May 05, 2022
New Varsity Girls’ Soccer Coach Named
Sal Penta has been named head varsity girls’ soccer coach at Kingswood Oxford. Penta seeks to foster a positive and competitive environment where girls improve technically, tactically, mentally, and physically. He looks forward to coaching in a prep school environment where the focus is on both the athletics and academics of the whole student.
Penta served as Southington’s girls’ high school soccer coach from 2001 to 2013, establishing a career record at the school of 140-66-24. Under his leadership, the team won the CIAC Class LL State Championship in 2002. He was recognized by the Meriden Record-Journal as Fall Coach of the Year in 2007. Currently, he is coaching for the Connecticut Football Club (CFC) North Branch.
Penta believes that as a coach he needs to look at the entirety of the player. Not only does he examine the player’s technique, decision-making, athleticism, and mental toughness, but he also gets under the hood to understand the motivation of the player. “Are they here to excel and be a college athlete or are they here for the experience?” he said. “You have to tailor the coaching for each athlete based on their needs. It’s a juggling act at times, but it is rewarding when you do what is right for each athlete. I don’t want to impose my needs on a player. I may think they are a phenomenal athlete and get them ready for college, but if that’s not their goal, then I’m not pointing them in the right direction.”
Penta separates the wheat from the chaff when he examines how the players approach the training sessions. The elite athletes he said find the training sessions more important than the games because that’s the environment where they will know they will improve. “That’s what I look for most in a player. How do they mentally approach the training sessions? he said. “The athlete that sticks out to me is the one that uses the training sessions to the best of their ability.
In addition to counting the championship win as a career highlight, Penta views one of the smaller moments in which he derived a lot of satisfaction. Arriving late to a practice, he saw his players taking the initiative and already doing the session that they thought they needed most themselves. “That’s when I thought that I was doing something right,” he said.
Penta has over 32 years of physical therapy experience, working with patients in an outpatient setting concentrating on orthopedic and sports injuries. Additionally, Penta provides personal training so that his clients reach their fullest potential.
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