As a former college soccer player and current Head Coach, Eric Bucchere has a breadth of experience and knowledge when it comes to improving and developing one's talent.
Bucchere, who led Burlingame Dragons FC from 2015-16, is the current Head Coach of NAIA school Menlo College. The former player of UC Santa Cruz started his first assistant coaching job at his alma mater before joining UC San Diego as an assistant coach and working with San Diego Surf Soccer Club and the San Jose Earthquakes Youth Academy U16 and U18 teams.
September is Self-Improvement Month, and PDL players and coaches across North America will be working to develop and hone their skills. Focused on the continuous development of the player using the #Path2Pro model, the PDL will take a closer look at how players try to improve their skill sets and physical abilities, as well as look into how coaches try to improve their players, throughout the month of September.
PDL: Describe a typical training session with Burlingame.
EB: At Burlingame, players arrive to training and get into five-v-two on their own. For me, this is a great way to start a training session. It's like a cup of soccer coffee to get the players going. From there, we will usually have a quick chat as a group and then get into a dynamic warmup without the ball. After that we will get right into a game and get competing. Depending on what the staff is looking to get out of the week, the type of game will vary but will always involve goals and have a direction. From there, we may break down that game into smaller parts or a functional exercise designed to get players lots of reps in a certain aspect of the game. After that, we are back into a game and usually end with 11-v-11.
PDL: What is your favorite training drill to run? Why?
EB: I love small-sided games that involve a lot of action around the goals. I think nearly everything in training should be directional or functional to the game of soccer. Possession in a box with no direction or goals doesn't prepare players for the real game in my opinion. Players need to play. Playing the game is the best teacher and what develops players.
PDL: As a coach, how important is it for players to have healthy eating habits, and is a good diet important to you? Do you monitor what your players eat or suggest certain foods to eat or avoid?
EB: Everyone is different. I've seen players really transform their bodies and elevate their game when they learned to get proper sleep and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. I've also seen some absolutely incredible athletes who had terrible eating habits and were up all night and went on to have great careers. For me personally I believe that diet is a major key to a happy and healthy life.
PDL: Is it important for your players to train and exercise while not with the team? Why?
EB: So much of in-season performance comes down to offseason preparation. Having a sustainable professional career is about performing well, and also about how you take care of your body and mind off of the field – such an important piece to the puzzle.