Just Call Me “Coach”

We recently decided to sign the kids up for soccer at our YMCA. There are a ton of good reasons for kids playing sports that include teamwork, sharing, and winning/losing with class. Those are all great arguments, and I’m sure they played some sort of role in our decision. To be honest, I was just hoping that it would wear them down enough that they would actually take a nap on Saturdays.

As I sat back and looked at the calendar, I realized something. This will be the last youth sports season before I head back to sea duty. While “sea duty” doesn’t necessarily mean “deployed,” it’s incredibly difficult to make any commitments outside of work when you’re on a ship. You can never know 100% what time you’ll get home, and even the weekends are tricky. Therefore, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity that I have now. I volunteered to coach.

Since the age groups are 3-4 and 5-6, the kids are on separate teams. At first I thought this would be an issue since one kid would be jealous because I wasn’t their coach while the other would quickly lose all respect for me when they realized that I have no idea what I’m doing. When I talked to the sports manager at the gym, he assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem. Since the practices/games are an hour apart, I could easily coach both teams! Yay…

This is probably a good point to talk about my soccer experience.

Yeah, I’ve got nothing.

I enjoy the sport. I like watching it. I’ve recently picked my favorite team using the scientific method of location and video gaming. If San Diego had a professional team, I would definitely watch them live, and I would like to actually start going to college games when able. I’ve also written that out of all the possibilities, soccer is the sport that I would most want my son to play. With all the being said, I’ve never played the game at any level or even thought about coaching it until now.

Now, I know what I’m getting into. We’re talking about 3-6 year old kids. I don’t exactly plan on running a Manchester United training camp. I think offsides traps and set plays are probably a little advanced. In reality, I think it’s going to look a lot like a swarm of bees following the ball around while 1 kid is sitting by himself picking flowers. It would be nice, however, if I could answer the kids’ questions without consulting my Idiot’s Guide to Coaching Soccer.

In reality, I’m incredibly excited. I’ll take the opportunities to bond with our kids wherever I can find them. I’m just going to do the best to keep the kids moving and having fun. High fives will probably be the most important skill that I teach, and if we actually manage to score some goals, even better. Since I’m being trusted with other people’s children, I will take the responsibility very seriously, but at the same time, when kids are at that age, their first responsibility should be to have fun.

The first practice/game is this weekend. I get to teach Little Dude and his teammates the finer points of not falling over while Princess watches in horror from the sidelines knowing that her turn will be coming shortly.

Personally, I can’t wait.

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