Academy Newsletter

Including notes from Academy Director Erik Oman

PSPL Surf Academy Newsletter

May 29, 2020 – Updated 9:27 a.m. PT

Hello PSPL Surf Academy Players, Parents and Families;

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: I am very sad to announce that we will not be able to train over the weekend of June 20 – 21. Our next possible training date will be July 18 – 19 for the Senior Academy pools (’07 – ’03) and July 11 – 12 for the Junior Academy pools (’08 – ’09). Between now and then, we will continue to hold virtual training meetings on our Teams platform and our coaches will remain available to support our players in any way that we can.

I realize that there are a number of counties around the State that have had low numbers of COVID-19 cases and are now going into Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start Plan that allows business and recreation to start opening up. Unfortunately, there are a number of other counties where the virus is still too active to allow for safe return to play in the next few weeks. As a state-wide program and without the ability to test everyone involved, Surf Academy cannot safely bring everyone together yet. The health and safety of our players and their families is our paramount concern. We will make sure that you get the training and competitive opportunities that you expected from your Academy experience as soon as it is safe for us to do so.

Now on to the good news! I had a chance to interview one of our Academy Alumna, Heather Hunt (G’01) this past week and she gave me some great insights into her experience of going from being an Academy player to playing in college. The link is below and I hope that you will take the time to watch this fantastic interview. Heather talked about the challenge of learning how to manage the commitment that is required to be a successful collegiate student-athlete and she used a word that I think was extremely insightful; you have to be “intentional” in everything that you do. Intentional – done by design – deliberate – conscious. Her point was that the demands are so much higher to play at that level with training or games six days a week on top of school and managing to live on your own, that you can’t leave things to chance. You can’t just do whatever and get by. You have to be thoughtful about managing your time and balancing training, rest, recovery, school, meals, and social life to be able to thrive in that environment.

I think that is particularly good advice right now given the setback of another month without training together. Last week, I was excited about the prospect of being back on the field in June with everyone and I wrote about periodizing your training to be ready to be at your best when we got back together. When our staff met earlier this week and I realized that we wouldn’t actually be able to train in June, I was really disappointed and frustrated. After the call, I couldn’t focus sitting at my computer and I had to take a break to get my head around my frustration.

Rather than just walking away in anger, I thought about Heather’s advice and decided to take a day off and be intentional about resting, clearing my mind, refocusing on my goals and finding my motivation to get back to work with purpose the next day. I consciously turned off my email and my phone and dug in on a physical project in my back yard that allowed me to do some active rest from my normal routine. The project allowed me to focus on something completely different, but my sub-conscious was busy writing this article, planning for my next team meeting and finding my passion for the work that I do as a coach. I took time to read for a while, I went for a walk and I intentionally didn’t look at my email or answer my phone for 24 hours! The rest was invaluable, and I was more productive the next day than I had been for weeks.

My point is this: the setback of not being able to train with your team(s) is extremely frustrating! Your clubs are continuing to give you workouts and training schedules, we talked about a periodization schedule that is getting pushed back and it can all seem overwhelming at times. It is ok to feel frustrated. Your emotions are real, they are natural, and they are ok – as long as you don’t allow your frustration to lead to apathy or random whatever behavior. Be intentional. This may be the time to take a few days off of training to let your body rest, but while you do so, review your personal goals. Remember why you do what you do. Read a good book. Watch a great game (the German Bundesliga is playing again and you can find some live games again!). Talk with your parents or your coach. Touch base with someone who inspires you. Have a plan and be conscious about what you are doing so that you can get back to your training in a few days with purpose and passion.

If you don’t need to take some time off, that’s great, but be intentional about how you train. Don’t just go through the motions or train whatever just to do something. Know what your purpose is and go after it to get better!

I have seen some absolutely fantastic videos from some of our Academy players over the past few weeks with incredible skills on display! Keep sending those in and keep finding that thing that inspires you! Be intentional in everything that you do!

We are here for you! Hang in there – we will get through this. Keep doing the right thing, keep in touch and I look forward to seeing you all in person again as soon as we possibly can.

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

Academy Interview w/ Heather Hunt

Inside Surf Soccer Podcasts

Youth Soccer Player Development

Archived Editions

Hello PSPL Surf Academy Players, Parents and Families;

Being a generally optimistic and forward-thinking person, I am looking forward to June and the possibility of getting back on the field again with our teams! IF everything goes well, according to Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Washington plan, we could be getting back to team training as early as the week of June 16 and our first Academy training weekend would be the weekend of June 20 – 21.

While I know that our Academy players have been getting plenty of guidance from their clubs and our coaches for things to do during the shutdown and most of you have been diligent with your individual workouts over the past few months, there is a big difference between being fit on your own and being game fit to play in a competitive match! The last thing that I want to see for any of you is to get injured in the first week of team training because you weren’t ready to meet the physical demands of playing competitively again!

With the potential end in sight of individual training, it is time to look at the idea of periodization and how to plan the next four weeks to be ready to take on team training and playing again. Periodization is the systematic planning of training to meet a specific goal in a set period of time. Your goal at this point is to be as close to match fit as you can be and have your body ready to stay healthy under the pressure of playing competitively again by this time next month.

A critical component of periodization (and of peak performance) is good quality rest and recovery. Your body actually needs up to 72 hours (three days) to fully recover after a maximum performance event (think a full, competitive match where you didn’t get a substitute or a really hard workout). You can train during a recovery phase, but those sessions need to be lighter and more focused on slower running, getting touches on the ball and lots of stretching to help your muscles recover.

With four weeks to go before you start team training again, a good pattern might be the following:

Week 1

  • 3 high-intensity workouts – Monday, Thursday and Sunday – shoot for a minimum of 60 minutes of medium to high intensity training
  • Low to medium intensity workouts on Wednesday and Saturday
  • Recovery – light jog, stretch, simple ball work on Tuesday and Friday

Week 2

  • Take Monday off – rest, hydrate, eat good food
  • 2 low to medium intensity workouts on Tuesday and Friday
  • 2 high-intensity workouts – Wednesday and Saturday
  • Recovery – light jog, stretch, simple ball work on Thursday and Sunday

Week 3

  • Repeat Week 1 pattern and up the intensity / duration of your high-intensity days – shoot for a minimum of 75 minutes of medium to high intensity training

Week 4

  • Repeat Week 2 pattern

At this stage, your high intensity workouts should start to replicate game pace as much as possible; they need to have an anaerobic component that gets your heart rate and breathing to a high level with aerobic (lower speed but active) recovery intervals in between the high intensity intervals. Include changes of direction, changes of speed, jumping, skipping and running backwards into the routine. Dribble or shoot on the move at game pace. Imagine game situations!

Your low to medium intensity workouts can include a jog or run, but include changes of direction, skipping and footwork patterns that get your joints ready for playing soccer. These are good days for repetitive ball work to keep improving your touches and strengthening your non-dominant foot. Every session should include a good cool-down, stretching and re-hydration.

With some extra rest during weeks 2 and 4, your body will recover and heal and be stronger going into weeks 3 and 5. Of course, week 5 would be the target week for being back on the field with your team!

For all of your workouts, I highly recommend that you are including good quality injury prevention (ie: FIFA 11+) exercises into your warm-up and training routines.

I have attached a link to the resources section of our website for you to access these programs: http://pspl.surfsoccer.com/fifa-11/

The other critical component in recovery and performance is good quality nutrition and hydration. Staying hydrated allows your blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to your cells and lactic acid and waste away from your cells most efficiently. Good food is critical to fuel top performance. You don’t put regular gasoline in a Ferrari! A Ferrari takes premium fuel to run well and so do you!

I know that this period of social isolation has been hard on everyone. We are all excited to get back out on the field and see our teammates and friends again and to be able to be normal people again! The worst thing in the world that you could do would be to come unprepared to the start of training and get injured in the first couple of weeks. Imagine having to miss training and playing entirely after just getting back!

So, with that in mind, PLEASE plan your training routine for the next four weeks to be ready to be at your best – strong, healthy, rested, well fed and well hydrated – when you step back on the field with your team next month. If things happen to get postponed again, you have lost nothing – you will still be stronger, healthy, well fed, well hydrated and you can set new goals for the new start date to be even better!

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

Hello PSPL Surf Academy Players, Parents and Families;

I’ll admit it, this has been a tough week for me. I had great visits with my teams on our virtual training meetings last Saturday. We talked about Governor Inslee’s plan to reopen Washington and how, if everything goes well and people remain vigilant, we could be back on the field as soon as the week of June 16. Then, I see cases in the news over and over again where people are impatient and rushing back out to beaches, bars, restaurants and protest marches without social distancing while the virus numbers continue to increase in their states and it frustrates me. I miss you all and I am so anxious to get back out on the field again as soon as possible and yet, people are putting that at risk with their actions! But this is where leadership is important – and hard.

Since we have been talking about leadership over the past couple of weeks, this seems like a good time to continue that conversation in a slightly different direction. As I stated in my last couple of articles, you are all leaders in your own way- within your teams, your family and with your peers. Good leaders know how to both give leadership and to follow others when they are leading well. You are playing at a high level because you have been willing to do the hard work of training more often and with more intensity than the average player your age is willing to do. You have been willing to go outside of your comfort zone to try out for competitive teams. When training gets hard and you are uncomfortable, you have been willing to push through and keep going because you know that space is where the real progress is made as an athlete.

The very best athletes embrace challenge, difficulty, struggle, even pain because they know that is where greatness is forged. But there is an important mindfulness skill that is critical to being able to see hardship as a welcomed challenge and chance to grow. The key is to be able to step back from the frustration in your mind and ask yourself, how can I learn or grow from this? What is the bigger picture that will help me? When I look back on this in 5 years, will my response to this current challenge be one that I am proud of? Will my response be one that helped me grow?

Here’s a funny story about how I learned something about this idea: My freshman year at Indiana University, I was a walk-on (no scholarship money) on the varsity soccer team. There were 12 goalkeepers in pre-season training, including one hotshot recruited freshman goalkeeper from Renton, WA named Matthew Olson (yes, that Matthew Olson, our Juniors and Goalkeeper Director for the Academy). Seven of us goalkeepers made the team at the end of tryouts and Matthew won the starting job. I hated him. We didn’t talk for the entire season from August until February when we got back from break. On a chance meeting on campus, we started to talk and decided that, since we both liked to train, we would go train together. I figured that if I trained with him, I could be sure that I always did a little more than he did and I could find a way to take the starting job. We trained together every day from then on and we nearly killed one another! It was by far some of the hardest training that I ever did. What started out as a way to keep track of one another, soon became the thing that pushed us beyond everyone else competing for the job. But more importantly, it forged a friendship that has lasted for over 30 years.

I knew, even in the middle of some of those brutal training sessions, that the adversity of the moment was going to set us apart if we could just keep going. I also knew very quickly that the challenge was casting a friendship, a work ethic and life-long memories that would serve me for the rest of my life. It would have been easy to quit. It would have been easy to concede the job and walk away early, but I didn’t want that to be my legacy.

This time we are in now is hard. The unknown about when we will be able to get back on the field again is a huge challenge. Not being able to play and train with our teammates really sucks. I know that we will eventually get back to playing soccer again, but I feel impatient and frustrated.

But, when I take a step back and think about the bigger picture, I know that this experience is forging in all of us a renewed passion for what we do. I know that you will all come back to the field with new skills and competencies that you never had before from all of the time that you have had one on one with the ball. The online tools we have developed to deal with this will help us to be more prepared for every event that we do in the future. I know that this will be something we all tell stories about for the rest of our lives. Your kids and my grandkids will get sick of hearing, “You think this is hard? Back in 2020, we survived COVID-19!”

We will be stronger from this, but we have to keep leading by being strong, doing the right things, keeping social distance, training on our own and keeping ourselves and our families safe. The harder we work on those things now, the more we are disciplined, patient and resilient, the sooner it will be safe for us to get back to business as usual.

Take time to step back in your mind and ask what you can learn from this time. Think about the bigger picture. Imagine yourself five years from now looking back on this time. What do you want the legacy from this experience to be for you?

Thanks for listening / reading. I feel better now! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your coaches when you are feeling frustrated or need someone to talk with. We are here for you. These connections may be one of the most important legacies of this time.

My continued best wishes to you and your family! Stay safe!

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

Hello PSPL Surf Academy Players, Parents and Families;

Systems of Play, Roles and Leadership: Every team needs leadership and initiative in every position on the field, but certain leadership styles fit best in certain roles for the team. Understanding the demands of the game on different positions and the mindset of successful players in those roles helps members of a team know how and when to support, follow and give leadership to one another in a way that supports the success of the team. As the old cliché saying goes, “There is no ‘I’ in team.”

Let’s take, for example, the #1 (in our team numbering system – the goalkeeper). Goalkeepers are usually perfectionists. They can make 9 saves, but when the 10th ball goes past them, they are angry and disappointed. Contrast that with the undying confidence of a great #9 striker who misses 9 shots but when they score on the 10th shot, they point at the name on the back of their jersey and say, “look how good I am!” Good goalkeepers have the mindset that everyone else is going to screw up and I am going to have to fix it; they are always ready to be the last line of defense for the team and will bark out orders to anyone to defend their territory. They are individualistic and alone in their task, but they are in charge.

For today’s conversation, let’s look at a team playing in a 1-4-3-3 system. If your team plays a different system, feel free to draw that team shape out and analyze that:

  • What are the demands on the #4 and #5 (center backs?) What leadership styles would you expect from those players?
  • What about the #2 and #3 wing backs? How much space do they have to cover and how does that affect their decision-making and leadership? What personality traits would fit well here? How are they different from the 4 and 5?
  • Looking at the midfield, there might be very different traits between the #6 (defensive midfield player) and the #8 (box-to-box midfielder). What different leadership traits will be important for those two? What about the #10 (attacking midfielder)? Think of some great #10s and how they led their teams…
  • Looking at our forward line, there are big personality differences between the #9 (striker) and the #7 and #11 (wingers). How might they lead differently? How are the spaces that they play in different from one another?

Michael Jordan once said, “There is no ‘I’ in team, but there is an ‘I’ in win!” Having a group who know when, where and how to impose their leadership on the team and when to allow others to take the lead is the magic in high-performing programs. As great as Michael Jordan was 1 on 1, he knew when to dish the ball to others for key baskets! It is important for you to know your strengths, know the demands of your role within the team and be willing to take the lead in your own way. It is also important for you to understand the demands of the game on other roles in the team and support your teammates as they give their own leadership.

Family fun exercise (Part 2)

From last week, you and your family developed a list of 20 leaders. This week, using your list of leaders, develop a team with 11 starters, 7 substitutes, a head coach and an assistant coach. Draw out the team shape in whatever formation you choose (1-4-3-3, 1-4-4-2, 1-3-5-2, etc.) and fill in each position with a leader that seems to fit the role in the team the best. This can be a really fun discussion! As an example, I had a United Soccer Coaches Premier Diploma course argue for 15 minutes whether Napoleon or Hitler should be the goalkeeper for their team! (They decided that Napoleon should be the #6 and Hitler was their goalkeeper…). Have fun with the exercise and see where the discussion leads.

Best wishes to you and your family!

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

Hello PSPL Surf Academy Players, Parents and Families;

Leadership – being a good leader means also being able to follow when others have good ideas…

You are here with the PSPL Surf Academy in part because you showed some kind of leadership during tryouts. Successful teams need leadership and initiative in every position on the field. But if everyone is a leader, who is following? Everyone leading all at once certainly can’t work, but great players know how to lead in their own style when their leadership is needed, and they know how to follow when others around them show good leadership. The best leaders are both confident in how they can lead and humble enough to know that successful teams, groups, organizations and families, also need leadership from everyone else in the group at different times. The very best leaders can humbly follow someone else’s lead when that person is offering a good idea or a different kind of leadership.

So, how do you lead? There are many different ways to be a leader; what is your style? Keep in mind that there is not right or wrong, no better or worse. Every team (group, family) needs different types of leadership, so all are valuable. Here are some examples:

  • The obvious one is the person who stands in front of the group, barks out orders and coordinates the group. This is often a confident, extroverted, outspoken type – someone who likes to talk and be in front of people. This is the person who steps up and gets things done.
  • Less obvious but still important is the leader who backs up the vocal, outspoken leader. This type of leadership helps to get buy-in and consensus from the group by validating what the outspoken leader says. They are often behind the scenes talking one-on-one with others to bring people together. This type of leader may be seen as quieter, less outspoken, but they are the one who people feel more connected with because they are often more empathetic.
  • Another important leader for any group is the one who leads by example. This person is often seen as shy or quiet, but they know how to put their head down and do the work. We all know this type of leader in our team is critical to motivating us and setting a high standard for the team. They may not say much, but we are inspired by them.
  • Others find their leadership in being the one who connects the group. This person is good one-on-one finding connections with people but is also good in front of the group in bringing people together. Often, this is the comedian in the team; the one who makes us laugh and come together. Comedy isn’t the only way to be the connector, but this person’s leadership is the one that bonds the team.

There are lots of ways to lead. The list above just highlights some of the obvious ways. Every team needs leadership from every member in different ways at different times. Knowing how you feel comfortable being a leader will help you to know when to assert your leadership for the group. It will also help you to recognize and be willing to follow when someone else is providing their type of leadership for the group. Being a great teammate means both leading in your own way and following when others are bringing their strengths to the team.

The following is a fun activity that will bring out different leadership styles. I encourage you to do this with your family to see how each of you recognize leadership. This activity will lead to a fun soccer-specific activity next week!

Family activity (part 1) – Brainstorm together a list of 20 people who you see as leaders. Each member of the family needs to contribute equally to the list (ie: if five people in the discussion, each should, ideally, have 4 leaders on the list). They can be from any point in history (current leaders are fine but dipping into history too makes the exercise interesting). They can be from any discipline (politics, sports, science, art, education, etc.). They can be good leaders or bad but pick people who are or have been seen as leaders.

Talk about each one together and why you would select that person as a leader. What makes them a good / successful leader in your eyes? It doesn’t need to be a long discussion but justify each pick. There are no wrong answers – each person’s picks are valid for their own reasons.

The family discussion will be valuable by itself and will give insight into how one another value certain traits. Understanding what leadership traits resonate with one another can help when you need to provide leadership. Understanding how others in your family view leadership can also help when you need to follow their lead.

Other follow-up questions to spark conversation:

  • How does each member of your family contribute leadership to the family? How does each member follow or give leadership to others?
  • Keep your list for next week… I will follow up with the second part of this exercise and we will have a great soccer analysis discussion in the process!

You are leading right now by doing the right thing to social distance and keep everyone safe so that we can get back on the field as soon as possible!

Best wishes to you and your family!

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

“We don’t live in the world; we live in the stories that we tell ourselves about the world.” – Anonymous

Hello PSPL Surf Academy Players, Parents and Families;

Having played at a relatively high level, I knew when I started coaching that mental skills were critically important to high performance athletes. I had some practical education in this area from my playing days, but I realized very quickly as a young coach that it was not easy to teach mental skills in a team context. More problematic was the fact that none of my early coaching education included anything about how to develop positive, competitive, confident, resilient growth mindset within my players.

So, I started researching and reading everything that I could to be able to help my players in these critical components of the game. Over time, my coaching personality developed to try to build these traits within the players that I trained during our time on the field.

Still, being a visual learner and wanting to be able to get to the root of the issue and explain what I had learned more clearly, I came up with the Control Paradigm model:

It is human nature to focus on things over which we have no control. On the soccer field, that might be a bad call by the referee, poor weather, a coach or parent yelling from the sidelines, an opponent talking trash or even a teammate who makes a bad mistake. When we focus on those things, it leads to poor performance, a negative mindset and lack of attention to the things that will help us to perform well.

When we train our minds to focus instead on things over which we have control – our attitude, effort, focus, determination and goals, it leads to positive performance and a positive mindset. Control what you can control and get rid of the rest! Everything else takes away bandwidth that you need to be at your best!

This is powerful on the soccer field, but I never envisioned how important it would be to everyday life until we began to quarantine and practice social distancing! When I saw the quote at the top of the article this week, I was reminded of the Control Paradigm and decided to dig it out.

Life is messy. Things don’t go as planned. No game is played without mistakes. Every 100 years or so, a pandemic breaks out… The key to being successful in almost any circumstance is in how you respond to the circumstance. Do you focus on and worry about the things you can’t control, or do you find a way to turn your focus back to things that you can influence and control?

In our current situation, I can’t tell you when we will actually be able to get back on the field. I don’t know for sure when we will travel again like we did before any of this started. I don’t know when we will be able to go to a Sounders or Reign game and cheer from the stands. In the times that I find myself worrying about that, I can’t motivate myself to be productive. When I turn my focus back to being sure that we are ready to get back on the field and I think about our players, I find plenty to do and I love the process of doing everything that I can to be ready!

I don’t know for sure when we will get back to training, school and life outside our homes, but I know that we will! So, I choose to respond to the current circumstances by looking for things that I can control and putting my focus and energy there. As I have done this, I have found myself enjoying the process and embracing the new normal – for now. I am getting to spend time with my family and to do work that I don’t normally have time for.

Which leads me to my last point for this week: gratitude. Gratitude is a superpower! Finding ways to be thankful for people, things, circumstances, even when times are difficult, is a key to being able to move from the negative side to the positive side of the Control Paradigm. Recognizing things that you are grateful for flips a switch in your brain that gives you control. It helps you to write the story of your life in a more positive way.

After all, you don’t live in the world, you live in the story that you tell yourself about the world.

Challenge Exercise

  • Even though your family may be getting on your nerves by now, take a few minutes to write something that you are grateful for about each one.
  • What have you gotten to do during this social distancing time that you would not have ever had time to do before?

I’m grateful to be able to work with all of you and I wish you and your family continued health! Keep doing what you are doing so that we can come back strong as soon as possible!

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

Hello PSPL Surf Academy Players, Parents and Families;

It was so much fun sitting in on our first round of Virtual Training meetings and getting to see all of our players at the beginning of the month! I’m looking forward to another round of meetings this coming weekend with several teams and having the chance to catch up again. Our coaches will continue to host these meetings until the time that we are able to get back on the field again.

During the meetings, I asked several teams for recommendations for books, movies or Netflix shows to watch, to see how players were spending down time and to give us things to talk about together. I got a lot of Netflix recommendations, but very few book recommendations, so I thought I would take the opportunity to recommend a great book for everyone to read:

The Inner Game of Tennis – The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance
by W. Timothy Gallwey.

This is a book that I have seen recommended over the years but had never taken the time to read before. In fact, it is a fantastic book for young athletes and for adults and coaches alike! This book falls into the category of ‘Things I wish I knew when I was a young player’ and I found it especially relevant to issues we are facing today with training and working from home where we don’t have interaction with coaches, teachers, teammates and others who help us moderate the inner dialog that we have with ourselves in our heads.

Everyone has that little inner voice; the thoughts that either help you or hurt you in dealing with any task, learning any skill, performing at your best, or even dealing with the circumstances that we find ourselves in today with social distancing. Lots of successful players are simply good athletes. Lots of successful players are technically good with the ball. The very best players – the elite performers – know how to quiet that inner voice, channel it, trust themselves and develop habits, focus and confidence that sets them apart from everyone else.

While The Inner Game of Tennis is about tennis, the mental skills are universal and apply directly to us as soccer players. More importantly, the concepts in the book apply universally to everything that we do. There is no doubt that this is a difficult and stressful time that we are living through right now. There is also no doubt that people who understand how to quiet their mind, trust in themselves, develop good habits and positive focus will get through all of this more easily than people who don’t.

New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo has been doing daily briefings throughout the shutdown time and he has been fascinating to watch. He is a true leader who has stepped up during this very difficult time. He made the point recently that stress and pressure bring out a person’s true character; you see who people really are when they are under pressure.

I asked you last week to think about where you see yourself in 4 – 8 years as part of a goal-setting exercise. This week, I would like to ask you to think about how you would like to be known as a person? What is your true character? The good news is that your experience as a competitive athlete already puts you in higher standing than many in terms of character. But we can always learn and get better! Taking time to train your brain now will not only make you a better player on the field but will help you to navigate life more effectively, with more confidence and focus.

Please know that it’s ok to feel sad or frustrated as the days drag on at home, without school, teammates and all the things we normally do. If you need someone to talk with, your coaches are here for you; please reach out! Know too that you can train yourself to think differently and take control of that inner voice. There are a lot of great resources out there, but I hope you will give The Inner Game of Tennis a read. It is available on Amazon for under $10 in paperback and is FREE as an audiobook.

Keep doing the hard work to maintain social distancing so that we win this fight as soon as possible. Take good care of yourself and your family.

And keep in touch with your coach!

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

Hello PSPL Surf Academy Players, Parents and Families;

As the COVID-19 shutdown drags on and the newness of staying home has worn off, it can be hard to stay motivated and enthusiastic about training and taking good care of yourself every day. These feelings are normal and there are a few key things that you can do to keep your focus and maintain good habits.

Most importantly, know that eventually this will end and we will get back on the field. Picture yourself on the field with your teammates playing and competing and think about the things that you love about the game. Mindfulness, meditation, and visualization are all important tools to help you to find positive energy and focus to pursue your goals.

Without clear goals, however, this is harder to do, so today’s note is about goal setting. Answer the following questions for yourself and write them in your soccer notebook:

  • What is your dream?
  • When you close your eyes and imagine, what do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
  • How about in 10 years?
  • What motivates you?

The answers to these questions point to your WIG – your Wildly Important Goal. These are outcomes that you see for yourself in the future. Outcome goals are critical to keep us motivated and feeling a sense of purpose.

Outcome goals by themselves, however, are not good motivators for today and by themselves, they can lead to putting things off, being complacent and missing critical steps toward your WIG along the way. That’s why it is important to also set medium and short-term goals that help lead you toward your WIG. The medium and short-term goals are process goals – specific things that you do that lead toward an outcome.

Let’s assume that you dream of climbing Mt. Rainier someday. If all you do is look up at the peak of Mt. Rainier – your WIG as you climb, you are bound to take a wrong step and fall along the way! There are many steps along the path that have to be navigated correctly to get to the summit safely and each one needs your attention as you tackle it. The summit is always your dream, but it is focus on each step of the path that gets you there.

With that idea in mind, set a medium-term goal for this month for yourself; something that takes you farther up your path to your WIG. When you have a goal for the month, break that down into four parts and set a simple weekly goal for this week. Try to set a small but challenging, measurable goal for the week. Next week, take your progress and set a new, small but challenging, measurable goal. Small steps taken consistently lead to big outcomes! Having the feeling of achieving a goal each week builds confidence and enthusiasm to continue the effort.

Finally, don’t expect every day to be perfect. You need to listen to your body and rest when your body needs it so that you can make the most of the days that you work toward your goals. When you train, do it with the purpose and conviction that your WIG demands! If you feel like you can only go through the motions today, rest and attack your goal tomorrow with more energy. Build good habits by training hard and holding a high standard when you are working on your goals and listen to your body so that you learn to give it the rest and the fuel that it needs to perform.

With no clear timeline yet for our return to the field, these small weekly goals will help you keep focused on your training and enjoying the process along the way.

If you ever find that you have just run out of energy to set goals, train and take good care of yourself, it may be time to reach out to your coach or someone else with whom you can talk. We are all in this together – even as we are apart! We are here for you.

Keep doing your part to help keep your family safe! The more we stay disciplined now, the sooner we will be back on the field together!

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

It was great fun to see many of our players last weekend on our first round of Virtual Training meetings!
Listening to the meetings, most players said that they had curriculum and activities that their clubs had assigned. Many are using training apps to challenge and track players.

IF you don’t have those resources from your club, we have plenty to offer in the Document Library on your PSPL Surf Academy age group web page! Even if you do have resources from you club, all of the resources that we have available can give you other training ideas to supplement what you are already doing. Check out your team’s Document Library!

While having pre-planned workouts available is important, there is a HUGE opportunity right now that you should embrace: Every player has that one thing that they don’t feel good about in their game; that thing that you try to hide during training so that you don’t get exposed.

For example, you don’t want to receive a ball out of the air with your non-dominant foot because you don’t trust your touch, so you run around it and reach with your dominant foot instead. You don’t want to shoot with your non-dominant foot, so you pass or cut back into pressure to your dominant foot instead of taking the shot that was open.

Those things you hide because you don’t want to be exposed or make mistakes make you less confident and less of a complete player. Eventually, those things will cost you! So, now is the perfect time to add a goal to your training routine to fix one of those things that you normally worry about when you are playing in front of your coach and your teammates! After all, no one but you will see the mistakes right now, and if you give that part of your game some special love and attention now, it won’t be a weakness when you get back to your teams!!

Remember, mistakes aren’t only normal, they are NECESSARY to develop any real skill! Do your regular training routine from your club or our Academy resources, but I challenge you this week to ADD one more little piece: an extra 10 – 15 minutes each time you train, getting touches on that one thing that you normally hide. Have fun with training, embrace the mistakes and think about how much fun it will be to get back out on the field with some new, confident skills that you didn’t have before!

We will get through this and we will get back to playing. Please keep doing your part to stay healthy, strong, well rested and resilient! Remember, you are helping keep all of us safe by doing your part!

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director

We are facing troubling times. We know our players are full of questions and concerns. This weekly newsletter is one of the initiatives that are aimed at staying connected with our players and their families.

We don’t have many answers right now, but we believe our community can prevail through this crisis.

For our academy players, we are launching a two-pronged attack – online training and college prep seminars as well as a weekly newsletter that focuses on relevant soccer-related topics. Mostly, we want to remain connected and check in.

Academy DOC Erik Oman kicks this off with a message to all of our players, and he will be offering his thoughts and insights every week.

We all should remember that as committed athletes we have many of the tools to fight this crisis. We know how to overcome obstacles. We know how to work hard as a team. We know there is no magic solution. We know the road to the top of our sport is rife with temporary setbacks and is fundamentally difficult to reach. But we know how to find a way, if not by ourselves, then with our teammates. We know how to draw on the power of collective strength.

We hope these selected topics below will be helpful and even comforting. If it inspires you, even better. If it distracts you and brings a smile to your face, good enough. Routine is something athletes know and embrace. And we are excited to share our new virtual training routine with all of you. That alone will bring some peace and confidence during these challenging times. By working together, we will find a way through this crisis.

— Erik Oman, PSPL Surf Academy Director