I received the following note from a former female college player and college assistant coach:
"Coach Harbin, I've been asked by a local club to speak to their athletes about the mistakes that I made as a player--specifically the mistakes that I made when college coaches were watching. Most of these mistakes were unbeknownst to me at the time I was playing, but realized years later when I was the one on the sidelines recruiting.
Here is where I would love to leverage your experience. I've been out of the coaching ranks for a few years and I hope that you can spend 5 minutes or less responding to the following question: What kinds of mistakes have you seen youth players make when college coaches are watching?
The more valuable information I can collect and share with these girls, the better the chance I can make a positive difference in their soccer lives. I'm not coaching at the college level anymore, but I am incredibly passionate about player development and helping youth athletes reach their next level. So I thank you ahead of time for helping me achieve that goal."
I thought this was a great question and definitely worth addressing. Rather than listing the mistakes, I went the other direction and put together this short list of the things most coaches look for in players. Keep these things in mind and you'll likely avoid most of the mistakes.
- Stay involved off the ball.
- Find a way to impact the game on a consistent basis, regardless of the score or what your teammates are doing.
- Communicate in an effective manner with your coaches, teammates and parents.
- Be a positive, responsible, autonomous personality before, during and after games.
Improve your skills. Search for a soccer camp.
Paul Harbin is the director of harbinsoccer.com and creator of paulharbin.com. Following the 2010 season, Harbin retired from the college ranks where he coached at the NCAA Division I level (UAB and Mercer University) for 22 years; 18 as a Head Coach. Across his career, Harbin's teams have been known nationally for their skill, talent, and success on the field. As importantly, they've also been known for their many successes off the field, in the classroom and throughout their community. He has been directing successful residential, team and day camps for over 20 years and continues to do so today. As with his teams, the main goal of camp is to help develop confident and responsible young people in an environment that that is both challenging and enjoyable.