By: Tyler Annand
Ahead of the Marauders’ short trip to St. Catharines this Wednesday, head coach Brett Mosen has questions to answer.
The McMaster women’s soccer team is travelling to face Brock University on the back of a winless season. After seven games, the Marauders have only salvaged two points, while only scoring four total goals. A lack of finishing, team cohesion, and the absence of attractive and attacking football are some of the main culprits responsible for their slow start to the season.
While their play can be analyzed in a technical sense as to why they have been unable to pick up a win, human psychology and confidence plays the biggest role during a slump like this.
The truth of the matter is that no athlete, whether they are a professional, an amateur, or a student, likes to lose. Losing a tight game, getting blown out on the road in an intimidating atmosphere, losing at home in front of family and friends are some of the worst experiences an athlete can imagine. If anyone asked any member of the McMaster women’s team if they enjoy losing, the answer would be a resounding “no”.
Instead of talking about their poor start to the season, or lack of scoring, it is important that everyone, including the team itself, discuss the positives in a generally negative atmosphere. The women understand that they could have done better, the important thing is that they know they have time to improve.
To start off, the quality of the players is definitely present. McMaster began the 2016-17 season with two ties; one against the Mustangs at Ron Joyce Stadium, and the other against the Lancers in a tight game in Windsor. Both of these games occurred on the same weekend, and were against top-three teams in the Ontario University Athletics West division.
The goal now is to rediscover that swagger and for each player to start making their own personal, attainable goals. The team understands that they will not have the prettiest team statistics by the end of the season, but if winning those one-on-one battles as an attacking player and blocking a certain amount of shots as a defending player boosts individual confidence, then focus on that.
It is also important for the women to play to their own strengths. If you are a tall and physically imposing player trying to play outside of your role, the product will be discouraging. In contrast, if you are trying to be a standard cog in a machine, the product will also be less than desirable. Each player needs to perform a mix between their own uniqueness and the team’s identity.
For the women’s soccer team, there is no time to dwell on the losses. Not because they have everything to lose, but because it harm confidence, optimism, and growth. Losing hurts. The only benefit from dwelling on a loss is to understand how it feels to lose and to strive to make that not happen again.
Marauder fans know the quality is there and know that Mac has it in them to compete with the top OUA teams. Start winning your own personal battles and you will start seeing that translate to the pitch.