As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been drafted to coach soccer. Our team name (given, not requested)? England. The kids and I have been having a tough time coming up with something they can shout in the huddle...("Bloody Hell" just doesn't feel like something the kids should be shouting every week). Anyway, the middle has come up with the perfect slogan - "Tally-Ho".
This weekend was our first game and the kids all played exceptionally well. There was passing and shooting and scoring. Both teams seemed to have fun and the majority of the kids seemed to be learning much better control - which is all to the good.
The most surprising part of this experience to me? I knew I'd have fun with the kids (provided they still would pay attention to their "silly" coach) - I always do. Nope, the most surprising thing to me is to watch the pure, unadulterated joy the kids have when we are playing - both in practice and in yesterday's game. The idea, as with any kids sport at this age, is to have fun - first, foremost and always. Secondary is to learn lasting skills for the game and teamwork. None of it will stick with you or matter if you don't first have fun.
To this, I've found that I can truly unleash my inner child and play with the kids as much as coach. They've been very receptive to listening still, but they enjoy being there and many are unhappy when practices end. Their favorite game? A little game called "Hit the Coach" which I'm sure most coaches in this age group play at one time or another. For the kids - if they can hit me 3 times, I run a lap. If not, they run the lap. Generally, we play at least two rounds and the kids are allowed to win one. Best part? They run the lap with me anyway. This just seems to put the topper on the practice - with the kids enjoying the game, but also enjoying winning.
Now, to see if I can keep up running this much after every practice for the next 3 months...