San Diego Surf SC Presents Summer Soccer Camps
Summer is the season for soccer camps, and one of the top series this year promises to be the San Diego Surf Summer Soccer Camps scheduled for June 23-26, July 14-17 and August 11-14. Directed by Surf SC Boys Director of Coaching Wayne Harrison and Surf SC Camp Director Brian Monjazeb, the three youth soccer sessions are divided into three distinct programs to better serve players of all ages and skill levels. With Premier Camp, Advanced Camp and Elite Camp programs, every player can find just the right challenge and improve their player performance while having a great time.
Playing the game isn’t just about running up and down the field at 100 miles an hour,” says Harrison, “a vital part is what is going on inside the head of every player. As coaches we train the thinking process of each player as well as training their bodies. This is a vital part of our programs.”
The Premier Camp Program is designed for beginning, recreational and new competitive players ages 5-8. For these young athletes, the 12 hours of training will focus on individual technical skills such as dribbling and shooting with small-sided games to help hone the lessons. The Premier Camp will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and participants will receive a Nike Surf Soccer Camp shirt.
For slightly older and more experienced players, the Advanced Camp Program provides 18 hours of training in individual technical skills, transitioning to tactical passing and field awareness. Experienced recreational and competitive players ages 8-11 will train from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. While players may attend individually, this is a good opportunity for teams to learn together. Participants will receive a Nike Surf Soccer Camp shirt and a ball.
The top level of player development is the Elite Camp Program, with a full 24 hours of training for experienced competitive players ages 10-14. Running from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., this camp is for players who are truly serious about their game. Training will emphasize tactical skills, passing, vision and soccer awareness. The camp will include film study and group discussion to enhance learning and help develop thinking players and improve individual and team tactical understanding. Players will receive a complete Nike Surf Soccer Camp kit and ball.
The Elite Camp Program will teach the 4-2-3-1 system of play that is widely used by professional teams around the world and which has been successfully implemented at Surf SC. The style is based on the best training models in European professional soccer, and has been written about extensively by Harrison in his books.
“Our method of teaching is player-focused, not coach-focused,” Harrison explains. “Players will be challenged to think for themselves and solve their own problems on the pitch. This is the difference we are creating in youth player development – thinking for themselves and making their own decisions rather than waiting to be told by the coach. We don’t tell the players what to do; rather, we guide them to the best choices.”
Since joining Surf SC, Harrison has had a huge impact on the program. Surf SC teams are successfully competing against some of the top teams in Southern California, including LA Galaxy Academy, FC Golden State and Total Futbol Academy. This year the club teams won State and National titles, and the 2002 Boys’ Team will be competing in the VW Junior Masters National Championships.
“All this can be linked to the training that we do in our club,” says Harrison. “This is the exact same successful player development we will be providing to participants in our summer camps.”
SoccerToday News editor Diane Scavuzzo spoke with Harrison about the summer camps and how the training at Surf SC will be integrated into the program.
Diane Scavuzzo: San Diego Surf SC has an excellent reputation for player development and success on the field in local and national competitions. Will training at the summer camps be similar to how players are trained at the Club during the year?
Wayne Harrison: Yes, this is the exact same successful player development. Often players are not successful on the pitch because they don’t know how to get in “the zone.” Our goal for all players at the summer program is to help them be better able to achieve that state.
Diane Scavuzzo: We always hear that term, “in the zone.” Just exactly what do you mean by it?
Wayne Harrison: I like the way Dr. Aynsley Smith, a sports psychology consultant at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, explains it. He says it’s a state where your body and your mind are synchronized, so to speak. Dr. Smith describes it as being calm and energized at the same time. You are focused, but you do things instinctively. The zone is really about executing without really thinking – doing it automatically.
In order to be in the zone, you have to train yourself physically as well as mentally. We show players how to get their body to the point that it more or less can think for itself. Once they are in condition and they have those soccer skills well in hand, then the mental training comes into play. We want to help players build their confidence so that they are relaxed and can just let it all flow.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do the physical and mental training work together?
Wayne Harrison: Players have to train physically in order to get their muscles used to certain actions. By doing this over and over, the muscles “remember” those movements, and that makes the skills easier to perform. They become natural rather than forced, so that the player no longer has to remember mentally. The body just does it.
We do the same for their decision-making skills. By making them not only explain what they are going to do but why, we encourage them to think deeper about their game.
Over time, this improves their thinking ability physically as well. Everyone knows about the neurons in the brain and how they carry messages to the body through electrical impulses.
Our brains also have something called myelin that both insulates the nerve fibers and increases the strength of the impulses. When we do more thinking and learning and analyzing, the myelin grows and helps the nerves work better. It’s all connected, you might say.
Diane Scavuzzo: How else do you help players to improve?
Wayne Harrison: We teach the kids a number of mental techniques, including relaxation, visualization and positive self-talk. These can all work together to help players better handle the stresses on field and improve their concentration and confidence. For example, we teach kids to focus on what they want to do, not what they don’t want to do. If you tell yourself “don’t miss this shot,” your mind is going to focus on missing the shot.
Then guess what you’ll do? Instead we have them focus on making the shot, scoring the goal and being successful.
The mind will do the rest.
All San Diego Surf Summer Soccer Camps will be held at the San Diego Polo Club, the same beautiful natural grass fields that host the Surf Cup every summer, and will have a coach-to-player ratio of 1:12. For more information, visit the Surf Soccer Summer Camps web page.