I can tell you right now when I learned back in August that I was Braidy’s soccer coach, fear came over me like no other. While I love kids and kind of think kids are the magic of this world and if we only listened to some of their ideas that this world could be a much better place, coaching them was new territory for me. Not only that, I knew nothing about soccer and had to teach myself the game.
Now when you are teaching micro-soccer the game is pretty easy with very few rules. Most of the time my struggles as a coach were actually seeing the last play to know what to do next. In micro, there are no refs so the coach has to referee and direct the kids. I found myself trying to encourage and empower the littlest or most timid child on the team to take a chance and kick that ball while I missed who kicked the ball out-of-bounds. Was this a goal kick or side kick? That all depended on who had the ball last and who was defending their net. I found it very hard to divide my attention between the play that just took place and the players that needed my encouragement, but nonetheless we got through the season, and if you were keeping score, we were almost undefeated. I did have three players on my team who had played micro the year before which makes a big difference in skill level. Still, you do not keep score in micro and the whole philosophy is about learning to love sports and play together on a team.
I have to say I loved game days, but the days that were the most stressful to me were practice days. Prior to being thrown into this coaching position they did a 30-minute clinic to showcase 4 or 5 different skill sets and fun activities that would appeal on the micro level, like red light green light, sharks and minnows and a few others that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. On practice days, I’d often find the kids grew bored with these games and while sharks and minnows was the favorite, it would become out of control and soon soccer became a tackle sport. 😉 Anyway, for me, a 30-minute clinic wasn’t enough but that was partially the lack of confidence I had in myself. When it came to game days, my kids killed it on the field and always did their very best.
Now my youngest, just like my oldest, was a bit timid around the ball. While he would kick the ball with me and engage in practice games, or soccer play in the backyard and totally loved it, he felt differently about being in the middle of the pack going for that ball. I think he kicked the ball twice during a game the whole season. I still value this experience for him because he may one day want to get back into playing a team sport and I want him to know I support him.
Have you ever coached a team sport with little to no experience about the sport? How did it go? What did it teach you? For me, it taught me to step out of the bubble I had put myself in and it gave me a little more confidence.
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