PRECISION AND PERSISTANCE: ASSISTANT VARSITY SOCCER COACH TYLER ROBERTSON

By Jaden Avila-Martinez

“As a coach you’re not doing your job if you allow your players to use excuses,” says Tyler Robertson, Assistant Coach of the Chattanooga Christian School boys varsity soccer team. 

In the cafe, Robertson and Christian Landers talk about soccer and school work. Rob has on all white Under Armour shoes with navy blue shorts and shirt with a white outerwear CCS pullover, and to compliment the entire fit he has a silver watch on his left wrist. While helping Landers with his school work, he also works on his own homework he has. Robertson went to Tennessee Wesleyan University to get his bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science with a minor in business administration. He will be graduating from Carson Newman University in May of this year to receive his master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in sports management and athletic administration. Robertson uses his ability to multi-task to help his players in the classroom as well on the field. On the field, he makes sure his players are precise and persistent in every drill they do. His coaching style really focuses on implementing, and insisting on, details. The sport of soccer is a bigger picture game, and focusing on those small details is what will lead to that bigger picture. 

Before coming to CCS, Robertson had no coaching experience. He states, “Truthfully, when I graduated college I was praying a lot, thinking about it and asking, what's my why?” He knew he wanted to stay around soccer and also wanted to give back to the community, and that’s when he saw that CCS had a JV coaching position open. After one interview, he got the job, and he believes he has found his calling. Robertson has been a coach for five years now, and for him the hardest part about it overall has been realizing that there will be good days and bad days. As for this year's season, the most difficult thing for him has been having to push his players in the right way to be extremely motivated. He goes on to say, “As a coach that's difficult because you can’t teach that. That’s something that's a choice, and those players have to choose to do that.” As an

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athlete, you should not go through the motions at practice. There is no reason for any coach to allow his players to not be motivated and settle for mediocrity. Settling does not teach anything in life other than being lazy. “There is no reason for coaches to allow players to settle and that comes with precision,” Robertson says. “Settling doesn’t teach them anything in life, you have to push to be great.” 

According to Matthew B. Johnson, a track coach in California who wrote Arrogance vs Apathy: The Curious Psychology of Youth Athletes, when an athlete doesn’t try or has apathy on the field it is due to insecurity. A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information states that, “Student athletes reported significantly higher cognitive anxiety scores relative to general students” (Johnson). Student athletes receive a lot of pressure not just from their performance on the field but as well in the classroom to have a 2.0 GPA or higher in order to be able to be academically eligible for sports. The kids and teens who play a sport are still developing mentally, emotionally, and cognitively. Many of these student athletes haven’t yet developed the skills to handle the amount of pressure and stress that is placed on them. Considering the era in which we are in as well as the amount of social media open to them, they often compare themselves to one another whether it is on purpose or not. This is then moved into real life situations where athletes will work day and night to improve in their sport, “only to be dissatisfied with their performance because someone else did better” (Johnson).

In today’s day and age, Robertson believes the new generation finds it easier to quit than to continue to strive. Unlike his generation and the ones before, this is then put on the coaches to change and care for their athletes a lot more than before. During Rob’s playing career at Notre Dame High School, his coach, Coach Schermerhorn, is who made him the coach he is today. Coach Schermerhorn was a player’s coach and knew how to get his players motivated, and to many of Rob’s teammates was a father figure. “These boys are obviously soccer players, but at the end of the day I look at them as my sons. I really care about their future, not just in soccer but how they grow,” says Robertson. This shows how Coach Schermerhorn greatly impacted Robertson to care for his athletes as more than just players but as family and to help them not just in soccer. Robertson has taken from his experience how the game and players have evolved and because of this he knows the small things many players enjoy and helps them become successful. Coaches need to find how their players like to be treated and how to evaluate different kids in order for them to continue and strive to have persistence and precision as they practice and play their sport. 

It is a Thursday afternoon and Robertson is standing fifteen yards away from the eighteen yard box passing balls to the attacking team as they do an attacking and defensive drill. He notices how lazy the defensive team is and because of this he tells them how important it is to be precise while defending; for if they do not defend correctly, they will get scored on. He then stops the drill and helps the defensive team by showing them precisely when to step and where to step. Afterwards, he continues the drill, and we see a quick change by the defensive team as the attacking team no longer is able to get a shot off or get into the eighteen yard box to score. Robertson continues doing the drill for thirty more minutes as it is also important for them to be persistent. This is a great example of how important being precise and persistent is in soccer, as one mistake can end up leaving a team down a goal or up a goal. Precision and persistence is the difference between success and failure, winning or losing, being good or being great.


Sources:
Johnson, Matthew B. “Arrogance vs Apathy: The Curious Psychology of Youth Athletes.” Medium, 13 April 2022, https://medium.com/south-of-certainty/arrogance-vs-apathy-the-curious-psychology-of-youth-athletes-8fc88c0cf334. Accessed 28 April 2022.