I am normally an ardent supporter of H.S. Soccer, but I just returned from a parents and players meeting with my son's high school coaches. (We play high school soccer in the spring here, location and school not important, don't ask) I would like to say the meeting was a run of the mill, get the info the parents need into their hands, and say a little about the program and coaches' philosophy. Well, the info part was run of the mill. Boosters, fund raiser, fees, etc. The philosophy and stated emphasis of the coaches has me feeling like I just finished watching Rod Sterling, and an episode of The Twilight Zone. I almost can't believe what I just heard. I will try to coherently lay it out for you, and then I will tell you what two other parents, who have experience (this is our first year) in the program told me afterward. First, all of pre-season training is uber focused on fitness. We are a week or so into this so I was not surprised by this info. More so I was surprised that the coaches were so blunt about the focus. Now, I know that fitness and agility are important aspects of soccer, but great players, and even good players, spend a huge portion of their training time until the age of 18 on skill work, technique and small game play. Heck, even after 18, much time is spent with the ball. Second, the kids were not encouraged to play pick-up together prior to the season. In fact, the coaches said it was counter productive, because it's not organized enough. What? Isn't that the point, to get the coaches out of the way a couple times a week. Third, and this is where I talked with a couple other parents. These other parents, also former high level players, said that the coaches do indeed focus on pretty much only fitness. They went on to tell me that the practices during the season focused almost entirely on player positioning and what EXACTLY each players role is, at all times. I said that the kids needed to know what is expected of them. The parents told me that it's a little over the top; that the coaches just go over and over things like dumping the ball in the corner and trying to win the ball when the other team tries to move it up field. The parents said there is zero responsibility taken by the coaches to help the players get better individually. The coaches own statement on individual improvement is this. "The time to get better is in the off season." Again, what the heck does this mean. If all the coaches take this approach the only thing my son would be doing all year is running, and learning how to defend and trying NOT TO LOSE. So, I'm just a little miffed. My son loves the game. He stays fit on his own, he doesn't need a lot of extra running. That's kind of like a carpenter just sawing pieces of wood in half, over and over and never creating anything. I hope it's not as bad for the next three months as it sounds. I know my son, he will be bored and angry. He won't let on, but it will get to him. What a waste. Hours a day for three months. Playing a beautiful sport, but not really playing. I feel for the fringe kids who will go through all this running and mindless tactical bull, and not get to play in the games. Thanks for listening to my rant.