How Alex Morgan's College Soccer Coach Helped Her Train to Be a Superstar

By replicating the situations Alex Morgan faced during games in practice, Cal coach Neil McGuire helped her develop into one of the game's brightest stars.

If your practice doesn't mimic what you'll face during games, maybe it's time to rethink things.

Alex Morgan, star forward for the U.S. Women's National Soccer team, believes many players fall into the trap of practicing in unrealistic situations. While they might believe they're getting better, they could be getting a lot more out of the time they spend training.

"I think something maybe some players don't get is realistic situations. They get a bag of balls, go out, just kinda shoot on goal with no goal keeper, no pressure, no realistic situation that mimics a game," Morgan told STACK.

Neil McGuire, who coached Morgan at the University of California, often tweaked her training to mimic the situations she'd find herself in during games. The result was increased confidence for Morgan and better execution during competition.

"My college coach, Neil McGuire, was really helpful to me. His availability to me, he was there for me when I needed it. He was looking more at the growth and was about the process rather than you need to get from A to B and not giving me a path for that. It was a step-by-step process," Morgan said. "As I started to get called in with the national team, we would turn around and talk about the goals I scored and the opportunities and chances I had. He would specifically do training sessions with me that would put me in realistic situations (like) a game." Realistic training results in great carryover to the field, which is what every player and coach hopes for.

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