Thursday, May 11, 2006

Coaching

I’d like to take a second to respond to CC from the comments he made this morning.

Coaching children, by far, is one of hardest and enjoyable things that I do. You have a diversity of young minds that for the most part will act like a sponge to new information and direction. The key for me has been presenting their instruction in a way that they enjoy while getting them to focus on the task at hand. In your case with a group of 8-year olds this a task can test any ones patience.

With L’s in-house team (12u) keeping the kids focused and on the task has been trying at times as we worked through basic skills and repetitive sessions of throwing exercises. One of the girls in particular is the class clown and has trouble dealing with her less talented teammates. It has been a constant battle to keep her under control. I think now that the games have started that she will be less of a distraction and more of a positive influence overall.

As far as M’s 10u in-house team we have a great group of kids that work hard and absorb much of the instruction that we give. The only draw back I’ve seen with this group is more problems with my parental skills then being a team issue. M, being on the travel team, expresses her displeasure at mistakes her teammates make. We’ve had discussions about this issue and for the most part she has lightened up but I know it still gets her goat when they make mistakes. I think in some ways it’s good that she has this drive to improve and expect improvement from the others around her but she doesn’t fully comprehend the different skill levels of her teammates. In reality I think chastising reflects her fear of failure.

Now with L’s 12U travel team my expectations are much higher. These girls are the cream of the crop from the in-house league and thus have more responsibilities. They are expected to be leaders for in-house teams in that they take things that they have learned and express these newfound talents by example and through educating their teammates. This is a lot for a 12-year-old girl but it is a character building activity that teaches them how to lead without being a dictator. And like I posted yesterday, these girls need to lead by example by focusing during the game and showing the uninitiated pathways to success.

I don’t expect all of the girls to have these same ideals. Many of them are playing to be with friends and to socialize and that’s fine. Many will never play after they get to high school because the activities they choose to participate in conflict and eliminate the choice. My focus is to do what’s best for each of the individuals that play for my team. I will challenge the goal oriented while comforting the social butterfly. I look at each individual as a separate entity and try to do what is best for both them and for the team through encouragement and partnership. As for me, my only real goals as a coach are to insure that they have fun and that they improve during the process.

In the end, I think for the most part I've done an adequate job. Many of the kids I’ve coached still refer to me as coach when I see them from time to time. It’s a nice feeling when you realize that you’ve made a positive contribution to someone’s life.


********************

I don’t really have any pokery stuff today but what about Delmon Young. He’s the 20-something kid who whipped his bat at an umpire after being called out on strikes a week or so ago. He received a 50 game suspension for his action but was it enough. Do you realize that 50 games is the same suspension you get for being caught taking steroids. I think that a physical assault on a game official should have dire consequences in comparison to a drug related charge. Sure, taking a prohibited substance is punishable certainly but this umpire could have been seriously hurt from the projectile that was heaved at him. Just a thought.

********************

I’m going to try and play in the WWnd: not the tonight if I can. It’s late enough that the kids will be in bed and early enough that I will be able to function on Friday. Maybe I can do better then halfway through the field in my third blogger event.


Have a great day.

1 comment:

cc said...

Great stuff. I've found that kids will basically live up to your expectations as a coach if you show them personal interest and give them encouragement. I think I'm better at pulling up the less talented players, probably because I don't really have any technical skills to draw from in soccer (I've never played and have just become a fan as an adult). If you've ever had kids in karate at very young ages or seen it, it's incredible how they react so positively to this.

Thanks for the elaboration, all good stuff. Have a good weekend.