By Terry Jacoby
Kirk Brazeau, director of coaching of the Toledo Celtics Soccer Club, offers a one word guideline to working out and training before a season, during a season and after a season.
“Consistency,” he said. “Consistency of successful habits is definitely something that can have a tendency to be overlooked, especially during the off-season. While many of us immediately think of the consistency in our performances on the field as a player or coach, there is a real danger in losing consistency while you may be away from the field.”
Brazeau knows what he is talking about. Toledo Celtics SC is considered one of the best clubs in Ohio, with three of Brazeau’s teams reaching the US Youth Soccer Ohio North State Cup semifinals and two of them claiming OYSAN state championships.
Brazeau was named a 2016 US Youth Soccer Region II Boys Competitive Coach of the Year.
As a coach, he is looking for two things from his players at the start of any season: preparation and belief. He believes that players who are prepared are players who give themselves and others around them the best opportunity to develop.
“The benefits of preparation are often numerous, as the players develop their individual confidence and skill, show their teammates and program that they can be accountable and depended upon during the rigors of the season, and also inspire belief in what can be accomplished,” he said. “A team full of players who not only have belief in their individual capability, but also how that capability can be intertwined with teammates, gives a very exciting blueprint for any coach during an upcoming season.”
Brazeau is a big believer in the mental side of the ball. Not every player gets off on the right foot at the beginning of the season and the best mental approach to early season setbacks is to “remember how you got to this point.”
“This is always a tough conversation because often players just want so badly to be the best they can for themselves and for the team, and in these type of situations, it is more so combating the player questioning themselves mentally,” he said.
10 Tryout Tips
Be fit. Be sure to run and condition your body prior to tryouts so you are comfortable pushing yourself hours into a training session.
Eat healthy … and hydrate. Coaches want players to bring energy, and the best way to do that is eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water.
Get enough sleep. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by arriving at tryouts tired. Get eight hours of sleep per night in the week before.
Watch soccer. If you want to learn strategy and tactics, there’s no better way than to watch the top level of soccer on TV.
Be an active learner. When the coach is talking, make sure you’re paying attention and putting into practice the advice.
Inspire teammates. Coaches want to see positive energy. Cheer for your teammates, and offer encouragement to everyone.
Believe in yourself. Exude confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Coaches want players who can motivate themselves.
Show determination in adverse situations. Every soccer season will have its peaks and valleys. Show the coaches at tryouts that you will be strong in the valleys by being persistent.