Saturday, September 19, 2009

Baby Blue Wildcats

That's the name of our team. Our uniforms are, yup, baby blue. A few of the girls suggested the Baby Blues or something to the effect and another blurted out Wildcats, probably for High School Musical, and thus a name was born.

We started one week ago. Last Saturday was our first game of the season, and while I wasn't exactly pumped for it - I was feeling a mixture of excitement, anxiety and fear - things went well.

One of my major things about coaching soccer is that I never played it. I've watched literally hundreds of soccer games, from high school all the way up to the World Cup. I attend about 50 games a year, give or take, and watch more on television. And last year I spent a few months as a high school soccer referee. I know the game. But knowing the game and playing the game are different things. And I was worried that my lack of playing will come out into not being able to coach a team.

But there is one factor that I didn't include in my formula: my team is made up of 4- and 5-year-old girls. Some had never really kicked a ball before. One prefers to sit on the grass and pick flowers or grass petals. I turned my back on them during one of our two practices and Yvie was trying to teach two of her teammates how to dance a Hannah Montana song.

It's not so much about soccer as it is about having the girls participate in an activity. I'm just trying to steer them in the right direction.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do want to teach the girls about the game. It would be nice if they developed a love of the game at some point in their lives, but if all they get out of this is a positive experience and some good memories, I'll be happy.

Unfortunately, there are lots of other things I must do that don't involve my team at all. Since our organization is a volunteer-driven one, that means we have to do a lot of things and deal with a lot of stressful situations. Our uniforms, for instance, came in two days before our first game, so the day before the game I drove around and distributed the uniforms to my team. We have to have all sorts of paperwork and commitments fulfilled that don't involve our girls and our team, and sometimes the people in charge can be less-than-helpful.

I'd say the actual coaching and playing part of coaching is about 40 percent of my duties.

But I try to overlook all the negatives and try to make it enjoyable for everyone, including the girls.

For now, my biggest challenge today will be keeping the girls cool. It's supposed to be 92 degrees when our game starts and I'm going to have to figure something out because the girls were tiring quickly during our first game last week, and that one started at 8 a.m.

Weather notwithstanding, it should be a good day for the Baby Blue Wildcats.


Willoughby said...

It sounds like you've got a great coaching plan. Making it fun and giving the girls a good experience is so important. When my son played his first year of Little League baseball, the coach only cared about winning and didn't play the weaker, less experienced players. They didn't learn anything other than how to sit on the bench!

Good luck!

5thsister said...

LOL! This reminds of of the time I tried to interest my then 4 yo daughter in soccer. She spent the whole time in midfield playing with a boy, totally ignoring what was going on around her. But the coach was cool about it. When she was 3 I tried her in dance but she was kicked out during her 1st class. She wasn't ready to give up her snuggly (a diaper rag) and the instructer had no patience. Totally turned me off of dance, too.

Willoughby's son's LL coach sounds just like my son's Basketball coach. He was the same way and it was a HORRIBLE experience for all of us. Fortunately, his swim coaches have been wonderful and encouraging.

It sounds as if you are striking a real balance with these girls and you can be rest assured that they will all take something positive away from their experience as Baby Blue Wildcats.

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

Go Wildcats!! That is my high school team, so I think it's a fabulous name :)

Angie Eats Peace said...

As long as they have fun, they will be happy.

Lissaloo said...

What a great name! Sounds like it will be challenging and fun :)