Once again I start a post by going backwards in time – way back. The first team sport I ever played was soccer. I played from kindergarten up to 3rd grade. Initially our team was horrible….each of us felt we needed to personally escort the ball around the field. The only good side to this was that spectators never had to wonder exactly where the ball was – it was always in the middle of the mass of the kids. The down side is of course that left us vulnerable to attack and we were attacked often. In fact I don’t remember winning a single game in the first 2 years I played. Once the opposing team got around our “huddle” it was all over. Despite consistently losing we had a lot of fun – and ate lots of oranges.
In my last season our coach finally convinced us that staying in our positions was much smarter than huddling around the ball. We went from never winning to finishing 2nd place in the league with nothing more than a simple attitude adjustment.
Fast forward to high school and after playing and starting in football I decided to switch back to soccer. Unfortunately I was forced to quit early due to a foot injury. It appeared my soccer days were over (either that or I really should’ve stuck with football).
Fast forward again to my military career and an intramural league. Because I was one of the few players on any team that was familiar with the sport I was a star player (given the amount of beer we drank when we weren’t playing actually just being able to run more than 10 feet made you a star in that league). I was pleasantly surprised at how much of the footwork had stuck with me though.
Fast forward (next to last jump I promise) to last year. My daughter decided to play soccer. I was ecstatic because it meant I wouldn’t have to fight to stay awake at softball games. Also, since I had played soccer on and off I thought it was great that I could share that with her. Unfortunately her coach left a lot to be desired such as organizational skills, training skills, physical stamina, and knowledge of the actual game. We had our first game before this guy even set the kids up for a scrimmage. They had absolutely no clue what the game was about. I volunteered to assist but he was so disorganized he didn’t know what we would do next in practice. Every time I’d ask he would start frantically thumbing through printouts. It was a disaster. I decided late last year that my daughter would not have another coach like that.
So as the way overused saying goes “If you want something done right do it yourself”. I decided I wanted to try my hand at coaching. While my wife was working with the Parks and Rec to get my daughter registered for the season she also found out they were collecting coaches applications. Not sure whether or not I stood a chance of being selected being a relative stranger to the Parks and Rec folks I still wanted to throw my name in the hat. Amazingly (to me anyway) I was selected! I do think Gardner Parks and Rec should apologize to my current employer because for a few minutes after receiving the e-mail my productivity was shot:)
So now my lunch time consists of coffee (absolutely no surprise to anybody who knows me) and reviewing various sources of information on coaching. I already have a central web site set up for the team (where I will start up a team blog and see how that goes:) ), have downloaded training plans and drill definitions, and of course pictured myself leading a bunch of happy kids through the season.
I better get back to my day job but on future lunch breaks I’ll be posting more updates on my adventures as “Coach Smith”. Also, if you have any tips for first time coaches like myself please send me a message (or two).