I wrote an article a while ago about the reasons my club players like High School soccer. I had the chance to see them play a few times this season and had a conversation with some of my players. They were counting the days down until they could return to club practice. The players are a year older now (and more mature) and I think they realize that they gain significantly more from a legitimate training environment. They view the game differently and embrace the challenge of becoming better every day.
The boys said that they like playing high school, but they do not feel as though they are making progress. The practices lack detail and realism, so very little learning takes place. This was a pleasant surprise, as it came from them without prompting. I do not believe in making my players feel like they have to choose between club and high school. I support that they want to play for their school. It makes me happy that they can now see a difference. Most of these players are sophomores. A year ago high school was the best thing for them in their opinion.
I hope now they put more effort into improvement when we resume training in a week. The last of my players lost their postseason games tonight, so I have them back. Now it is time to assess the damage and move on. My main concern is that they are tired physically and mentally. We have to participate in a state sanctioned tournament in a few weeks, so I have to be careful not to do too much. Many of the players are already on the decline, so I have my work cut out for me. The good news is that I have players returning to me with a different perspective.