With the way the game is going and the way players are being produced, as a coach it is vital to keep up to date with trends on the field, and in my eyes even off it with things such as social media.
After being named head coach of a National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) club, I was faced with a new challenge on the field and off. The NPSL is an American summer league for the best college (sometimes pro's on loan) players in the country to play. I was facing bringing in 20 guys whom had never played together, all used to different styles of play, coaching techniques and even training facilities.
I had a 2 week 'preseason' before our first game to learn the guys habits, personalities and get them all on the same page tactically. Tough to say the least, right?
Off the field, some of the boys had come from huge schools where whatever their heart desired was either given or easily accessed, but for me working in the shoestring budget 1st year club, I was going to struggle to be able to replicate that for them.
When they all arrived, all their attitudes were extremely professional; they realized that this club could be something special, and in fairness to them, they all bought into the culture of 'this is ours and this is something that we are building so we have to look after it'.
We had guys who were given new pairs of boots each game cleaning the stands after home games. Boys whom had never cleaned their apartment, but were cleaning out changing rooms the next morning after home games. A handful of them have expressed that this completely changed the way that they view the game and have taken this back to their college programs in attempt to change the way its run also.
On the field we were given them quality sessions challenging them each day tactically, mentally, physically, and even sociably and saw great improvement from them, but I felt that I was missing something. That last thing that could really set us apart from everyone else (at the end of the day it's a result based business).
This is when I came across an app called SoccerPulse. These boys were used to nutritionists, people who monitor the amount of miles ran a week and even what sort of sleep they were getting. This app allowed me to monitor all of this from my phone and for 1% of the cost (literally).
Each day I would get updates on peoples fatigue and how they had slept, and allowed me to communicate timings of sessions, meetings along with other things at the touch of a button. I was able to tailor sessions around the way players were effected by the day before.
Along with the standard training periodization you would expect to see for a mesocycle during a season I was able to keep the boys fresh.
In a 15 game regular season, we played the same starting 11, 12 times in the league. Without this app allowing me to see how they were feeling I would not have been able to do this as I think we would have got far more injuries. This was also reflected on the field. By the end of the season we held a record of 13-3. 2 losses during the season and 1 in regional play (don't let me get started on that game).
I had been trusted by 18 different college coaches to look after their players, improve their game, and make sure they return to the college season sharp and ready to go. Out of these colleges 12 coaches have called/emailed thanking me, for looking after their boys physically, improving their games and allowing them to achieve their potential.
I am, and will be a huge supporter of SoccerPulse and recommend it to any coaches looking to gain an edge.
Adam Kay is the current head coach of NSPL side OKC Imps, and is also the assistant coach of MACU. You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.