Spring Blog #4 Women in Coaching, District Seed Assist and Field Infoby Admin on 04/29/22
Blog #4 - Women in Coaching, District Seeding Assist and Field Types and Preferences
Item 1: Recently brought to our attention…Missouri has an up and coming coaches association to empower high school female coaches in our state and our male advocates. This is for coaches of any sport. We would love to have a good representation from our Missouri soccer community!
MIAAA Women's Coaches Association Mission Statement:
Our mission is to support female high school coaches in Missouri by creating a strong, inclusive network that empowers, educates and develops female coaches throughout their careers, to retain and grow the number of women in sports.
Become a member and learn more information here: https://miaaawca.org/
Item 2: Starting on Monday we will be releasing a “District Seeding Assist” page for the girls season. We will likely just post it for the next two weeks until district seedings are completed, but we thought this might be a useful guide for coaches in districts where many don’t play each other. Unfortunately MSHSAA doesn’t release district (and class) assignments until the season has already started, which doesn’t always allow for head-to-head results (the #1 factor in determining district seeding, but often a complicated task if multiple teams are involved). MSHSAA has to wait to see which programs will be fielding teams for the season ahead and that often takes a few weeks into the season…this spring there have already been a few that started but won’t be playing in the postseason. This obviously affects district and class arrangements, so we hoped that by using Missouri Power Ranking numbers and dividing them within districts, coaches could get a better feel for how to seed when the time comes. Hopefully, this is a useful guide as it is not intended to be the ONLY or dominant factor in deciding district seeding. The coaches ultimately decide, but ideally this will help with that task. Can’t hurt to try and see how it goes!
Item 3: Ah, Spring in Missouri…where the weather often is as much a factor as anything with regards to having a quality season. As usual, this spring’s wet and often times chaotic weather has challenged and changed many practice and game schedules. Since the girls season is essentially two weeks shorter (though not by days) due to Spring Breaks, Proms, Graduations, etc., the weather often plays havoc on teams that end up playing games in less than ideal circumstances or losing them to time/schedule conflicts. Often, girls teams end up playing a lot of games in a small amount of time (especially compared to the boys season where weather isn’t usually as much of a factor until later), which can lead to extra injuries and a diminished level of play.
One way MO schools have adapted to inclement weather/field situations is the increased use of artificial surface fields that can handle the extreme conditions better and allow for matches to be played where natural grass surfaces ones could not. We thought it would be interesting to see what coaches thought about field preferences and what the state looks like in a snapshot of field surfaces. Obviously, these numbers would have looked far different 10-15 years ago with the increased use of multi-sport turf fields at schools being more of a factor. While many would argue that the availability and implementation of multi-use fields is a good thing for ease of maintenance and MO weather concerns, the soccer community worldwide isn’t generally a proponent of the artificial surfaces and even training at the higher levels is preferred (and almost always done) on a natural surface.
In any case, here’s what we found:
What kind of field does your school play on?
89 (61%) play on turf
45 (31%) play on grass
8 (2%) have both
The field your school plays on is:
95 (66%) play on some form of shared field (mostly football, but other sports as well)
45 (31%) play on a soccer specific field
Does your field have lights?
127 (88%) YES
17 (12%) NO
If given the choice, what would you as a coach choose for the surface of your field?
69 (48%) said artificial turf (with several varieties of soccer specific answers preferred)
64 (44%) preferred natural grass
11 (8%) had no preference