Hollis-Brookline Cavaliers: My Site News: Highlights of our First Day of Tryouts

Monday, August 16
Highlights of our First Day of Tryouts

Awesome tryouts sessions today….

We had 38 warriors try-out today for the Hollis Brookline Girls 2010 Soccer program… Nine seniors; 10 juniors; 13 sophomores and six freshmen.  This was the largest turnout we’ve had in the seven years that Cruyff and I have been at Hollis!

We started the day by getting into the colors of our eight teams; arranged ourselves alphabetically and numbered ourselves accordingly.  We then played some numbers passing with eight balls moving at once amidst 38 players.  We stretched a little and talked to Caroline who told us she only cared about the person who was passing to her and the person to whom she was passing.  So, amidst the chaos of eight soccer balls among 38 players in half a field, Caroline simplified the game by getting in a good position to receive the ball (her role as “2nd attacker”) and to know where’s she’s going with the ball even before it shows up (the essence of the mental part of your first touch).  We played some more, stretched some more and then played some one-touch…. Yup, as figured many of us got a chance to work on our upper body strength paying the price of five push-ups for that second touch, or a stalled ball, or the clanging of the ball into another player…

We then got ourselves onto the 4v4 fields.  We had four fields set-up with Pugg goals, each field 30 yards wide x 40 yards long (a big space).  The “no-bibs” team of McHale, Lauren, Alicia B and Kerry ran the table with a 5-0 win over “numbered” yellow; a 2-1 win over blue; a 2-1 win over green and another 2-1 win over red.  The competition was fierce and we saw some lovely combination plays using the large space.

Then we took the trip to Carolina…  off came the pinnies, off came the shirts, and for Brittany, off came the shoes and socks.  The team record was set last year at 12… Caroline (quite appropriately) set the tempo early winning the first two sprints; Allie won the third with Caroline and Alyssa K close behind; Caroline took back the lead on the fourth; Barefoot Brittany won the fifth with an amazing dash – seemingly effortless.  At which point “Candy” said, “My Turn” and proceeded to set the tempo for Sprints 6, 7 and 8.  McHale then burst forth winning three of the next four, her string interrupted by Bri who just would not be second best.  Just behind McHale on sprints 9 and 10 was Colleen, a player new to HBHS soccer.  Running second or third for most of the sprints, Alyssa K then exerted her dominance on the 13th and 14th trials with Lindsey B in a close second.  Emily L also found her place in the top three on four or five of the sprints.

You did 14 Carolinas and I’m convinced if I had let you, 80% of you could have done 10 more.  Incredibly impressive display…  The distance covered was 1.27 miles in 16.4 minutes...  however, when you do the running Carolina-style it's a whole different ball game.

By far the best effort we’ve seen on Carolinas in my seven years at HBHS.  I could hear you urging each other on… I could see many of you step-up into a leadership role, as if to say, “Follow me, I’ll set the tempo”.  It was amazingly exhilarating to watch on so many levels.  

A couple of you were seen selling “BUICKS” or calling for “BRONTOSAURUSES”  (or was it like a cat who just swallowed a hair ball)… that said, you ran until you heaved… no shame in that.  You fought right up to the level of your ability.  Were all of us only able and willing to do so.

Then we played some “2-Hit Knock-out”.  With our trusty scorekeeper, Mo, keeping track of every hit on the ball, during the first round, where you received NO feedback from Cruyff or me, you scored on only 35.2% of the 159 attempts (an odd number, Mo?): 56 goals; 33 saves; 70 not on frame.

So, we chatted about this… recalibrated our expectations and agreed-upon the importance of concentration.  We then went on to hit 117 more balls (another odd number???) and put 68 on frame (58%) of which 55 scored (47.0%).  Certainly not what we would consider mid-season form.  We will work our butts off to create a scoring condition just like we presented to you today, and, in the first round we scored only 35% of the time!  Yikes! With training we will get this to 80%.  BUT, it will require each player to DECIDE to focus and concentrate.  You improved your goal scoring percentage by 33% just by focusing…  ‘nuff said!  ?

Our keepers, Amanda, Jenn and Natalie did a great job, stopping some point-blank shots, achieving a respectable 41% save to goal ratio.

Average juggles in am:  54.7  High: 187  Low: 11

We reconvened again around 6:15 pm with 37 players and, after getting our juggles out of the way, spent the first 20 minutes warming-up and stretching.  We arranged ourselves into the three pre-selected teams and proceeded to play 11 v 11 with Amanda in one goal and Coach Spargo in the other.

As could be expected our play initially, as we grew accustomed to each other was choppy and, somewhat frustrating.  The ball seemed to be given away cheaply as runs were mistimed and passes poorly aimed or weighted.  Play was cramped in small spaces and the possessing team always seemed outnumbered.

The most profound adjustment we made was my insistence that you play “two-touch”.  Oh my.  What a difference that made.  All of sudden the play opened-up, timing was in sync and some very creative combinations came to light.  Coupled with players’ willingness to play in the direction they were facing, we saw a powerful display of what the simple discipline of two-touch can do for us?  So, the question for the team is, “Why is 2-touch considered a ‘constraint’ on the game” when playing two-touch constrains nothing but liberates a wonderfully entertaining and purposeful brand of soccer?  Why isn’t 2-touch our unspoken, default position?  Why isn’t two-touch our going in position?  Make the decision and let me know…

We had a couple of injuries last night with Lauren and Karlie spending the evening becoming one with an ice pack.  
And, as is our tradition, what do we do on someone’s (Colleen’s in this case) birthday?  Yummy cookies!

Take aways:

1.  Two-touch gets everyone’s timing in sync and increases the speed of play.
2.  Undefended finishing must be 90% or greater on frame and 80% or greater in goal.  Today we saw about half of that.
3.  Come to the filed early and start your warm up as soon as possible.  We can’t spend enough time warming-up and stretching.

Average juggles in pm:  57.2  High: 325  Low: 14