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Champions Crowned at 2017 US Youth Soccer National President's Cup

Reposted By Amy Snider - July 17, 2017

2017 National Presidents Cup logo final (flat)

Champions crowned at 2017 US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup  

Schedule, Scores and Standings  
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AUBURNDALE, FLA. (July 16, 2017) – After four days of play, champion teams were decided Sunday at the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup finals in Auburndale, Fla.

Division Champion Team
13U Boys TFA SFV 04 (CA-S)
13U Girls Beach FC LB 04 Nunes (CA-S)
14U Boys Downtown LA Soccer Club 03 (CA-S)
14U Girls FC United 2003 Predator (IL)
15U Boys RGV FC Dallas 02 (TX-S)
15U Girls Colorado Storm North 02 Select (CO)
16U Boys Santos Laguna White (CA-S)
16U Girls BAC Blitz (VA)
17/18U Boys Inter America Halcones FC (CA-S)
17/18U Girls IE Surf 00 Kooiman (CA-S)

The winning teams were among 40 participating US Youth Soccer Boys and Girls teams in the 13U through 17/18U age groups that came from all over the country to compete for a national title.

Region IV teams took home seven titles with winners from Cal South and Colorado. Region III had one champion from South Texas, Region II was represented by one champion team from Illinois and Region I was represented by one from Virginia.


Final Match Highlights:

13U Boys
TFA SFV 04 (CA-S) claimed the 13U Boys National Presidents Cup title after defeating McAllen Rayados 04 (TX-S), 4-0. TFA’s first goal came off of a restart where the ball was passed through the defenders for Aldahir Rua to run onto and place in the bottom right corner of the goal. David Rodriguez increased the lead to two after Luis Lima dribbled the ball down the left flank, drew the keeper out and passed the ball for Rodriguez to finish. In the 31st minute, Jaiden Segura added a third goal, and in the 44th minute, Maximiliano Solis topped the win off with a fourth.

13U Girls
Beach FC LB 04 Nunes (CA-S) earned a late, 2-1, win against Impact GFC (OH-S) to take home the 13U Girls title. Impact GFC got on the board first thanks to a goal from Eva Dudeck in the 30th minute, but Beach FC tied up the game early in the second half as Paradyse Wong put the ball in the back of the net. Just as the game was heading to overtime, Liberty-Faith Ortiz scored the game winner in the final minute of the match.

14U Boys
Downtown LA Soccer Blue 03 (CA-S) defeated Sporting Wichita Rojos (KS), 3-0, to earn the 13U Boys National Presidents Cup title. Downtown opened the scoring right before halftime with Oliver Alfonso finding the back of the net. Carlos Lopez increased the advantage to 2-0 in the 61st minute and Alfonso added his second of the match just a minute later to bring the final score to 3-0. Downtown’s defense held tight until the final whistle earning them a clean sheet and the victory.

14U Girls
FC United 2003 Predator (IL) and Eagles SC 2003 (CA-S) played to a 3-3 draw during regulation and needed kicks from the mark to separate the two sides. FC United and Eagles traded a flurry of goals early in the game. Vivian Ventura opened the scoring in the opening minute of play with Eagles’ Caighley Espardinez equalizing just four minutes later. United regained the lead after three more minutes on a Roxana Zieba goal but the score was again brought level, this time by Eagles’ Jaydin Marucut. FC United’s Zieba scored the second of the game just before halftime to give the Illinois side the lead going into the second half. Eagles scored the lone second half goal thanks to Sawyer Dumond, and both teams’ defenses held strong to send the game into overtime. After a scoreless overtime, the game went to kicks from the mark, and in the final rounds, FC United’s Taylor Brocato made a huge stop and then Molly Sipe stepped up, making the final kick to earn the win. 

15U Boys
RGV FC Dallas 02 (TX-S) got the jump on VK Cobras (UT) during the 15U Boys final in just the ninth minute. Antonio Torres scored early, and then scored again just ten minutes later to gives FC Dallas a 2-0 lead into halftime. Sergio Escareno hit a beautiful free kick into the top right corner in the second half to push the lead to 3-0. Christian Flores added a late insurance goal as FC Dallas earned the 4-0 victory and the 15U Boys National Presidents Cup title.

15U Girls
Colorado Storm North 02 Select (CO) came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Arkansas Rush 02/03 Black (AR), 5-4, and take the 15U Girls title. Kiley Dulaney scored two goals within the first five minutes of the match to put Arkansas Rush ahead. However, Colorado Storm pushed to get on the board and the team finally did when Jayla Anaya followed up a shot blocked by the goalkeeper in the 26th minute. Colorado Storm continued to work for another, remaining in its offensive half, and Paige Vogel was able to equalize the game in the 40th minute. Arkansas Rush stole the lead early in the second half with a third Dulaney goal, but Colorado Storm responded two minutes later with a second Vogel goal. Makayla Merlo and Bridget Feely allowed Colorado Storm to fully take the lead, and although Sophie Nash added another goal for Arkansas Rush, Colorado Storm came out on top.

16U Boys
Santos Laguna White (CA-S) earned a 2-0 victory over Lou Fusz Soccer Club-Carotenuto (MO) to claim the 16U Boys National Presidents Cup title. After a couple blocked shots, Ulises Suarez got Santos Laguna on the board as the ball rolled to him at the top of the 18-yard box for him to drive into the bottom left corner of the goal.

16U Girls
In a tight 16U Girls final between BAC Blitz (VA) and Westside Breakers 01 Blue (CA-S), a lone penalty kick goal separated the two sides at the final whistle. Neither team could score a goal in the first half, but both teams worked hard at creating viable opportunities to take the lead. Blitz took the lead midway through the second half when it drew a penalty kick. Virginia Delacruz stepped up and finished her opportunity, giving the Virginia side the lead. Westside tried to tie the game late, but saw its long shot attempt sail over the top of the bar. The Blitz offense kept on the pressure late, thwarting any dangerous chances from Breakers. The final whistle blew and the 1-0 advantage earned BAC Blitz the 16U Girls National Presidents Cup title. 

17/18U Boys
The 17/18U Boys final match between Inter America Halcones FC (CA-S) and Ocean Township United S.A. Spartans (NJ) proved to be a close, intense battle, similar to their 1-1 draw in group play. The game involved end-to-end action with big keeper saves from Inter America’s Horacio Aguirre and Ocean Township’s Shane McBride. After a full 90 minutes, the match went into overtime and Inter America showed significant determination to earn a goal. After a few consecutive close chances on goal, the Cal South side went up 1-0 when Ramiro Martinez beat the goalkeeper in a 1-v-1 situation. The 110th-minute goal secured the National Presidents Cup crown for Inter America.

17/18U Girls
The 17/18U Girls final between IE Surf 00 Kooiman (CA-S) and Illinois Fusion 00 Premier (IL) was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and the teams needed kicks from the mark to decide the National Presidents Cup champion. Both Surf and Fusion scored their goals early in the first half with Surf notching the first goal. Surf’s Fiona Woodside found the back of the net in the 4th minute to give her team the lead. Just three minutes later, Lauren Shanks equalized, bringing the score to 1-1. The goal made Shanks the leading goal scorer in the 17/18U Girls age group. Neither team could score during the rest of regulation or during either overtime period, and the game headed to kicks from the mark. Surf’s first two kickers missed, but Surf’s Lauren Bennett made two saves to get her team back in it. It took over the original five rounds to decide the match, and Bennett made yet another clutch save to earn her team the victory.

To view all of Sunday's results, check out the schedule, standings and scores website.

For more information on the US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup, visit

Note:  The US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup is a separate series of events from the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series.



Jeff Oleck

So, this week's Tech Tuesday topic is: Goalkeeper Communication.
What if I told you there was a way to limit shots and goals against without any physical preparation?  Would you be interested in that?
Of course!
The importance of goalkeeper communication is four-fold:
1) To prevent goals and shots
2) To increase confidence in yourself and in your team (encouragement)
3) To control the game tempo
4) To maintain team shape, offensively and defensively
I will often hear coaches, parents, and players say "we need to talk more on the field".  Yes, communication is crucial to being a successful goalkeeper.  However, do you know WHAT to say and WHEN to say it?
Goalkeepers are coaches, commanders, and leaders on the field.  It is in our job description.  It's a mandatory part of our role on the team.  There's no way around it, you MUST communicate to be a successful goalkeeper.
Let me give you some comparisons...if you want to be an accountant but you aren't comfortable with math - you can't be an accountant!  If you want to be a surgeon, but you get grossed out by blood - you can't be a surgeon!  If you want to be a pilot, but you're scared of heights - you can't be a pilot! 
If you want to be a goalkeeper but you don't communicate with your team, you can't be a goalkeeper at a high level!
Our job as goalkeepers is to understand the game and communicate the critical information to our team at the right moments.  
This means we have to:
  • Assert ourselves.  This is not optional.  This is our job.
  • EVERY TIME we exit our goal, whether for a ball in the air or on the ground, we MUST make a "Keeper" call.  
  • EVERY TIME the ball is served in our box and we're notgoing for it, either in the air or on the ground, WE MUST make an "Away" call.  
  • Understand our team's game plan.  Do we want to high pressure or sit deeper defensively?  Do we want to force opponents central or wide on the field?  Do we want to man mark or zone on corner kicks?  Are we up a goal or down a goal - and how does that affect our game plan?
  • Have tactical intelligence.  Do we play a 4-3-3 formation - what are the strengths/weaknesses of that system?  Is there a special player on the opposition - how do we shut him/her down?  Which is the dominant foot of the opponent's center forward?
  • Prioritize.  The player on the ball is the most dangerous, how do we organize to prevent that player from breaking down our team/scoring?  Are we worried about the player on the back post - should we be?  Are we marked up properly?
Communication must be:
Clear - audible and assertive ("Keeper!")
Concise - short, sweet, and to the point ("Step up to the edge of the box!")
Direct - specific to the player ("Kyle, stay with #10 on the back post!")
Watch this video of Zac MacMath (currently with Colorado Rapids)
Or, watch this video of John McCarthy (currently with Philadelphia Union)
Notice the difference in tone, urgency, and commands that they use.  Sometimes they are screaming, sometimes they are encouraging, sometimes they need to be cool, calm, and collected.  Their language is Clear, Concise, and Direct.
Do you want to prevent shots and limit goals by doing nothing but talking?  If so, show your teammates and coaches this weekend that you are ready to take command and be the boss!
Have a great week - I'll check in with you all next Tuesday,
Coach O.

1v1 Breakaways

Jeff Oleck

It seems like whenever I speak with goalkeepers or coaches about 1v1 goals they have given up, the common theme is "there was nothing the goalkeeper could do".  Often times, a breakaway is compared to a penalty kick and there is little expectation for the GK to make a save.
I fully disagree.
When dealing with 1v1 situations the GOALKEEPER HAS THE SAME RIGHT TO MAKE A SAVE AS THE STRIKER DOES TO SCORE A GOAL.  However, pressure is on the striker and the goalkeeper's mentality should be "try to beat me" - and in doing so the goalkeeper cannot give the striker an easy way out, or a "solution" to their problem of getting the ball in the net.
There is a lack of appreciation for goalkeepers who compose themselves and make saves in 1v1 situations.  In order to create that appreciation for the goalkeeper's actions in breakaway situations, we must first see what actually qualifies as a "good" 1v1 save AND, in turn, what are some of the common mistakes.
1) Approach
There are several intricate details within a goalkeeper's approach that we work on when training 1v1 situations - angle play, starting position, noticing striker tendencies, etc. - but specifically this section covers a goalkeeper's strategy and ability to control the situation. 
The most common tactic for goalkeepers is to rush out as fast as they can and slide through the ball before the striker can get a shot off.  This aggressive strategy can sometimes work as it cuts down the angle and can even intimidate a striker - BUT there are situations where patience and staying on your feet is actually the correct choice. 
Let's look at a situation, with MLS goalkeeper Andre Blake, when rushing out is NOT the preferred choice (scroll to 0:20 mark)
While you could argue that Kaka goes down easy, the problem from the goalkeeper's part is that Blake is out of control and hasn't assessed the situation correctly. There are three defenders in the area and Blake is by no means guaranteed the ball. For someone who is so good at explosive saves, it would make sense for Blake to stay home for this one and deal with the shot from distance. If Blake shows a little more patience, he has a much greater chance of saving the shot.
2) Timing
The second aspect of this is the reaction time of the goalkeeper.  This is less about reflexes and more about being set, although both play an important role.  The previous point, looking at the approach of a goalkeeper, is centered around the mental game plan while this is referring to the physical preparation.  Sometimes 1v1 saves incorporate both of these aspects.  Sometimes only one, depending on the situation.  
One of the easiest goalkeepers to beat is a moving goalkeeper. If they're carelessly charging forward there are a variety of options for a striker to put the ball in the back of the net.  A good example of this can be found in MLS goalkeeper Josh Saunders' first two conceded goals against New York Red Bulls last year.  
See photos below:
Inline image 5
In this picture (above), Saunders is caught out-of-rhythm on the play.  The shot is taken as he moves forward, vertically, leaving him unbalanced and narrow.  While he is cutting down the angle by moving forward, he is doing so at the risk of not being able to move horizontally (side-to-side).  He never gets set and instead ends up waving at a shot that isn't that far from his body.  
As he is moving forward, he is alternating his weight on each step.  This is OK as long as he is reading the rhythm of the shooter and there is a final set position that evenly distributes his weight so he can step, fall, or dive either direction.  Instead, you can see the shot is taken as Saunders is stepping forward with his left foot, which is why that leg ends up awkwardly in the air.  If he limits his last step and gets set, he can make the save.
Inline image 1
This photo (above) is not a 1v1 situation, but it shows the problem of not being "set" or in rhythm with the shot.  The header is struck from about 8 yards away from goal, but the photo is taken when Saunders finally gets set and balanced  By that time, the ball (looks like a blurry white dot near the white line) is 3-4 yds from goal and Saunders can't move to react in time.
To clarify, there are times to sprint to attack the ball.  If the striker is out of control or is close enough to goal, a goalkeeper needs to attack the ball. But there are also situations when a goalkeeper needs to stay on his feet. An incorrect, aggressive sprint at the ball can cause two problems:
  • The goalkeeper will put themselves in a bad situation that can lead to a penalty kick, a chip shot that easily trickles in, or a savvy striker will simply touch around the diving GK to shoot on an empty net. The movement needs to control the situation as much as possible, not result in conceding ground or giving an "easy" solution to the striker.
  • The excessive movement negates reactions and turns the goalkeeper into a moving wall. If the ball is not struck into the GKs body, the goalkeeper cannot extend out to make the save in time because he is moving so much.
3) Body Shape
Goalkeeper body shape when dealing with 1v1 situations has undergone quite an evolution in the last 10-15 years.  Traditionally, most goalkeepers handled almost every 1v1 situation the same way: with a hands-first dive, in an attempt to smother, block, or claim the ball off the foot of an attacker. This can still be an effective technique when the attacker has taken a poor touch and the ball is there to be won; but when facing a composed opponent with the ball under control, it presents a very low barrier to the attacker, one which good players have little difficulty beating with a simple dink or chip.  It also carries the significant risk of giving away a penalty if the goalkeeper fails to get a touch on the ball.  The chief drawback is that it commits the goalkeeper to a single course of action, with no possibility to adjust, should the attacker take an extra touch or change direction.
Traditional 1v1 Technique photo...
Inline image 10
In the 2000s, a generation of Spanish and Portuguese goalkeepers began popularizing a new way to handle 1v1s. The goalkeeper stays on their feet, advancing with small but fast steps, keeping the upper body upright while dropping the lower body close to the ground, with the hands in a blocking position to either side of the body. This technique, which originated in futsal, goes by various names, but I call it the "Screen" technique.  
The Screen Technique's two main advantages over the hands-first slide are that it presents a physically larger barrier to the attacker, and it gives the goalkeeper a chance to keep adjusting and improvising in the event the attacker tries to dribble, or the situation changes. By dropping the lower body but keeping the upper body upright, you take away the option of the easy chip/dink finish.
Screen Technique photo...
Inline image 8
A technique which keeps you on your feet also makes it far less likely you will give away a penalty, since there is no single ‘all or nothing’ moment of commitment, as there is with the hands-first slide.  A goalkeeper who can use their feet to close space with the attacker, but keep enough distance between them to be an effective barrier and be able to react to a shot, all while remaining upright, is going to have an excellent success rate with 1v1s.
Inline image 9
Here's a video of MLS goalkeeper Steve Clark using the "screen" technique this past March:
Clark does a great job of avoiding any of the three common mistakes listed earlier. He reads the play well, seeing the striker is not going to hit it first time and will instead take a lengthy windup.  Clark's movement is quick and in time with the shot.  If the shooter is looking to round Clark or lay off, Clark can adjust as need be.  The situation is set up well for the goalkeeper to come straight at the ball and Clark makes the correct save on the play.
Most goals that are scored on a goalkeeper should be the ones they can do nothing about.  For example, the GK can be outnumbered in a counter, the defense can give up possession in poor territory, a striker can make a phenomenal shot.  The examples go on and on.  But in the realm of breakaway situations, goalkeepers are actually empowered a great deal.  It truly is a 1v1 and both sides have their chance of executing their task.  The goalkeeper actually has the benefit of not needing to make a save.  They can force the shooter wide to a poor shooting angle, or delay the striker to give time for defenders to recover.
Every situation is different but for the most part, high-level goalkeepers should make more saves than conceding goals in 1v1 situations.
Thanks for reading and feel free to email me with any questions!
Coach O.

Cross Management

By Amy Snider - May 15, 2017

This edition of Tech Tuesday is a longer read related to Cross Management and Taking an Effective Starting Position.
If you have any questions after reading through this information and sharing it with your goalkeeper, please feel free to ask me or any of our Storm GK Coaches.
For our youngest goalkeepers, these scenarios will not be common to their environment and level.  At those ages, due to the smaller field dimensions, the developing strength of field players, and the growing technical ability - true "crossing" is not a significant factor of the game.  In fact, in a study done by Swansea City FC with their U9-U12 goalkeepers in the 2015-16 season, dealing with crosses accounted for only 2% of all actions they performed over the course of the season.
However, at the competitive level (U11+) goalkeepers MUST be willing to exit their goal mouth to intercept or interfere with crosses, high through balls, and set pieces.  Their ability to do that will be based on several factors:  Starting Position, Athleticism, Timing, and Technique.  The most crucial piece to ensuring an opportunity to make a play on a cross is Starting Position.
Goalkeepers should start by adopting good body shape:
  • Hands held in front of the body, feet shoulder width apart, weight on the balls of the feet, legs loaded with energy and ready to act based on the flight of the ball.
  • Goalkeeper starts in an "open" stance - meaning he is not facing square to the ball, nor square only to the field.  He opens his hips so that he can be aware of the area in front of him and the area behind him, without taking his eyes of the ball.
  • This stance allows the GK to move forward or backward easily, avoiding backpedaling and off-balance movements.
The goalkeeper must take into consideration several factors when dealing with balls played from the wings. How the goalkeeper understands and uses these factors will greatly improve his chances of success.
The first thing the goalkeeper needs to consider is the position of the ball on the field of play. When the ball is positioned on the wings, the goalkeeper must utilize his wing play tactics and adjust his position accordingly. The goalkeeper must consider "where exactly" on the wings is the ball positioned?  
The ball could be located in three general areas on the wings:
1) Wide and Far Away from the Goal
2) Wide and Within shooting distance of the Goal
3) Wide and at a tight angle to the goal (close to the end line)
Where the ball is positioned will act as a visual cue to indicate where and how the GK should stand in the goal area.
One of the things the goalkeeper can do to ensure that he is positioned perfectly in the goal is to imagine a straight line running out from the center of the goal towards the penalty spot (Green Line) below.
The goalkeeper should stand somewhere along this line when positioning himself for balls being played from the wings (crosses).
Once the goalkeeper is positioned on this line the only thing he must do now is read the position of the ball to determine how 'Far Out' along this imaginary line he should position himself.
Inline image 1
To determine how far out he should stand the next thing the goalkeeper must do is imagine three additional lines running directly from the center of the ball towards the goal. One of these lines, the "Ball Line" will run directly from the ball to the center of the goal (Blue Line) while the other two lines will run directly towards the goal posts (Red Lines). These are often referred to as "Angle Lines", but for crosses, they are used a little bit differently than if this were a situation where the goalkeeper was expecting a direct shot on goal.
Inline image 2
For balls that are being served from:
1) Wide of the goal and not within shooting distance...
The goalkeeper should position himself along the central line (Green Line) and the additional line drawn towards the far post (Red Line) should be used to determine how far out to stand.  Adjustments may be made due to the GKs size, athleticism, and mobility.
Where this Red Line intersects the Green Line is where the goalkeeper should position himself in the goal area.
The goalkeeper can afford to position himself further out of the goal with little concern about being beat by a ball played directly towards the open net. The goalkeeper should have plenty of time to react to the flight of the ball and cover the net if the ball is heading there.
Additionally, a higher starting position will allow the goalkeeper to manage a ball that is crossed/served into the area between the 6 yd line and the penalty spot.  Goalkeepers should be prepared to catch/punch balls in that area so that they do not bounce within 6-8 yds and create problems for the goalkeeper and his team.
Inline image 3
For balls that are being served from:
2) Wide of the goal and within shooting distance...
The goalkeeper should position himself along the central line (Green Line) and the "ball line" (Blue Line) should be used to determine how far out to stand.
Where this Blue Line intersects the Green Line is where the goalkeeper should position himself in the goal area.  Adjustments may be made due to the GKs size, athleticism, and mobility.
The goalkeeper must position himself closer to the goal in order to be able to cover both the near and far post if a direct shot is taken.  The goal is the primary concern, as the goalkeeper cannot allow goals from distance because he is "guessing" that it will be a cross.  Take a good starting position and make adjustments if the situation changes from a shooting angle to a crossing angle.
Inline image 4
For balls that are being served from:
3) Wide of the goal and at an acute/tight angle...
The goalkeeper should position himself along the central line (Green Line) and 2-3 steps out of the goal. Because the angle is so tight, there won't be any additional lines to the posts creating the angle.  Most of the time, this ball position will result in a cross.
He will have to call on his instincts and experience to determine what an acceptable distance for him will be.  Adjustments may be made due to the GKs size, athleticism, and mobility.
The goalkeeper can position himself further out of the goal because it will be very difficult for an opponent to shoot the ball at the open net from such a tight angle.  A more likely scenario is that the opponent will try to cut the ball back, in the air or on the ground, towards the goal area in front of the net for a teammate to try and direct at the goal.
However, goalkeepers shout also be able to determine the foot of the kicker and the conditions (specifically, wind) which may affect the flight of the ball.  For example, when the player on the right side of this image is kicking with his right foot, the ball will likely be an "outswinger" (moving away from the goal mouth).  When the player on the left side of this image strikes the ball with his right foot, the ball will likely be an "inswinger" (moving in towards the goal mouth).  Inswinger vs Outswinger will impact the goalkeepers distance from the goal line as an inswinging ball is more of a scoring threat.
Inline image 5
These positioning considerations would also apply to corner kicks.  Here is a quick video from FourFourTwo with Joe Hart describing his thought process on corners:
In closing...
Goalkeepers that have the ability to manage wide play and consistently handle crosses will be better prepared for the "next level" of play.  Being accomplished at taking crosses can take a lot of work and weight off the defense in those moments, and a confident catcher of the ball can boost the confidence of the entire team.
Be confident, be assertive, and command your goal area!
Have a great week and best of luck in your games this weekend,
Coach O.


As the season winds down take time to think about WHY you play soccer and WHAT motivates you

By Jeff Oleck

As we approach the end of the season, tryouts, team selections, and start to think about beginning a new campaign (after some much deserved rest!)'s important that you take some time to self-reflect and make sure you understand "WHY" you participate in competitive soccer, and "WHAT" motivates you to continue doing what you are doing.
You may have a different reason (or reasonS) then your best friend, your teammate, or your coach...and that's ok.  But remember, you must know WHY you participate, practice, sweat, and struggle.  Without a clear understanding of what motivates you, you are simply going through the motions.
So, rather than pretending to be an expert in sports psychology (which I am not), I want to let the professionals do the talking this week and feature an article written on a Sports Performance website,  This week's Tech Tuesday relates to Motivation.
This article contains some challenging concepts but is applicable to all ages.  Parents and Families - I'll lean on you to help your young player through this information.
I'll conclude with this quote from the article:
"Motivation will not always be present. There will be days when you are tired, sore, discouraged, and just not “motivated” to work hard or practice. When days like this occur, and they will, you must ask yourself, “how dedicated am I to achieving my goals?” If your goals are truly important to you, you will be able to work hard even in the absence of motivation."