Balconi player-Read Sam Leshnak journal at US National camp

One of our Balconi players, Sam Leshnack recently earned the call up to the U20 USA Womens soccer camp this month.  Sam has been working hard to prepare for this specific camp this month at Balconi and she had been texting her daily experiance to us at Balconi.  I thought her text messages gave great insight to what a goalkeeper like Sam goes through; Mentally and Physically to compete with the best.  I also thought her text messages would be a great inspirational tool for those out there who hope to earn the opportunity to compete at the highest level, or even for those who are just fans of such hard working athletes like Sam.  So, with permission of Sam, we both agreed putting her text on our Blog would make great journal entries!  Please enjoy, I will post Sunday-Weds night below.  I will then post day by day as they come in from Sam.  Proud of you Sam!

Sunday

So today went pretty well, every time I meet back up with the same girls, it’s great, my teammates are wonderful. First of all we (gks) did a log warm up with the team; lots cardio/stretching in warm up. Then we did relays with a partner. Had one person do band work. Working on knees not going in and resistance. Then the other was working on dynamic movements, changing direction and exploding. Then we did a relay race of only 15 yards or so 2x. I was right with the team on them.

After gk’s went aside and we’d handling and quick footwork, a little bit of diving and reaction.
Coach is new and he’s pretty great. I like him so far. He’s helped me figure out why I’m not getting the lateral push off with my dives and it’s because my left foot sort of dies and I’m pushing all off my right leg. It made me late on 2 attempts and once I fixed it- no more goals went in. My handling has really improved. Whenever Meredith and I did volleys o made sure I was in the best shape possible and really told her to nail balls in. So she’s helped a lot there.
I’m having a blast so far. Other national camps have been the feeling of “this is it. You make it or you don’t. Whatever you do it’s not good enough, goodluck you’ll probably cry so point during this trip” haha I’m not even kidding. But this camp the coaches are funny and relatable and smile and have casual conversations with us and just want us to show them our best. And I love it. The first session I did well. But I know the areas I’m good at- communication, distribution, 1v1s and shot stopping…that’s were I need to shine. I need to have an area that I REALLY dominate. Bc that’s what this is about. We’re all good. So that’s why this isn’t about beating out the other people, so to say, it’s about achieving the highest your ability to impress the coaches.

Monday:
We’ve got 2 sessions tomorrow. The first is the fitness tests.
First session today was fitness. We had the arrowhead agility(turning), 40yd sprint, the vert(jumping) and yoyo(endurance running) …this area has never been my strength…so today I did ok. I feel like I can jump higher than i have in the past…and can sprint faster….but idk that it really came out in numbers. I got an 18.5 on my vert (which is about the same as last time)…idk what I got on my sprints(I didn’t hear the number) and…on the yoyo I just didn’t do how well I thought I could. I got out at 16. There were 4 others who left with me. But the highest of the day was a 55… Coach said gks don’t get any leeway and that we’re expected to go to 40. I’m not crushed or anything bc I know this is a 2 year journey to a possible World Cup spot so, I know I’ve got work to do in the gap times between camps.

This afternoon gks did some handling with lateral and fwd movements as quick as we could. I was pretty solid and my shape has been pretty good. But, my endurance isn’t too hot. I go as hard as I can for the drills and have to take a breath. My shot stopping is pretty good. Almost no balls go in. The ones that do are bc I’m not set. Which I automatically know is the problem. I’m a bit jittery. I want to do everything quick but sometimes I’m moving onto the next without finishing Whats before…like I messed up simple passing in the last drill bc it i wanted to get to the shot.

We did a very short infersquad game..I did good in the intersquad…talked and played a bit out of the back. I hit a goalkick too far left and went out which I was like…uhh wow Sam..but I didn’t have time to worry about it- soo just fixed the defense and such. I had a reaction shot but missed the save…but one of my defenders came up from behind me and stopped it. So the intersquad tied at Zeros.

We have an early training session and play a game tomorrow…I’m not too worried about today, but I know I have to step it up tomorrow..

Tuesday:

This morning went well. I said a quick prayer for God to look over me for health and guide me today to be the best I can be for the both of us. This morning was wet. Very wet. We worked on handling and footwork and then did crosses. My footwork was quick and pretty good. I never underestimated a ball and caught a good amount of them. My distribution  from my hands was solid. I didn’t miss a throw, all were to the front foot, and it there in 1 skid. Next we worked on playing out of the back. Again, I was pretty solid and didn’t miss a pass. The players played lofted balls in after awhile to start out the build up from the back…the balls in we’re a bit everywhere so gks had to move everywhere, dive a bit to smother and it was choppy from all of us. But it worked out. Lastly we did about 8 min of shots. I LOVE SHOTS ! My group won both times. I saved a good amount of shots and only got caught when I wasn’t set bc they started when I was still making the last shot… But it was fun this morning ! Love the girls, we’re clicking well and ending it up this morning coach French had me do the “usa on 3” to end our morning session.

This afternoon’s game went pretty good. I did my usual: supportive on the bench and was a coach on the field- instructing players. We had no attacks at all the first half but they switched the line up and some players just don’t make smart choices. So a girl passed it back and it got intercepted by a fwd. I was out quite a bit and so I tried to cut the angle at the top of my box and just missed the save back post. I was just mad I was left out to dry. But my distribution was spot on so I feel like I was solid besides the goal. Tomorrow we don’t have training…which is odd.. Everyone thinks I look like Jennifer Lawrence…? It’s a first haha. I’m having fun, staying up to date on most my work.

Weds Night:

Hey ! So today went very well! It was our rejuv/ recovery day, this morning we had a soccer tennis tournament for an hour and my partner and I were so competitive and got to the finals but lost