Sunday, May 22, 2011

Soccer Surprise

I always knew I would be a sports mom but I never dreamed I would be a soccer mom. I love watching my children play sports but I always thought I would leave the coaching to the "other parent" preferably someone who could be a good male role model. That has all changed now.

The soccer season began in April. At the first game, the parents on Jacob's team quickly realized no one there was the coach. That means in the rec league world a parent would need to step up. I decided to give it a try for a game and see how it went. I loved it. 6 games later I have now volunteered to coach again next season. I really hope I am allowed to coach.

I have seen a variety of coaches on the field. Most of them great with the same attitude I have. Others have left me to raise my eyebrows. Sure I believe the children should be encouraged to play but I also remember that they are 5 and 6 years old. None of these children will most likely grow up to be the next professional soccer star. Some might decide to play high school or even college soccer and the rest will move on to other things as they grow older. At this time, the children are too young to predict which children will fall into what category.

My philosophy coaching is to allow all children equal playing time. If I see that my team is overpowering the other team, I will try to have some of my less skilled (usually younger) players play together to give a few more opportunities for the other team to catch up. If I see that my players are being overpowered, I try to make sure I always have one of my older players on the field with the younger ones and then cheer them on no matter how close they get to scoring the goal.

I also try to treat each child as an individual. There are some children who struggle just kicking the ball where they want to kick it or running and kicking at the same time. I cheer for those children anytime they kick the ball whether they kick where they intended to or not. Then there are the more skilled players who hear me most when they do score a goal or make a great play. I also try to make sure each child kicks the ball even if that means he or she kicks off or completes more corner and goal kicks than another player. My goal is for the kids to have fun and learn not to become pros.

Today I watched a coach scold a child for not running fast enough. He told another child if he didn't start kicking the ball harder he would have to sit out. My thought was that these are young children. If they need an extra break, give it to them. If they run a little slower because they are hot and tired, so be it. As long as they are having fun and learning the game, I don't care if they score a goal. This coach was frustrated that his kids weren't scoring against ours and stated "they don't have a chance." That annoyed me as well. Yes my kids were dominating but his kids were playing hard and having fun. There is a reason we don't keep score at this age. Because the score doesn't matter. What matters is that the children have fun, learn sportsmanship, get exercise and possibly learn some good life lessons (like how to be a good friend to everyone on and off the field) not that they score the winning goal.

Enough said. We now have 2 months until the next season. I am hoping to get to coach again. I officially volunteered and will attend the coach training sessions if I am invited and able to make them. Until then, it is time to enjoy the last few weeks of swimming lessons and concentrate on being a t-ball mom. From the sidelines this time.

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