After playing four years of D1 soccer in college, I took some time off to travel and play professional soccer for a local club in France. When I returned to the states, I started coaching club soccer. One of my former teammates, who was running the boys teams for one of the better soccer clubs in SoCal, called me to see if I wanted to coach. I jumped at the chance. I guess my thirst for soccer was still strong.
However, I quickly found out that coaching was not the same as playing. Things I took for granted throughout my playing days just weren’t present in many of my players. The majority of my 05 and 06 teams were quite talented, and their families were extremely supportive. But there were a lot of times that everyone was not on the same page. And it cost us. The team struggled unnecessarily, and the players were missing opportunities that they deserved.
A friend told me he’d had a similar challenge with one of his teams. Something that helped him turn things around was an app called AdotME. He had just recently started using it with his players, and he had already seen significant improvement. As it turns out, AdotME is an accomplishment tracking app. He said it worked well to create incentives for his players and their families. It was the first time everyone was on the same page.
I decided that I wanted to give it a try too. I had been asking my players to juggle for 10 minutes a day and do a handful of other ball control activities. I knew these drills would help them improve their confidence and composure on the ball. And as a team that was just what we needed. Some of the kids were doing it, but most weren’t. And every time I brought it up it was always the same old excuses.
So I decided to use AdotMe to implement an incentive program. I asked parents to download AdotMe and then to take photos and videos of their children juggling at home. I told them that the kids who practiced the most would play the most. And this turned out to be just the incentive I had been looking for. Before I knew it, parents were sending me a steady stream of “vouch” requests. (That’s how AdotMe verifies accomplishments.) My players loved it and so did their parents. I estimate the app accelerated the improvement of our first touch by a half a season in a few short weeks. Suffice to say, I’m using the app now for practice attendance, goals scored in tournaments, and match MVPs.