Over at the NC-Soccer Forum, a soccer mom new to Select (Classic) is wondering about all the additional equipment costs. Not cleats and soccer balls, but uniforms (two – home and away), warmups, bags, plus practice gear that must be worn at every practice.
The bit about matching practice gear got me thinking and talking with some other coaches. Should travel soccer players be required to buy and wear matching outfits for practices? We all want our travel teams to look sharp during matches. When it’s cold out, warmups can be very cool, and of course every coach loves to have all the matching backpacks lined up in a row. It’s some bizarre psychological thing – don’t ask. But matching practice attire? Required?
I can’t imagine telling a player they had to go home because they didn’t wear the league certified gray T-Shirt with league emblem and matching black shorts. That seems so wrong.
On the flip side, I can see the team building aspect of having the players wear the same thing to practice. It can build a sense of team and equality, something other coaches noted as well. If you don’t enforce it, they won’t wear it. My daughter’s coach got them matching outfits last year, but didn’t require they wear them to every practice. So they didn’t always.
What do you think? Is matching practice attire worth it? Should a coach have a zero tolerance policy if someone forgets to wear theirs? Does it have that much of a mental impact on travel players?
I’m still on the fence about it. But I think I may give it a try this season to see how it works. My girls have come together as a team, but it might be interesting to see if something like this has the desired effect and brings them further. But I’m not sure I could bring myself to have a zero tolerance policy. Maybe make someone who forgets run some hills or something. But sending the player home from practice seems a bit much.