Claudia achieved the Coaching F License at 20 and has since coached with Berkshire Soccer Academy in Massachusetts and had experience working with Team First (made up of several of the 1999 USA women’s World Cup winning team). She continues to play for Columbia International University in South Carolina as well as being the Varsity Girls Assistant and a Head Soccer Coach at Ridgeview High School. Claudia is passionate about training other girls to become better athletes on and off the field, like so many coaches did for her.
As athletes we all want to get better with each practice and game. As coaches we want our athletes to learn from our practices, the countless reps and drills. After each practice athletes do get better, even if they feel like they haven’t. Each day you train is a day you can and will get better, no matter how big or small.
A word that my college soccer team uses is “Kaizen” which means 1% better. To get better each day at what you do. For soccer we go in focused and ready to train, we work hard, and then we leave practice with a new understanding of a drill and plays. We have trained our bodies to be healthier and more fit. You don’t have to get 100% better each day or even 50%, it is about working hard and working to get to 100%. It takes time, it will hurt, sometimes you’ll get frustrated, and sometimes you’ll want to quit. But the fact is you’ve come this far and you’ve worked to get better every day so in the end it is all worth it.
The 1% better doesn’t just mean in athletics, but also life in general. I fully believe that if one part of your life isn’t improving or being worked on then the other parts can’t have a healthy balance. For my team it means to improve on the field through our relationships and practices. We want to be the best team we can, but we also want to be the best humans as well. Our coach wants us to make an impact on and off the field. This can be done through how we play and interact with our teammates and other teams. This past fall season our team earned the NISOA Sportsmanship Award for how we competed at our national tournament. Part of being given that award is from our personal morals, but also what was coached to us at our practices. Our coaches wanted us to play at a high level of skill, but also hold a level of sportsmanship.
The amazing time and effort that coaches put into their teams is amazing. Looking at teams that work as a unit and have set goals and are reaching them show that. Coaches do so much more than just coach. They lead and help their teams improve and reach those goals. By their actions coaches are showing their players that 1% better is something to work towards. Everyday we get better, everyday we train harder, and sooner or later that 1% will pay off.