Friday, June 25, 2010

Coaching As Therapy

I am the assistant coach a gang of under thirteen year old kids playing soccer. I got into coaching two years ago, for my own son's (Rudi) under seven age group team, primarily because coaches were in short supply, and Tim (the head coach of that age group) was desperate for some decent help.

This year however, Rudi decided on baseball, and Marlo (Director of Tavistock Soccer) suggested I wasn't under any obligation to help out, but I could if I chose to. I told him that I would love to, but as I had no kids involved, I wouldn't mind moving to an older age group, which is how I ended up with the group I have.

Last night we headed out to play Thorndale, knowing that a large part of our contingent was headed of to the 'JUMP' program at Wilfrid Laurier, and would not be able to play. A few minutes before the start, we had eight plus a goalie, leaving us two players short. Brad (Head Coach) didn't want to concede the game, and had a brief talk with the other coach, telling him that we would simply play shorthanded, but not to give us any quarter, essentially.

We scrambled for another player from Tavistock, and found Clayton, the younger brother of one of our own players, who happily joined us from his under 11 team. So there we were, eight of ours and a goalie, plus a player from the next age group down, still one man short. I had already been making notes of who to play in what position, and Brad asked me if I was ready to run the game... I had never done so before this game, but was up for a bit of 'trial by fire' so to speak, and began assigning positions and getting our crew on the field.

At the end of the first half Thorndale was up three to two, but in the second period we tied, and then with five minutes to go in the game Mike scored again to bring us ahead by one, four to three, which we held til the end.

There isn't much to compare with that special feeling of pride I got when my crew won the game: The smiles from them as they came off the field. They knew they did a great job, and I let them know it.

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