COPA STC PROVIDES INNOVATIVE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT FOR WALNUT CREEK SURF SOCCER
Walnut Creek Surf Soccer Club (WCSC) and COPA Soccer Training Center (COPA STC) continue their commitment to providing innovative player development efforts to their players and coaches for the 2022-2023 season. The partnership between WCSC and COPA STC has pioneered the COPA Score, individual player reports, Team Reports for coaches, and weekly performance training.
Objective Assessment: The COPA Score
Objective assessments are critical for athletes looking to take their game to the next level. Research has shown objective assessments can improve performance and facilitate more effective training plans (Lloyd et al., 2014). The COPA Score assessment, which is based on data-driven analysis, provides a comprehensive evaluation of an athlete’s skills, including technical, physical, and cognitive aspects of the game. The COPA Score is conducted in the skills.lab Arena, one of only four in the world, provides players with a clear understanding of their strengths and areas for improvement. WCSC coaches and staff use this objective data to build optimal training sessions, curriculums, and individual development plans for their players.
COPA Score: For the Player
One of the key benefits of the partnership between WCSC and COPA STC is the repeatable assessment provided to players, which allows them to objectively compare their results to previous rounds of assessments. Research has shown that providing athletes with regular feedback on their performance can improve their motivation, engagement, and skill development (Hodge & Lonsdale, 2011). Each player receives a detailed scorecard on their performance, a comparison to their peer group, personalized training recommendations, and a comparison to past performances in the COPA Score.
COPA Score: For the Coach
Coaches and club leadership receive a detailed Team Report per age group, which provides them with access to otherwise unmeasurable data points on their players. Objective data can help coaches identify talent, create more purposeful training sessions, and set more specific individual development plans for players (Pulido et al., 2018). The Team Reports provide a comparison of all players across the age group and a snapshot into their development. Coaches can use this information in their training environment to set more specific Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for players and create more purposeful training sessions that expose players to certain topics. It also provides coaching staff an opportunity to identify talent within their own club.
Future Opportunities: NorCal PDP Pathways
NorCal Premier has recently recognized the COPA Score as one of the core pathways for players to gain an opportunity to play with the renowned PDP program. This announcement was made by NorCal Premier President Benjamin Ziemer at the recent NorCal AGM, which was held at COPA STC. The COPA Score represents the first-ever data-driven objective influence on player selection for an elite-level youth soccer program. Further details will be released on this incredible benefit for the COPA Score and local players that aspire to play PDP soccer once the upcoming multi-year partnership is announced later this month.
Performance Training for Younger Players: SpeedLab
Research has shown that the development of physical qualities is crucial in a young player’s development and that structured training programs can improve speed, agility, and reduce the risk of injury (Lloyd et al., 2013). WCSC’s younger players participate in weekly training sessions at COPA STC led by SpeedLab’s performance coaching staff. Players on competitive teams aged 2014–2011 have been going through a progressive curriculum each week over the winter and spring seasons. These young players have been provided with an environment to develop their movement skills, with a particular emphasis on speed and agility. Assessments are also at the heart of this program, with these young players most recently going through their second round of testing in SpeedLab. See some content from WCSC’s testing in SpeedLab here. Each player receives a scorecard with actionable and gamified feedback designed to motivate them to continue developing. Coaches of these teams have also been provided with detailed Team Reports assessing the physical progress of their players. All participating teams showed improvement in their performance results from December to March.
COPA STC’s club partnerships are designed to provide athletes with a comprehensive set of tools and resources to help them reach their full potential. The WCSC partnership is no different. The objective assessments, progress tracking with the COPA Score, and performance training with SpeedLab all contribute to the success of WCSC athletes. As this partnership continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more benefits for athletes looking to take their game to the next level.