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Get Directions to <b>RSC Lightning'96</b>Rochester Local Weather
RSC Lightning'96
Ken Hernandez
1460 W. University Ave
Suite 203
Rochester, Michigan

Everybody shows to practice and matches on time.
1.   Everybody shows to practice and matches on time.

I.    To unexpectedly show up late hurts the team:
        A.   It deprives players of warming up AS a team and impairs team unity.
        B.   Valuable time is wasted in having to re-explain for 1 person's benefit what has already been explained to the rest of the team.
                i.   The rest of the team becomes frustrated and bored having to wait for the late player to be brought up to speed.
                ii. Both boredom and frustration are deadly to team moral.
        C.   Practice sessions are specifically designed for the number of players expected to attend. Absent or late players disrupt the design of the practice session which leads to wasted time while the coaching staff has to come up with an alternative practice plan.
                i.   The rest of the team becomes frustrated and bored having to wait for the new practice plan.
                ii. Both boredom and frustration are deadly to team moral.
II.    To miss a practice hurts the team and impairs the individuals ability to work with the team.
        A.   This is particularly true with set plays; corner kicks, free kicks, offside traps and other restarts. For example, if an off-side trap is called for and all players step up at the correct time EXCEPT 1 player (the player who missed the practice where we worked on the trap and so had no idea what we were doing), then the play remains onside and we could easily be faced with a 2-on-1 or 3-on-1 situation. And guess who the "1" is?

        Practices are not just haphazardly or randomly thrown together as different idea's pop into my mind. Every session is especially designed with a specific purpose. Often times they are designed as part of an overall progression meant to take place over several practices.
        My job is to teach you the game; The skills you need to play the game; How the game works; How to work together to beat your opponent. There is no way for me to do that if you are not there.

III.   Field time for matches is 45 minutes before the scheduled match time.
        A.   Pre-game warm-up is crucial to a successful match. By the time the match starts, you should be fully warmed up, (probably already breaking a sweat) and your mind should be fully focused on the match at hand. You simply cannot reach that level of readiness and focus when arriving 5 or 10 minutes before kick-off.
        B.   The beginning of a match is a golden opportunity to take advantage of an ill prepared opponent that is not yet ready to play. But WE must, in turn, prepared so that we may take advantage of the opportunity.

Injured players are still part of the team and expected to attend matches and practice sessions.
        Even if unable to physically participate in practice or matches, a player is a valuable member of the team.
        A.   There are many team skills to be learned that a player should be present for even if they cannot physically practice them so that when they DO return to active play they will not be a detriment to the team. Items such as corner kick plays, free kick restarts, team systems of play, are good examples.
        B.   Injured players can still provide valuable services to your team in the form of time-keeping, charting game statistics, helping to run practices, etc. I will, for the most part, try to involve an injured player in the capacity of an assistant coach while that player is unable to play.
        A.   Any player not present on game-day at the assigned FIELD TIME (always 45 minutes prior to scheduled start of the match) will not start.
        B.   Any player not present at the start of the match will not play in the 1st half.

Show up prepared to play/train.
2.   Everybody brings a ball, shin-guards & water.

        There is no accepable reason to not show up with these items. Just bring them.

We do not litter. We take pride in our fields.
3.   Nobody leaves the practice field, home field, or our sideline when we are visitors until all cones, flags, nets (etc.,) are packed AND our field is policed and cleared of litter
        Clear your sideline of all bottles & wrappers from "treats". Take pride in the condition and appearance your home field - and show respect to our hosts by not leaving their field littered with our trash.

Full Attention/Full Effort
4.   We all promise to each other to give full attention, effort and intensity during practice games.

        Every part of a practice session is meant to teach, improve or simply maintain individual skills or team skills. Practices are designed based on things that we need to address as a team. Even if you, as an individual, have mastered the skill or concept we are working on, then it is still your duty & obligation to participate so that you can help your teammates reach that same level of skill.
        To give your FULL effort in practice drills and games is essential. There is no axiom that is more true than "you will play the way you practice". If you practice with heart, intensity, effort and pride, that level of commitment WILL manifest itself during match play.
        A.   I expect the highest degree of effort and competition in practice. You owe it to your teammates to give your full effort so that they have the best opportunity to improve. You are not doing your teammates a favor, nor are you helping them, if you hold back.
        B.   Level of commitment and effort are a habit. If you are accustomed to going "full-out" in practice against your own teammates, you will certainly do so against the opponent. If you always back-off against your teammates in practice, even if it is with the kind intention of thinking you are doing them a favor, it will become a habit for you to back-off and it will show up during match play.

We Support One Another Always
5.   Nobody on this team will ever scold, trash, or degrade another teammate or personally blame a teammate for something which may happen on the field. Only encouragement, praise, and congratulation are allowed to be expressed to teammates.

        There is not one single benefit that results from snide comments or from yelling at or individually blaming a teammate for something. And I will not have it. More than any other rule, violation of this rule may result disciplinary action - from benching to dismissal from the team.

The Referee Is Off Limits
6.   On the game field, nobody on this team shall ever question or dispute a referee, nor complain out loud about a referee's call (or non-call).
       Never under-estimate the importance of keeping on the good side of a referee and the strong probability of benefiting from 50/50 calls if, all other things being equal, we have conducted ourselves with class (especially if the other team has not).

       Furthermore, you MUST expect an occasional wrong-call. Do not dwell on it. Do not even mention or acknowledge it. It's GOING to happen over the course of a game. It's GOING to happen many times over the course of a season. Usually it's not that big a deal. And even if it is, you will not get a ref to change his mind. So don't try.

       The best way to view a referee during a match is to not think of them as a person (something to interact with), but rather as a condition of the game (something to assess and adjust to) like the weather or the field conditions. And just as it would not cross your mind to yell at the sun for getting in your eyes or the whine and complain to the rain for making the field slippery, so in the same way I expect no interaction with a referee about calls or non-calls.

Conduct Toward Opponents
7.   On the game field, nobody on this team shall ever address an opponent during the match, nor complain out loud about an opponent's, style of play, manner of conduct, or verbal taunting – either from the field or from the sidelines.

        The only thing for us to concentrate on during a match is what WE can control. We can control our game and that is all. We cannot control somebody else's conduct. If we start concentrating more on their conduct than our game, we have just taken the first step toward a loss because we have shifted our focus. If they swear at you - ingore them. If the spectators taunt you or swear at you - ignore them. If they play dirty - play through it. Don't whine. Don't retaliate. Don't acknowledge them at all. Never let an opponent think they have gotten under your skin. Ignore foul words. Bouce right back up after a hack and get right back in the play. Pretend as best you can that it didn't hurt. Do not rattle. Do not bend. Do not retaliate. Do not acknowledge. Do not lose your composure. Again I will say: Never let an opponent think they have gotten under your skin - ever. THAT is the best way to intimidate an opponent.

After the match, win or lose, we will always show our opponents respect. When shaking hands after the match nobody on this team shall ever say anything negative, derogatory, or degrading to or about an opponent. Every player (dressed or not) will participate in the post-game handshake.

        If we have just lost, we will be gracious in our exchange with the other team. No matter how bad it hurts, do not make excuses nor say or do anything to diminish their accomplishment. Treat them with respect and class. They beat us, so on that day at least, they deserved to beat us.

        In victory, never, never, never gloat. I detest showboating and will not have it. Conduct yourself with class and grace. Even if we killed a team, nobody on my team had better ever degrade the effort the other team put forth. Celebration within and among your team is one thing and that is perfectly natural and encouraged - in your face showboating and trash is very much another.

        Always remember, any real athlete who walks onto the field always gives their best – just the same way you do. And your opponent deserves to acknowledged for doing so. If it happens that our best beats theirs, then so be it. Be thankful for that day's success. And be ready to prepare for the next challenge. Keep in mind, we could (and probably will) find ourselves on the other side of that scoreline someday.

        Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a strong likelihood of you and this season’s opponents winding up on the same team down the road, or as a school-mate, etc. - so isn't it better that they remember you as a class act even when you were adversaries? Class and dignity are never wasted traits. Trash talkers and big-mouth blow-hards are rarely ever respected and always end up eating crow somewhere down the line.

        One last note that I would hope and expect is entirely unnecessary, but incidents have been reported (not from our team but from other divisions in the league) so I will address it this once and never again; If I ever find that any player on my team has spit into thier hand prior to the handshake, that player will be dismissed from my team. ... OK, enough of that!

Your Input Is Desired
8.   Finally, if anybody has favorite drills, games, or set plays they want to use for practices/matches, diagram them on paper and give them to me before or after any practice. I will review them and try to incorporate them into our sessions as best I can.

        This is your team. Your input is very important to me. Your opinions matter a great deal to me. And while it is a fact that I do have certain expectations of you, I do want you to enjoy the team experience. A very good way for that to happen is for you to participate in directing your own destiny.
        If you do have a helpful practice game, drill, or set piece you want to incorporate into the team, I want you to do so. If it looks like it will benefit the team, I will use it. Here is how to diagram a drill or game:
        A.   Identify the skill(s) the game/drill is meant to improve (passing, receiving, 1st-touch control, take-on skills, crossing, finishing etc.)
        B.   Specify the number(s) of players required for the exercise.
        C.   List the required equipment needed to set up the field.
        D.   Write the procedure of how it is run.
        E.   draw/digram the running of the game/drill

        Please submit your suggestions before or after a practice session. I will be happy to take whatever time is needed for you to explain it to me so long as it does not cut into team practice time. Do not try to throw new drill ideas at me during practice. I will not consider them at that time for 2 reasons:
                i.   I will have already put together a full practice session for that day.
                ii. team time would be wasted if the whole drill or game is explained and I decide that game/drill doesn't fit that practice.
        Understand, most practice sessions are designed around a specific theme. So that if your suggested game emphasizes finishing and finishing is the theme of a given practice, it is a strong possibility that I will use it that day. But if the theme for the day is 1st-touch control, or defensive shape, for example, I will not use a drill which focuses on finishing that day.

Rochester Pride - RSC Lightning '96
Rochester Pride - RSC Lightning '96
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