We’re halfway through the soccer season, and Lily, Josh, and I have had a lot of weekend games and weeknight soccer practices since March 31st when we started the season. The kids play both Saturday and Sundays, and practices mid-week. So what’s my take so far?
Lily played last Fall, and she’s still in the Tiny Tots program. She still enjoys talking to her friends more than playing, but I’ve seen her run and get into the game. She also likes to make sure we’ve seen her doing something good. I hope she likes it, and I think she does. I hope she’ll play again next season.
Josh has attended almost every game on his team, and he’s certainly learning and improving each week. We have clinics (run by an outside firm) that teach the kids that show up various technical skills mid-week. I run my own weekly practice for my team mid-week to go over problem areas (or “areas of improvement”) that I see during games. Saturdays and Sundays are game days.
Coaching youth soccer is both the same and different than what I expected. I expected coaching games would be difficult, but it’s not actually. With so much stimuli (both teams of players, the ref, the parents), there’s really not much for me to do or say. I try not to yell too many instructions from the sidelines. Frankly, they can’t hear me very much anyway. I mostly just try to manage the subbing of players and giving advice to these K-2 boys to spread out, work together, etc. So, coaching actual games is much easier than I thought it would be.
Coaching the practices? A whole other ballgame. I spend a lot of time thinking and researching what kinds of drills (in for the form of mini games) to run every week. I have to watch and figure out during the weekend games which boys need work in various areas. From there, I use a variety of drills found on online coaching resources to instill various skills and techniques. At this age, it’s purely recreation soccer. There’s no real tallying of scores, no championship trophy. The idea is to get the boys and girls playing and touching the ball. I want the boys on my team to play smart, enjoy it, and have fun. I also want them to win games through their hard effort.
I actually kinda like soccer, in a small way. Cycling (watching and doing it) and (watching) basketball are still my favorites, but I’ve watched at least one Red Bulls game on television with Josh so far. It’s not bad.