5 Coaching Tips for Maintaining Intensity in Training
All teams are at risk of running into a moment in their season when intensity in training starts to wane, be it from fatigue, injuries to members of the team, or potentially a run of bad results that zap the energy from the squad, creating negative clouds in the atmosphere.
This can happen to any team at any level, and there are ways to correct it if you go about it in the right way.
Here are five ideas for maintaining intensity in your training sessions.
1. Remind Players of Their Goals
If you've started out your preseason and early practices the right way, and made sure that all players on the team have written down their individual and team goals, mid-way through the season when intensity starts to go missing is a great time to pull out a few of the player's goal-papers and have them read aloud to the squad.
It might seem like a loss of valuable practice time, but representing the goals in the group setting is a good method for reinvigorating the competitive fire needed to reach the goals the players set for themselves.
2. Reward Effort
Competition can and should be incorporated into many of the drills or small-sided-games you put your team through, reward the "winning" team with kudos and plaudits, and make the group that lost do work, like quick sets of push-ups or sit-ups.
That way you'll raise the expectation for effort and the players will put more work into the tasks at hand.
3. Connect Playing Time to Training Well
It's pretty basic, remind your players that if they want to be starters for your competitive team, or get big minutes during games that matter, there is a direct correlation to those desires and the amount of work and effort put into training.
Remind your players that those who are engaged at game speed, with game intensity, are the players that will stand-out and be called upon to represent the Club on match day.
4. Seek out Leaders
You may have already selected Captains for your squad, and plan on keeping them as such for the whole season, but it's always important to keep an eye on what kind of energy and importance your leaders have at the mid-way point in the season.
The initial luster of being selected as Captain can fade when things aren't going well, or even when they are, but true leaders step up the most in these moments.
It would serve your team well if you let all the players know that leaders are wanted, and always welcomed, and that no matter who wears the armband, leadership can and should come from multiples sources on the team.
5. Offer Stories of Great Inspiration
There are millions of people who go through testing situations every single day of their lives.
It's good to remind your players how lucky they are, and to remind them that there are thousands of young soccer players in the world who would give anything for the chances that they have.
Kids all around the world face hardship, so remind your players to be thankful for being selected for a fun competitive sports team, and to honor the game for those that aren't as fortunate by being fully committed and engaged with the sport each and every practice or game.