There is nothing quite like landing in Ft. Lauderdale, getting bumped up to a Red Mustang with Satellite Radio, and tuning into a channel that plays Springsteen 24/7. Cruising down I-95 to Barry University for the National Player Development Camp.
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In terms of staffing a NPDC, I'm interested in two things. First, can we find a group of college coaches committed to overall player development and willing to spend 1-on-1 time with each athlete? Second, does the coaching staff represent a group that gives the athlete a good amount of exposure to the demands of being a collegiate soccer player?
In Miami, we accomplished both goals. With Steve McCrath (Barry University) leading coaches from Florida International University, Florida Atlantic, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, we had something pretty special.
On Friday we sampled the local fare, which in Miami means Cuban at Coach McCrath's favorite: Little Havana. Great dinner with the staff, and a chance to take a look in advance at each of the players who registered to attend the camp. During this dinner we discuss how to best use the weekend to help each player, and we come away with a guide for how we want the development camp to be uniquely tailored to the athletes in attendance.
The weekend brought a tremendous amount of talent with players joining us from all over Florida. Their was great energy brought to the field and classroom and I want to give a shout out to Host Coach Steve McCrath for bringing it. Some coaches really get what this is about. Coach McCrath gets it and everyone benefited from his enthusiasm.
Barry has great facilities and players left Saturday completely exhausted but ready for more. The staff ran them hard, and we covered a lot in each classroom session, with Dr. Jennifer Gapin leading our sports psychology session and covering some really important material for the athletes and how to deal with emotion in competition.
Little doubt we'll be back in Miami next winter for round two of the boys NPDC Miami. Hopefully they've kept the Mustang in running order for a cruise down I-95 and some of the best soccer in the country.