We asked tournament veterans what’s the one thing you do now as either a staff or as program that you wish you did your first tournament?
Coach #1 – Getting film for all teams you could possibly play in the tournament.
A first time tournament team might be so focused on game one that they fail to prepare for game two. What happens if you win? Are you in a position to take advantage of your success?
Technology like Krossover and YouTube has made scouting much easier for MCLA coaches.
Coach #2 – Feeding 50 boys for a week away from home is a significant challenge. Get as much stuff done beforehand so you can actually worry about coaching. Go to CostCo to procure ice for makeshift cold tubs. Schedule team meals at local restaurants in advance.
Complexity in preparation allows simplicity in operation. Don’t be afraid to ask the parents for help. The last thing you want to do is drop $30,000 for a trip and then make one kid go eat at McDonald’s because it’s everyone for themselves. Anxiety off the field translates to tight sticks on the field.
Coach #3 – You might not get as much field time as you’d like. Be willing to do walk throughs in a parking lot.
I distinctly remember one tournament when Team A was practicing during Team B’s time slot and there wasn’t an MCLA tournament rep present to sort it out. Be flexible. Keep your composure. Make sure the boys know that even though you’re behind an In & Out Burger this is still an important 45 period to lock in mentally.
Coach #4 – Having one or two secondary players that can contribute meaningful minutes is the difference between winning and losing the semi finals.
If you’ve been ride or die on one midfield line, you’re not going to win a national title, especially if you have a challenging quarterfinal game. Player development and recruiting isn’t something that you can change in one week before the first round game, but you can liberally sub if you’re a top 6 seed. Better to win a game 10-6 and have gas for the second round then run up the score and run down your horses.
Coach #5 – Request early morning practice times on off days. Mid day practices will be very hot and totally kill the day. Head to the movies during the afternoon to pay for mantinee prices. Also, bring coolers of cold towels to the sideline on game day. You can soak the hotel hand towels in ice water. The tournament provides water to the sideline but that’s it.
Coach #6 – Tournament games are all filmed and put online shortly there after but we also send our people to film the next opponent so we can watch immediately there after.
Tips from Coach #5 and #6 speak again to controlling what you can control.
If you want film even faster, use an iPad.
Best of luck to all teams competing in the national tournament next week.
All coaches who contributed have won a national championship or recently participated in a national championship.