Change means a new approach, and as the new head coach for the women’s soccer team, Ciara Crinion understands that her ideas may not be the same as former coach Rick Stainton’s. Each coach has a different belief of how to conduct his or her program, and that is why Crinion is fully aware of her culture shock to the team.
“Two coaches are not the same, so we bring in with different ideas a different kind of mentality and we are looking for different things in the team,” Crinion said. “Something we do value is the team culture and how the players have a relationship with each other and trust each other. For us, that is the foundation to a good program, it is the players that are in it and the relationships they have.”
“For us, one of the things is we want to improve them as soccer players, but it is also about them as people. I feel we have come in with different ideas and naturally being a different coach, that happens. But for us it is to develop them as people, athletes, and as students, getting them ready for what they will be doing after Seton Hall as well.”
Crinion’s priority is establishing chemistry the team, as she wants to invest as much as she can into relationships with players as the players invest in one another. To promote team bonding in the offseason, Crinion had the program come together for an unorthodox camping trip during the summer, which payed immense dividends for the locker room.
“We spent a week in cabins up in Lake George,” defender Dani Brinckman said. “I have never had a team mesh as well as we did. The chemistry definitely got better. Everyone is focused on getting to know everyone, not just staying in their little groups of people they already know. Everything has been more team oriented and everyone is much more in it, much more focused on everything.”
The changes from Crinion’s style have been displayed in the way she prepares her players for practices and matches too. Her tactics are much more in-depth than the previous regime’s.
“We have tried to have meetings [in the past] where we say, ‘This is going to be our goal,’ but we never stuck to it as much,” Brinckman said. “And, just before the game, every line had goals that they had to do. We have never had such specific goals in the past. We had an overlaying goal in the end: we want to win. But in the end, everybody wants to win. This time we are doing more controllable goals that we can.”
The attention to detail allows the players to know how to handle themselves, giving them the ability to be more aware in game situations. The comfortability gives Crinion’s players the chance to expand upon their talents and grow.
“A lot of what we talk about with our players is their decision and how they read the game,” Crinion said. “When you talk to players and they ask, ‘What should I do here, what should I do there,’ we can give them answers, but at the same time, we need them to own what is their development, so we put it back on them. I do think for us it is about empowering the players, understand that we control the ideas, but it is them that carries everything out on gameday.”
The combination of empowering players and utilizing new forms of tactics for players to maximize potential has enabled confidence from the unit. Each player knows the future will be much better than the past.
“On this team we all thought we had it the past two years,” Brinckman said. “We thought we were there, we thought we were engaged. But now seeing what we could be, we realize what it should have been and what it can be, and we have to make sure to build off of that. We never thought we could get to the level we are at.”
Robert Fallo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @robert_fallo.