This week, our guest is Joe Clarke, head coach of the men’s soccer team at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL)
Some players have the potential to become quality coaches, some don’t. Well, Joe Clarke definitely has the talent. He has the type of coaching that gives the player the confidence he needs to develop all his potential. And the guys simply like him… After a professional career as a player in the NASL (St. Louis Stars and California Surf) and the Major Indoor Soccer League, he became directly coach at the St. Louis University. The transition is never easy but coach Clarke did it with great honours. In 1997, he took the job at WUSTL, a position he holds today. Mr. Clarke is one of the coaches who believes that, in order to win games and trophies, technical, tactical and fitness trainings are not enough. You need to build a team where everybody is involved, to create a team spirit with individuals all moving towards the same goal… Let’s learn more about that:
When analyzing successes of Soccer teams, coaches are often highlighting the Team Spirit and the quality of the relationships between the players. Do you consider that those factors are essential and do you try to develop them during the season?
Yes, team chemistry is very important to the success of a team and yes, as a coach I actively work to dissolve potential problems and to build rapport between players.
That does not mean they all have to be best friends and spend lots of time together. It does mean they have to put the team first even when things are not going the way they want. Individually, players have to control how they think (not allow their self protective instinct to blame others when things are not going right, i.e. not a starter, to ensure players do not tune out the coach.) The team has to pull together as one in the same direction in order to max out. A team also does better when all the players are carrying thru on the commitment to succeed. Players need to trust each other, players want teammates who are also committed.
“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi