctor will only tell them to stay out of the game longer.

5. Team Tactics
I rarely see a team that doesn’t chase the game full speed, the whole way to the opposing keeper, every time they don’t have the ball. This can be effective for winning when you have unlimited subs and/or an opponent who turns the ball over constantly in its own end. But it’s tremendously taxing on the players, and also creates enormous gaps in your team shape if not done properly. A lot of times it’s much better to let the teams come to you while you rest, letting their backs come up to midfield to create space behind them. Then, when you do get behind them, your forwards will have the energy to win the race and put the ball in the net.

6. Too Many Rules
Making a lot of rules about what players have to attend, or what they’re allowed to do often places players in a position where you force them to lie to you. You can’t be a high school coach and say “you guys are too tired, no one is allowed to play club this weekend,” and expect your players to skip their state cup games. You also can’t be a club coach and say “This practice is 100 percent mandatory,” because odds are some players have a high school game, or have 4 hours of homework due the next day after spending the last three days on a field, on a bus, or in a car. In the end, your credibility as a coach is undermined more by your inability to actually enforce your punishments -- just so you can have 11 players on the field -- than it is by being flexible with your players’ unique life situations at the risk of some players feeling like you’re playing favorites.

7. Overscheduled
Team building is a must. Watching film is helpful. Accepting a last-minute weekend scrimmage invitation on a artificial turf field when your league game is rained out is too good to pass up. And fundraising is a necessary evil. But think twice about too many pasta dinners, group outings, meetings, or community service. These are all great things, but the kids already have no extra time. Coaches who try to dominate their players’ schedules are usually just creating busy work so they can feel like they’re in control. During the high school season, do what you need to do away from the practice field, not what you want to do.

8. Rest and Recovery
Some scenarios to think about.

* Next time your fields are closed due to rain, cancel practice.
* Your last high school game was Friday, and your next is Wednesday, so on Monday you plan to work the team hard. But you forgot most kids just played two club games over the weekend.
* Club teams that have weekday practices know their players just came from at least a 90-minute practice at high school, but you still work them hard and yell about doing more.

Any of these sound familiar? Players have to rest and recover. (See above for ideas for resting.) The recovery starts on the final whistle. After every game and practice, players should be static stretching their big muscles for several minutes. Their feet should be in the air so the blood circulates through the heart. And recent best practices from the U.S. Soccer Federation say you don’t need the “cool down run,” because they just got done running. The sooner the players get stretching, the less chance of the lactic acid building up and the sooner their muscles will start to heal.

9. Nutrition
You wouldn’t put milk in a Ferrari as ask why the engine didn’t start. So why do so many coaches completely ignore proper athlete nutrition and hydration? There’s an entire industry surrounding sports nutrition, so I won’t go into too many details here, but if you’re not thinking about it and putting it into practice, you’re not doing everything you can to help your players – let alone win games. The cheat-sheet version: only eat what you can buy at Whole Foods and drink water till your pee is “light” in color (assuming you’re not on any medication or vitamins, which will change the color).

10. Injury Prevention
Lots of what was discussed above helps with injury prevention. In fact, preventing injuries is pretty much the whole point of this article. The more you can prevent injuries, the more you’ll get out of your players. It’s that simple, yet one of the best ways to both prevent injuries and win soccer games is completely ignored or misunderstood by so many coaches. Active warmups have been common “best practice” knowledge for many years now, yet most teams I play against or see preparing for games – especially in high school – still have players in big circles doing static stretching before the game. This is a huge mistake. Same as nutrition, look it up and you’ll find many articles and books. The cheat-sheet version: Run to get the muscles warm, then stretch them “actively” in motions that will be used in the game.

These are all drawn from experiences, observations, classes, and stories shared with fellow coaches and industry professionals. I’m not perfect. I’m not always right. And, I’m probably missing some obvious points. But hopefully these will help everyone who reads them find a way to put the players' well-being higher up on their list of priorities. The secret message to the "ego coaches" behind all of these suggestions is in the end, they’ll help players win.

(Chris Hummer, a longtime player, coach, and soccer business executive, is the editor of the PotomacSoccerWire.com, where this article first appeared. Hummer, who has a USSF B license, is the assistant director of coaching for youth club FC Virginia and head coach of the Potomac Falls High School Girls team in Sterling, Va.)

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Post by ontheball on 17/01/11, 08:02 am

That was worth the read. Thanks for posting. It's going to be an interesting experiment this first year of high school and club ball. I am keeping my fingers crossed the dd can hold up and stays injury free.
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Post by Guest on 17/01/11, 09:34 am

This is great but I have yet to meet or hear of a coach that actually considers this. Club coaches don't care what goes on at school and school coaches don't care about what goes on with the club.

And to you coaches, don't come on here and try to say you’re not like that. We know the truth, we have kids that either play for you or have played for you. As small of a world as it is for parents and players it is even smaller for coaches. HaHa!!

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Post by stillyuk on 17/01/11, 10:35 am

High school team is for fun and school pride only. Soccer wise, it's....how to be diplomatic here.....not good.
That mantra should guide your thinking.
Club should not be practicing during majority of high school season, so there shouldn't be many conflicts.
If there is a conflict that cannot be resolved, and you have realistic hopes of playing NCAA D-1 soccer, you're handicapping yourself by choosing high school over club.
If you're a high level D-1 recruit, we're probably not having this conversation, as you already know the score.

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Post by lumarkhood on 17/01/11, 12:05 pm

Great list. Thanks for posting.

Agree with previous post. High School is for fun. It allows rec and select players to build friendships and compete on behalf of their school...get a letter jacket!


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Post by letemplay on 17/01/11, 01:06 pm

Perspective from a different region of the US. Have a friend who's dd plays for a San Diego Surf ECNL team and her club team takes a break during high school to allow club players to play for their high school team with minimal conflicts. They have minimal practices and no league games. As it was explained to me there is no spring league play to allow for players to play high school. Directed by the competitive equivalent to our LHGCL would be my guess. Club teams can play in tourneys if they want to but as it was explained, her team at least, for the most part is inactive until high school is over. The reason we were discussing this very topic was his dd team was in North Carolina recently for a tourney and had conversations with some NTX parents there who were "discussing" Very Happy this topic. I am not saying it is wrong or right but sounds like the competitive organisation, not the coaches, takes a role in conflict management there.

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Post by skippy on 17/01/11, 06:03 pm

Several states have only one season for select soccer, fall or spring with high school soccer taking place the opposite season. Playing high school soccer in the winter has been a huge disappointment for us because our daughter had to choose between high school basketball and soccer. Before moving here, she planned to play select soccer, high school basketball then high school soccer. A lot of kids do well with this system because basketball gives the girls a soccer break while keeping them in shape. Her club team schedules out of town tournaments around the high school seasons so there won't be very much conflict. And, we only have to pay for one season of club!! I personally would like to see the UIL and TAPPS change their soccer season to either fall or spring like the other states. I doubt the clubs would support this though because they would lose money.

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Post by 1st 2theball on 18/01/11, 11:03 am

stillyuk wrote:High school team is for fun and school pride only. Soccer wise, it's....how to be diplomatic here.....not good.
That mantra should guide your thinking.

Very well said....i always (quietly) tell myself once High school season is over.."It's time for some good soccer"..LOL

During HS its usually "let's kick the ball way down that way and then try to get it"... Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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Post by soccerinsane on 18/01/11, 12:29 pm

And the crowd said, "amen!"
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Post by Guest on 18/01/11, 12:35 pm

1st 2theball wrote:
stillyuk wrote:High school team is for fun and school pride only. Soccer wise, it's....how to be diplomatic here.....not good.
That mantra should guide your thinking.

Very well said....i always (quietly) tell myself once High school season is over.."It's time for some good soccer"..LOL

During HS its usually "let's kick the ball way down that way and then try to get it"... Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
That is usually how most youth soccer is played. With the exception of the Top teams from High School and Select teams.

I also believe high school soccer is for fun.
I wonder if High school Football, Baseball, Basketball, Track, Volleyball are for fun? I guess they all have Select Programs also?

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Post by Lawnboy on 18/01/11, 03:27 pm

#2420 wrote:More great reading from SoccerAmerica.com


By Chris Hummer

Whether you're a coach or a parent, below are 10 things to think about (because everyone loves lists) when it comes to handling the high school vs. club conflict. These are areas where I see the most mistakes in helping over-worked players get through the season healthy.

1. Unnecessary Running
The kids are playing every day -- they’re already in shape. You don’t need them to run sprints to help win the next game, or worse -- threaten them with running if they don’t win. You need them to be rested, so they have the energy to perform when it counts. If you're going to “run” them at all, use a ball.

2. Shorter Practices
If the pros can do what they need to do in 90 minutes, so can you. Anything more than 90 minutes means you’re not efficient enough in progressing through your practice plan (usually because there is no plan). That extra 30 minutes (or more?) saved from the more typical 2-hour sessions is valuable time players could be using for homework among other things.

3. Manage Playing Time
Every coach likes their best players on the field, but you need to manage their minutes. A two-goal lead in the second half should be more than enough cushion for a good coach to give their best players a rest. And so is being down three goals against a team that is clearly superior. The minutes add up, and tired legs equal more chance to get injured.

4. Injury Recovery
We all have players who will chew their own foot off to stay in the game. We also all have players who think a slight twinge is an ambulance-requiring injury. The trick is knowing your players, and knowing when it’s OK to get them back in the game. But the last thing you should do is ignore a trainer's requests, or discourage your players from seeing a doctor because you’re worried the doctor will only tell them to stay out of the game longer.

5. Team Tactics
I rarely see a team that doesn’t chase the game full speed, the whole way to the opposing keeper, every time they don’t have the ball. This can be effective for winning when you have unlimited subs and/or an opponent who turns the ball over constantly in its own end. But it’s tremendously taxing on the players, and also creates enormous gaps in your team shape if not done properly. A lot of times it’s much better to let the teams come to you while you rest, letting their backs come up to midfield to create space behind them. Then, when you do get behind them, your forwards will have the energy to win the race and put the ball in the net.

6. Too Many Rules
Making a lot of rules about what players have to attend, or what they’re allowed to do often places players in a position where you force them to lie to you. You can’t be a high school coach and say “you guys are too tired, no one is allowed to play club this weekend,” and expect your players to skip their state cup games. You also can’t be a club coach and say “This practice is 100 percent mandatory,” because odds are some players have a high school game, or have 4 hours of homework due the next day after spending the last three days on a field, on a bus, or in a car. In the end, your credibility as a coach is undermined more by your inability to actually enforce your punishments -- just so you can have 11 players on the field -- than it is by being flexible with your players’ unique life situations at the risk of some players feeling like you’re playing favorites.

7. Overscheduled
Team building is a must. Watching film is helpful. Accepting a last-minute weekend scrimmage invitation on a artificial turf field when your league game is rained out is too good to pass up. And fundraising is a necessary evil. But think twice about too many pasta dinners, group outings, meetings, or community service. These are all great things, but the kids already have no extra time. Coaches who try to dominate their players’ schedules are usually just creating busy work so they can feel like they’re in control. During the high school season, do what you need to do away from the practice field, not what you want to do.

8. Rest and Recovery
Some scenarios to think about.

* Next time your fields are closed due to rain, cancel practice.
* Your last high school game was Friday, and your next is Wednesday, so on Monday you plan to work the team hard. But you forgot most kids just played two club games over the weekend.
* Club teams that have weekday practices know their players just came from at least a 90-minute practice at high school, but you still work them hard and yell about doing more.

Any of these sound familiar? Players have to rest and recover. (See above for ideas for resting.) The recovery starts on the final whistle. After every game and practice, players should be static stretching their big muscles for several minutes. Their feet should be in the air so the blood circulates through the heart. And recent best practices from the U.S. Soccer Federation say you don’t need the “cool down run,” because they just got done running. The sooner the players get stretching, the less chance of the lactic acid building up and the sooner their muscles will start to heal.

9. Nutrition
You wouldn’t put milk in a Ferrari as ask why the engine didn’t start. So why do so many coaches completely ignore proper athlete nutrition and hydration? There’s an entire industry surrounding sports nutrition, so I won’t go into too many details here, but if you’re not thinking about it and putting it into practice, you’re not doing everything you can to help your players – let alone win games. The cheat-sheet version: only eat what you can buy at Whole Foods and drink water till your pee is “light” in color (assuming you’re not on any medication or vitamins, which will change the color).

10. Injury Prevention
Lots of what was discussed above helps with injury prevention. In fact, preventing injuries is pretty much the whole point of this article. The more you can prevent injuries, the more you’ll get out of your players. It’s that simple, yet one of the best ways to both prevent injuries and win soccer games is completely ignored or misunderstood by so many coaches. Active warmups have been common “best practice” knowledge for many years now, yet most teams I play against or see preparing for games – especially in high school – still have players in big circles doing static stretching before the game. This is a huge mistake. Same as nutrition, look it up and you’ll find many articles and books. The cheat-sheet version: Run to get the muscles warm, then stretch them “actively” in motions that will be used in the game.

These are all drawn from experiences, observations, classes, and stories shared with fellow coaches and industry professionals. I’m not perfect. I’m not always right. And, I’m probably missing some obvious points. But hopefully these will help everyone who reads them find a way to put the players' well-being higher up on their list of priorities. The secret message to the "ego coaches" behind all of these suggestions is in the end, they’ll help players win.

(Chris Hummer, a longtime player, coach, and soccer business executive, is the editor of the PotomacSoccerWire.com, where this article first appeared. Hummer, who has a USSF B license, is the assistant director of coaching for youth club FC Virginia and head coach of the Potomac Falls High School Girls team in Sterling, Va.)

Please share your thoughts!

Yeah, we already picked up on that.

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Post by Guest on 19/01/11, 09:44 am

skippy wrote:Several states have only one season for select soccer, fall or spring with high school soccer taking place the opposite season. Playing high school soccer in the winter has been a huge disappointment for us because our daughter had to choose between high school basketball and soccer. Before moving here, she planned to play select soccer, high school basketball then high school soccer. A lot of kids do well with this system because basketball gives the girls a soccer break while keeping them in shape. Her club team schedules out of town tournaments around the high school seasons so there won't be very much conflict. And, we only have to pay for one season of club!! I personally would like to see the UIL and TAPPS change their soccer season to either fall or spring like the other states. I doubt the clubs would support this though because they would lose money.


I hear ya. My dd has chosen to play basketball in HS and stay with club soccer since the overlap wont allow her to play Soccer in HS.

The sad thing is that there was a time when HS did matter. But club sports and us parents being willing to throw crazy money at them have changed everything.

Once again it comes down to us. Just like we complain that pro atheletes make so much but we still fill the stadiums to watch and buy the gear.

What's worse is that very few if any stadiums are sold out in the US for soccer. Even the top D1 college stadiums are not full. Pro stadiums are not full either but we still pay all this money for our kids to hopefully one day play in front of another empty stadium.

Can anyone explain that to me? Wouldn't we still have HS and college soccer even if club soccer didn't exist? The level of play might be lower but the same kids would be involved because atheletes are atheletes regardless of playing club or not. And we all would have the full college tuition saved up in the bank to pay for their educations.

My daughters middle school team had a roster of 20 and 17 of them played club. At this point we are paying just so she can make a middle school team.


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Post by 1st 2theball on 19/01/11, 11:53 am

#2420 wrote:
1st 2theball wrote:
stillyuk wrote:High school team is for fun and school pride only. Soccer wise, it's....how to be diplomatic here.....not good.
That mantra should guide your thinking.

Very well said....i always (quietly) tell myself once High school season is over.."It's time for some good soccer"..LOL

During HS its usually "let's kick the ball way down that way and then try to get it"... Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
That is usually how most youth soccer is played. With the exception of the Top teams from High School and Select teams.

I also believe high school soccer is for fun.
I wonder if High school Football, Baseball, Basketball, Track, Volleyball are for fun? I guess they all have Select Programs also?

Not sure what type of youth soccer you're used to watching...but with the team's that the dd has played with and against...it's usually more of a try to possess and then use that possesion to attack the net...kickball was left behind with rec soccer.

HS is all about having fun and being with friends..its the technical aspect that can sometimes leave a little to be desired.

For High school Football, Baseball, Basketball, Track, Volleyball being fun...i guess you'll have to try that question on another forum? Laughing
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Post by Guest on 19/01/11, 12:50 pm

1st 2theball wrote:
#2420 wrote:
1st 2theball wrote:
stillyuk wrote:High school team is for fun and school pride only. Soccer wise, it's....how to be diplomatic here.....not good.
That mantra should guide your thinking.

Very well said....i always (quietly) tell myself once High school season is over.."It's time for some good soccer"..LOL

During HS its usually "let's kick the ball way down that way and then try to get it"... Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
That is usually how most youth soccer is played. With the exception of the Top teams from High School and Select teams.

I also believe high school soccer is for fun.
I wonder if High school Football, Baseball, Basketball, Track, Volleyball are for fun? I guess they all have Select Programs also?

Not sure what type of youth soccer you're used to watching...but with the team's that the dd has played with and against...it's usually more of a try to possess and then use that possesion to attack the net...kickball was left behind with rec soccer.

HS is all about having fun and being with friends..its the technical aspect that can sometimes leave a little to be desired.

For High school Football, Baseball, Basketball, Track, Volleyball being fun...i guess you'll have to try that question on another forum? Laughing
I don't watch soccer at all!

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Post by dumbdad9596 on 21/01/11, 12:27 pm

Can't speak to girls HS football, but Volleyball and Softball have VERY organized club leagues and like soccer depending on the school club players can dominate the roster.. One of the local volleyball clubs even has its own multi-court facility. Girls Basketball also has club teams that play during the HS off season. A few girls on our track team have a private coach. There was a big stink in Lancaster last year or the year before between club track girls and their HS girls track coach. They disagreed on the workout schedule and the HS coach wanted to ban contact with the club coach during the season. Unlike our friendly HS from FM and Allen, Lancaster usually has a top 5 state or better girls track team.

According to RISE the winter-playing HS Soccer states are Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas.

As a California emigrant, the thing I don't like about Texas HS sports is the UIL is so unfriendly to private schools. In California regional and state championships, everybody competes against everybody.
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Post by Lawnboy on 21/01/11, 05:14 pm

dumbdad9596 wrote:Can't speak to girls HS football, but Volleyball and Softball have VERY organized club leagues and like soccer depending on the school club players can dominate the roster.. One of the local volleyball clubs even has its own multi-court facility. Girls Basketball also has club teams that play during the HS off season. A few girls on our track team have a private coach. There was a big stink in Lancaster last year or the year before between club track girls and their HS girls track coach. They disagreed on the workout schedule and the HS coach wanted to ban contact with the club coach during the season. Unlike our friendly HS from FM and Allen, Lancaster usually has a top 5 state or better girls track team.

According to RISE the winter-playing HS Soccer states are Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas.

As a California emigrant, the thing I don't like about Texas HS sports is the UIL is so unfriendly to private schools. In California regional and state championships, everybody competes against everybody.

Just curious, are there any private schools large enough to qualify as 5A? I suspect not, so it's probably a moot point.

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10 Ways to Manage High School vs. Club Conflicts Empty Re: 10 Ways to Manage High School vs. Club Conflicts

Post by dumbdad9596 on 21/01/11, 05:46 pm

Dallas Jesuit and Strake Jesuit (Houston) are both 5A schools for purposes of the UIL. I believe technically they are 4A in size with 220-250 boys/class, but as part of the legal settlement allowing them to join the UIL they agreed to be 5A.

Dallas Jesuit won the boys 5A soccer title last year.
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10 Ways to Manage High School vs. Club Conflicts Empty Re: 10 Ways to Manage High School vs. Club Conflicts

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