Published: January 18, 2012
It’s all about the team, so they say.
It is likely UCLA women’s coach B.J. Snow has said something along those lines during his coaching career, but this spring on the Westwood campus, it’s all about “me.”
Not “me” as in “my goals take precedence over the team’s,” but rather “working on making myself better so that this team can be better.”
Snow reiterated during an interview with TopDrawerSoccer.com that the focal point of the off season with his group is for each player to work on improving the areas where it is most needed.
“Our spring is dedicated to making everyone get better individually,” Snow said. “We sit down with all the girls and figure out what it is they can each do individually that will be the best thing for them looking toward next year.
“They need to take responsibility for that,” he continued. “This is not just for their success here, but if they have aspirations to be a professional. We like to treat them like professionals when they are here.”
Snow added that the spring program could thus look different for each player.
“They’ll be working on various technical aspects of the game,” he said. “We’ll talk with each about which nuances to devote themselves to. Some may work on long service. Some may work on individual defending, or finishing, or crossing. For some it might be fitness, speed or strength. The next six months really will be devoted to that. We try to bring in the kind of players who have that sort of devotion, that will put in the sorts of hours to make themselves better. If players decide to take their foot off the gas in the spring, it will show up in the fall. “
Snow added that this emphasis means the team will come way under the normal allotment of hours permitted for spring by the NCAA.
“We don’t go every day in the spring. That is their time to get better as players. We go 3 days a week, and we play futsal one of those days, which we feel is a big part of development,” he said. “We do a lot of competitive things when we’re with the whole group, but less is more in the spring. If we came out and trained every time, they would have no time or energy to work on the individual things we want them to do every day.”
Snow’s attention to detail is likely fueled by the obvious high potential of this group. UCLA at times started 8 freshmen in the 2011 season, which ended with a surprise loss on PKs to San Diego in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. With another year of seasoning for players like Abby Dahlkemper, Samantha Mewis, Sarah Killion, Kylie McCarthy, Megan Oyster and Ally Courtnall, plus another strong freshman class coming to Westwood in the fall, the coach can’t help but be bullish on his team’s prospects.
“We kind of wish the season could start now, but any coach will tell you that August will seem like it gets here next week anyway,” he said. “We have a lot to do to build for the fall.”