Paul “Pauly” Dolinsky on the 2017 Surf Thanksgiving Youth Soccer Camp
Paul Dolinsky was considered to be one of the top American players at age 15 when he left the United States to play in the Netherlands for the Dutch side Feyenoord Rotterdam. After a career in Europe and then for the MLS’s Chicago Fire, Dolinsky began his coaching career, quickly building a reputation as a superior trainer focused on technical proficiency.
Youth Soccer News: As the Thanksgiving holiday weekend quickly approaches, here is a fun-filled, player development focused camp for San Diego’s youth soccer players.
Directed by Paul Dolinsky, an award-winning coach who himself was a stellar youth player, the 2017 Surf Thanksgiving Camp is a three-day program from November 20th to the 22nd from 9 AM – 12 PM, held at in Del Mar at the Surf Cup Sports Park.
Dolinsky’s passion for the beautiful game of soccer — and for developing players to reach their potential — is widely known. With earning Surf SC’s 10th National Championship at U.S. Youth Soccer this summer, Dolinksy proved how great training is the natural pathway for victory on the field.
Dolinsky is the Surf Soccer Club Girls Assistant Director of Coaching and is responsible for the upcoming 2017 Surf Thanksgiving Camp. More than just a camp to drop off kids over the hectic holiday weekend, the Thanksgiving youth soccer camp is an opportunity to enhance technical skills and discover Surf SC’s philosophy on what makes a training great.
Here is an exclusive interview with Paul Dolinksy on his what matters in player development, what the coaching ratio will be at the camp and what he has learned along the way.
Diane Scavuzzo: The Thanksgiving Camp — is this a good chance to get to know the Surf SC? Will there be small-sided games or will it be all drills?
Paul Dolinsky: Yes, this is a great chance to get to know our club. Surf SC is celebrating 40 years as a youth soccer club — so lots of people know about our club — and that we have trained players who have been called up to youth national teams — but not everyone has come out to see what we do.
Our camps incorporate a heavy emphasis on playing the game.
There will be introductory activities at the beginning of each morning, but small-sided games and other game-simulated activities are where we believe the players truly learn and get the most joy from the game.
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Diane Scavuzzo: Will the players be learning new skills?
Paul Dolinsky: The techniques learned at Surf camps are for all ages and all levels of players.
Development is an individual process that is often best learned in a group setting.
Each player learns at their own rate, and we are able to modify all activities to help with individual growth.
Diane Scavuzzo: What can players expect? What is the player to coach ratio goal?
Paul Dolinsky: At our Surf SC camps, we attempt to implement what we do in our weekly training environment — to help all get that Surf “feel”. The techniques taught and the games and challenges played, create a fun, competitive environment.
All the coaches at the Thanksgiving camp will be Surf SC coaches and our target is a 10:1 player to coach ratio. This includes volunteers from our Boys and Girls DA and ECNL Programs giving back their knowledge as players to younger players.
This ratio does include volunteers from our Boys and Girls DA and ECNL Programs who are giving back their knowledge as players to the younger players.
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Diane Scavuzzo: Who should attend this Thanksgiving camp? What level players do you expect will come?
Paul Dolinsky: All players of all levels should attend ranging from ages 5 years old up to the age of 14 years old.
Surf players, as well as players not currently playing for Surf, are welcome.
It is a great opportunity to meet and play with new players. It also gives newcomers a chance to get to know Surf SC coaching staff and our family-oriented environment.
And, attending the Thanksgiving camp provides an extra look leading into youth soccer tryouts for those players seeking an opportunity to join Surf.
Diane Scavuzzo: “Always striving for perfection” — what does this make you think of?
Paul Dolinsky: This is a phrase I have used for a while now.
I tell my players all the time that perfection isn’t possible.
However, striving for it is the path for success. This usually means your mistakes are minimized and the feeling of gratification is maximized. Mistakes will be made, but how do we learn from them and can we turn bad habits into good habits through repetition.
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Diane Scavuzzo: When you were a youth soccer player, what did you like most about short camps like the Thanksgiving camp?
Paul Doli, sky: As a player, I loved every opportunity to get on the ball. Camps were always a blast as it gave me a chance to hang out with my buddies, meet new people, and play the game I love.
The best thing about camps, in general, is they are usually during downtime and provide an opportunity to remain sharp. In this case, there are Thanksgiving Tournaments and tryouts that we are preparing for. Every touch on the ball counts.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you define success?
Paul Dolinsky: Success is a broad spectrum that usually ends in winning or losing. For us at Surf SC, winning is very nice, but there is a heavy emphasis on learning and the feeling of accomplishment when able to complete different tasks and challenges the game presents.
Success is achieved when a player leaves the soccer field happy and shows up the next day just as excited to get back at it.
Diane Scavuzzo: What surprises people about YOU most?
Paul Dolinsky: I would think it is how much I care about the kids and the game of soccer. How passionate I am. I don’t think I send off a vibe that says I am not either of these things, but as people really get to know me, they see how much I breathe the game of soccer and how invested I become in their soccer player’s development.
I don’t think I send off a vibe that says I am not either of these things, but as people really get to know me, they see how much I breathe the game of soccer and how invested I become in their soccer player’s development.
Diane Scavuzzo: If you could pick any superpower, what would it be and why?
Paul Dolinsky: Read the minds of kids!
Diane Scavuzzo: After years in youth soccer, what have you learned?
Paul Dolinsky: In all my experiences as a coach I have come to learn that every kid has their own unique learning style. They have different thresholds and require attention in different ways. Understanding each player and getting to know them is such a huge mountain to climb before real learning can take place.
Each player has different thresholds and requires attention in different ways.
Understanding each player and getting to know them is such a huge mountain to climb — and one that must be scaled before any real learning can take place.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Paul Dolinsky: My biggest accomplishment that I am most proud of in soccer would have to be the most recent. One and a half years ago when the age group change occurred, I pieced together a 2004 team. These players didn’t really know each other as they came from 3 different teams the previous year within our club and the rest were from outside.
This team learned to play the game a certain way. Then they learned how to compete for and with one another.
Then we won a National Championship two months ago.
It was an amazing journey that I was able to be a part of from the very beginning and to see how happy the girls were when the final whistle blew was absolutely incredible! The process was so much fun and the ups and downs were such great learning experiences for me as a coach.
For more information, please visit Surf Soccer Club
Photo Credit: Surf Soccer and Diane Scavuzzo