1: Create and stick to an at home daily practice routine.

I’ll never forget when I was attending pre school at the YMCA as a 4 year old. My mom picked me up on the very first day and I asked her to go to the gym to shoot baskets. On that first day, I picked up a full sized basketball and had a go at a hoop that is regular height. On those first few attempts, I was not even close to finding the backboard, let alone the rim and the hoop.

My mom said to me on that day – “Mikey, we are going to come here every day and by the end of the year you are going to be making baskets.” It didn’t take more than half the year and I was one of the best 4-year-olds in the Wyoming Valley, hitting that square on the backboard and swishing the ball. My mom taught me at a very early age the importance of discipline, practice, determination, and drive. She helped me realize the impossible is possible.

Make it your goal this year to identify some “impossibles” for you and your game…and get to work consistently. Nothing worth achieving happens overnight. Example routines: juggling and combinations, footwork patterns, wall and a ball, FITNESS!

2: Play more soccer.

I can remember being on the sidelines of my older sister’s games desperately praying that they would be short players so I would be able to play. On the occasions it happened, the feeling was brilliant. My dad was the coach and would have to put on the restrictions for me but just simply playing was and is still a joyous feeling. Do not wait on the sidelines or for your opportunity for an organized game.

Example games: Get your siblings together for a daily match. Get your parents involved in the game. Get neighborhood friends and PLAY the game. Make the rules, make the goals and play. There is no such thing as free time and a couch.

3: Improve your passing skills.

The best players in the World at ANY level (travel, high school, college, pro, international) IMO are the ones who make their teammates better. The glory may go to the goal scorers at times. But as my parents both have said to me time and again, “the cream will rise”. This to me meant that you work hard, you do your job, you be the best version of yourself for your teammates. If you become the best version of yourself in the sacrifice of others, you are transcending your skills outside of sport and in to life.

Example passing: Wall and a ball, friend and a ball, watching soccer games, ball and a net with targets.

Happy 2019 – I hope you make it a good one!