Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More From The Kiddie Soccer Fields

Coached my five year old and his Boys and Girls Club team tonight. Coaching this age has been quite the experience so far. More often than not, the challenge has nothing to do with soccer...

Tonight I tied three shoes in the middle of the field. This was a season low.

Here are some phrases that have actually come out of my mouth the past couple of weeks:

"Guys, no lying down on the field."

"Don't tackle your teammates."

"No sticking your tongue out at other kids."

Still... it's a lot of fun and a good experience. Like tonight, the other team kicked the ball towards one of our players and as she stood in the goal area. It hit her arm and dropped. The ref blew the whistle and called a hand ball.

Before they took the kick, I very calmly explained to him that I wasn't going to argue his call, but I did want to point out why the call is incorrect. If a player handles the ball deliberately, a rule is broken. He explained that they were told to call it anytime it hit a hand and that was good enough for me.

The other team scored on the PK, but I felt really good about being able to help explain the rule. He's a nice guy... voluntering his time... and I hope he found it helpful too. The only way these kids are going to learn the rules is if all the adults are on the same page.

Of course later, when the other team's goalie ran out of the box with the ball, and I pointed it out... the other team's coach was upset because "they haven't been calling that in other games." We did it over, which was fine... but continuing with the theme... I think the adults need to be on the same page.

I wasn't about to say, "we shuld get a free kick." I wanted them to do it over... because if it's true that it hasn't been called, then we need to teach... not just let it go for the sake of one team's advantage. They're five and six... half of them don't know if they won when the final whistle blows.

The teaching and learning that goes on is really the neatest thing about it. Yes, the babysitting aspect of it can be a challenge. Much of it is herding.

But tonight, I saw the beginings of a light bulb go on for one of my players. He's a really good dribbler, but has struggled to pick up the concept of passing... as is the case with the great majority of kids this age. But on a kick off, I encouraged him to pass it as hard as he could to his group of teammates. My son got the ball and scored. Same thing happened later on and we ended up winning 2-1.

But that was the least important aspect of the night. In the end, I really reinforced with the kids that the biggest reason my son scored those goals was because of the passes his friend made... and sharing the ball is very important... and you could start to see the nods and the other little light bulbs. We'll most likely be back to bumble bee soccer come Saturday, but I'm planting seeds.


knight in dragonland said...

My girls are doing soccer with the Pekin Boys & Girls Club, too. The 6 year old is starting to get the hang of it ... now that the season is almost over. She scored her first goal last week. The 4 year old ... well, she has some trouble keeping focused, but she has fun playing. I'm not much help as a home coach since I never played soccer myself, but I can at least get them to look up when the ball's coming and remind them which way to kick it down the field.

Edgar said...

Hey Knight... hope you're enjoying it as much as I am. They don't stay this age for long... or so I'm told.