Saturday, September 20, 2008

put me in Coach

I coached my first soccer game ever today. The deck was stacked against us from the time we left home: I knew we had only 13 kids on our team and The Enemy would have at least 16, but probably more like 18. The Enemy is a team that I can't stand in HS track-- they have a snooty-ness about them that makes me nuts, and, unsurprisingly, they teach that in their pee-wee leagues. I am not the type of parent/fan that usually blames our loss on the other teams' behavior, and I certainly don't today either (we were totally out played out there) but they were full of cheap, dirty plays. Add a Homer ref, and, well, you get the picture. We lost 8-0. We only had about 2 real opportunities; it just so happens that the second was Boy's, with about 2 minutes to play. He received a pass in their territory without being off sides, and pushed it beyond the defenders. He was outside of the 18, but closing fast. Someone pushed him from behind, and he went sprawling. It was blatant, and obvious, and wrong.

The good news is I think our team played out of their heads. No one complained about having few subs, and everyone was good about coming in and out and helping each other. Some of them really got the idea of passing to the open spaces and looking for support. We still need to work on not crossing the ball into the middle and some of us need to work on not criticizing our team mates, but they really stepped up and did their best. I'm proud of them. They also learned about being the Bigger Person and not giving in to cheap shots. I have no doubt that in 5 years the girls HS team will be The Team to Beat. Those girls are awesome players and quality kids. It will be loads of fun watching them get to that point.

While I may not be a great coach, I'd step in and do it again. I had a lot of fun.

1 comment:

hoyden said...

Have you read Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire by Rafe Esquith? He teaches 5th grade in a tough, tough inner-city school in LA. He does a lot with sports and sportsmanship.

One of the best things he does (I think) is have a serious (on-going) conversation about what to do when a teammate messes up. He gets the kids to consider how damaging it is to yell at teammates who make mistakes. It makes them MORE likely to mess up again and MORE likely to not practice and not get better -- both of which will make the team worse.

It's a great lesson and his kids seem to get it. I know I'd be a better (and am a better athlete) when I get help and not criticism.

And it's a good book otherwise. You should read it regardless.