Now about two and a half weeks into my internship, I am really beginning to settle in. Though I was somewhat nervous about my placement with a soccer academy, I hoped to make the best of the situation, and hopefully fall in love with a new sport.
The past two weeks have come with quite a few ups and downs in my work life, and have forced quite a bit of adjustment. Coming in, I hoped to be working with athletic trainers and fitness coaches, with my major being Exercise Science. After the first few days, I learned that the program is extremely small. During the regular season, there are designated fitness coaches, but for right now, it’s me. I’m the fitness coach.
Learning this absolutely terrified me. Sure, I plan my own personal workouts, but I’ve never been responsible for designing something for a group, especially not one with such specific needs. To start off, I was asked to lead warmups at the beginning of practices twice a week. Easy enough. Except for having no idea what types of warmups are needed for soccer players. Thankfully another intern at the company played for years, and was able to get me started.
At my first practice, I had four players. They were about 14, which was great, because they didn’t question me at all. Warmups went well, practice began, and I observed, pretty much awestruck that these 14 year olds played soccer better than I ever would. I spent my first two weeks with these players, and got very comfortable with my responsibilities. Then came week 3.
In week 3, my normal players returned home, and five new players arrived. These were much closer to my age, which was extremely intimidating. They seem to have their own routine, knowing exactly what they need in a warmup. The first day, I just watched. These guys totally know what they’re doing, and I feel a little strange telling them to do things. However, on the second day, I went for it (didn’t have much of a choice). We did some dynamic stretching, which I hadn’t seen them do the day before and I know is essential, along with ladder drills. With my younger players, I led the ladder drills, but these guys knew even more ways to get through a ladder than me. Because of this, I set the ladder down and told them to do what they typically would to get warm. When this was all finally over, and I felt like a high schooler telling a professional athlete what to do, I sent them on their way to practice.
Despite my nervousness, I know that it will get easier to work as a coach. I was asked to be here because of my skill-set and career goals, so it would be pointless to let my hesitation prevent me from learning new training techniques. In such a short time, I have gained a major appreciation for the sport of football, along with the profession of coaching. I cannot wait to see where the next 5 weeks take me, and I am ready to embrace the inevitable challenges.
Till next time,