I watched my son grow up and develop as a soccer player over several years and now after many hours of practice and games, he is playing professional soccer. It's a dream come true for him and all there is left to do is for him to continue to play at higher levels and perfect his game. Time will only tell where he ends up when the game ends for him as it does for every player.
I am often asked by other parents whose children dream of playing professional soccer how my son became a professional athlete. I am no expert on the matter, but I did see a few things over the years that I think made a big difference for my son. From a very early age, he showed me that he loved the game. He studied it at a very early age and I have kept all his notes from watching matches on TV. As good as he is as a player, I think he will make an even bigger mark as a coach someday. Nevertheless, his passion for the game and his desire to always get better and to be the best has never stopped. I noticed over the years that he always loved going to practice and every minute he played in every game. If he didn’t make practice or didn’t get to play in a game, he was in a bad mood until the next chance to play. This is true even today. LOL. Well anyways, back to the point of this article……I also noticed that at an early age, my son practiced by himself as much or more than he practiced with his team. I didn’t ask him to do this, he did it on his own. If he wasn’t at home, or at school, I could always find him at the local field dribbling, crossing the ball, making up practice drills and just working on his skills. And it didn’t matter what the weather was like. Even today as a professional soccer player, he practices on his own every day and for more hours than his team practices. This dedication to practice by himself, was not done for just one week, or one month or even over one season. This routine has been steady and consistent for most of his playing years. You can't teach this or require it as a parent. It is just something that has to come from the player. Looking back, I am sure that the time he spent working on his own is what has truly separated him from others, who are just as talented or more than he is. The only other thing that I have noticed that may have given him an advantage over other players, is his near excessive dedication to conditioning and good eating habits. His dedication to conditioning and eating right all started in college. He works on his conditioning almost every day and eats as healthy as possible. I can see that it has made a difference in his speed, endurance and overall performance. Late in a games, he is still able to make runs and get back on defense. From my vantage point, it seems like a little thing that over time, has made a difference.
As all of you know or suspect, there are many factors that go into the making of a professional athlete, some that you can control and lots that you cannot control. But, practicing on your own and being in very good shape will give you a big advantage as a player and help improve your chances of becoming a professional player someday, if that is your dream too. At least, that is what I think I saw as a proud father.
Sweetshot90 was designed so players, young and experienced, could practice their shooting on their own without the help of an adult or a step ladder to hang the target on the goal. It's perfect for practicing on your own and with your friends and teammates. It would be a good first step to developing a practice routine that will benefit you for years to come.