By Greg Bach
Professional soccer standout Sarah Killion doesn’t have time for dwelling on mistakes during games.
That’s because she’s too busy making sure her next play is a good one.
“In the thick of things when I make a mistake I quickly forget about it because it’s over,” says Killion, the playmaking midfielder for Sky Blue FC in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and a former national champion at UCLA. “I move onto the next play and make sure my next play is good, whether it’s just a five-yard pass or I’m stepping into a tackle. Whatever it is, just make sure your next play is good and go from there to get your confidence back up.”
Heady advice for all coaches to instill in their young athletes so bad plays don’t morph into an ugly string of them.
Killion urges players to use game time to respond with a positive play in the wake of a not-so-good-one; and use post-game as the time to reflect, evaluate and learn from any miscues that occurred in the heat of the action.
“I’m going to make mistakes, it’s as simple as that,” she says. “But how can I learn from them? After the game you can replay it in your head and ask yourself what you could have done differently or what you could have done better.”
FIRE UP THE FUNDAMENTALS
Killion has competed on the international stage throughout her career, including starting for the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team that won the FIFA World Championship, as well as being on the U-23 National Team which won the Four Nations Tournament.
And throughout that journey there has always been a focus on the fundamentals.
“I’ll tell you right now, even at the highest levels, we are still doing some of the same drills that we were doing when we were 8, 9 and 10,” she says. “So my message to volunteer coaches is to make it fun, be energetic, but just go back to the fundamentals. Teach them how to properly pass, dribble and shoot. Nail down those fundamentals and eventually other parts of their game will start falling into place.”
When Killion returns to her childhood home in Fort Wayne, Ind. – where she was a dominant high school performer and a three-time Player of the Year in the state – those fundamentals are what she dials into, too.
She’s conducted several camps for children through the years because she remembers how important it is to have positive influences growing up and she is committed to giving back.
“It’s a dream come true to come back and hopefully be a positive impact for girls both on and off the field,” she says. “So whenever I am back in Fort Wayne I try to put together a clinic and see how many girls I can get out there and just have a good time and try to hopefully improve their game.”
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