Clubs, coaches and trainers have turned to creative ways of keeping players sharp during Ohio’s Stay at Home Order. Trainers have had to adapt their training curriculum to smaller spaces and more technical concepts. We’ve seen players, coaches and parents having to adapt to new technology as weekly training sessions have been replaced with daily apps, fitness sessions and youtube videos. We’ve talked to players, coaches and parents all across Central Ohio to learn more about what training options are available and what clubs and trainers are already providing; below is a summary of what we found.
Apps and Technology
Soccer Field Academy (a club neutral supplemental training academy based in Columbus) has moved their training entirely to virtual sessions, in essence without skipping a beat. Coach James Field shared “We’ve been able to use Zoom Meetings to bring technical and individual training sessions to all of our players.” Soccer Field Academy typically provides monthly academy memberships for players with training options that range from 1 to 3 times per week depending on the level of membership. Coach Field continued, “it became clear that we would have to adapt, so we adopted a virtual platform and added programming; players that trained one time per week are now training twice and players that trained twice a week are now training four times per week, etc...”
the Techne Futbol App to motivate players and keep them on the ball. While these clubs have all recently adapted the technology Sporting Columbus has been using it for more than a year as a part of their regular programming. Coach Geoff Starks, who is also the club’s boys director shared that Sporting Columbus “made the app available to all registered Sporting Columbus Player” last January. Their players have been using it all this time which Stark says has made it easy to utilize during this Covid-19 break. Coach Stark added that, “The feedback we have gotten from the players and parents in our program regarding the Techne App has been very positive so far.”
We also spoke with Chad Prickett of Columbus Goalkeeper Academy and Ohio Premier’s Director of Goalkeeping who said he sees OP players taking advantage of the app and he’s happy to see players “getting touches, but the biggest benefit is maintaining that competitive spirit.”
Soccer Homework Academy
Club Ohio of Dublin partnered with Soccer Homework Academy and provided all of their members with a 60 day membership. According to their website this includes a database of drills, weekly academy sessions, training programs and a monthly livestream Q&A.
Videos and Training Guides
Many coaches and clubs have been posting video for their players by using every platform available from instagram, to facebook live and youtube. We’ve even seen tik-tok videos popping up.
Coach Tony Earp of Classics Eagles is no stranger to videos and tutorials, he shared that at Classics Eagles his “coaches are engaging the kids individually with online chats and skill challenges amongst each other.” As the Director he says he is “providing daily skill activities and challenges for the kids and (he is) starting weekly online foot skills sessions.” Coach Earp says the most important thing is that his is “trying to find ways to get the kids to play and compete with each other.” Classics Eagles’ videos and director messages can be found on their Youtube Channel.
The Elite Soccer Academy (TESA) has been using facebook to provide local players and followers training tips and tricks. TESA Director, Coach Braden Bell said “The reason for these videos , other than being restricted to my home for soccer training, is to show young players that they do not always need a full field to see the full picture. If you were to ask a professional player how much space they needed to beat a player, make the pass or score a goal, I would bet their response would be a few yards or less.” Coach Bell shared that he enjoys watching other people’s videos and building on that, his hope is that players will see his videos and be confident in sharing their videos or taking their skills to the next level.
At Westerville United players are holding each other accountable. Director and Coach Jacob Kirby shared that while they have “looked to utilize online training resources to engage players during the time away from team training” and that “many teams have sent out individual training/fitness sessions and (that players) actively hold teammates accountable.” Coach Kirby shared that he is proud to see his players communicate directly with each other daily and that “it has been tremendous to see the level of leadership many of our athletes have shown through training on their own and creating sessions for each other.”
Although players, clubs and trainers are taking different approaches across the region when it comes to keeping players engaged and active we found one one common theme; we all miss soccer. As Coach Kirby of Westerville United said, “It has been a tough time for everyone, and it has been difficult to to adapt to the virtual training sessions. Knowing that the work players put in now will eventually pay off is what guides us forward. We are hopeful to get back together soon!”