Coaching is really easy (according to parents)!

So I’ve received a few comments from a set of parents whose two kids play on my U12 team. They were expressing the concern that their kids were getting frustrated at how things were going. They keep imploring me to work more on “teamwork”… to help the rest of the lugs keep up with their talented progeny. Now bear in mind that we’ve scored 16 goals in 6 games – not amazing but fairly decent – and that 14 of those 16 goals were true team goals (13 assisted and 1 the rebound of a shot that developed from a nice combination play). Still, I know at least one of them stays and watches most of the practices and I’m left to wonder if they actually watch. I work on aspects of “teamwork” every practice. Not to the extent I work on technical development – it’s U12 after all – but a fair bit. The team I have is very young and inexperienced. Tactical training is largely pointless is players can’t properly make or receive a 10 yard pass.

Anyways, one of the parents was explaining her kids’ frustration. She’s not criticizing my coaching style, she insisted (a stone called guarantee that she was going to do just that) but… for example, one practice we spent part of it emphasizing getting the ball wide and the next game, we did that and no goals resulted. 

Wait so you work on something in practice once for 20 minutes, and the 10-12 year olds absorb it immediately and implement perfectly… that’s how it always works? That this wasn’t the result must mean I’m a bad coach, right? 

All these years, I’ve assumed learning was based on repetition over time. Who knew that had nothing to do with it!


Whiny coaches (or: a tragic tale of woe)

Boy, I’m not sure if it’s something in the air this spring – maybe the lack of spring – but I seem to be deluged with incessant whining of other coaches.

I’m coaching an extremely young, inexperienced, heterogeneous group of U12 boys. We’ll probably go 2-8, maybe 3-7. But I don’t go crying about it. They’ll learn. They’ll get better, and already have. It’s non-premier U12 soccer for crying out loud.

Yet it seems almost every other coach I come up against feels the need to serenade me with his unending tales of woe-is-me.

Last week, I called up an opposing coach to discuss a scheduling issue. He asked, “Are you going to obliterate us?” I said I had no idea but probably not since I was going to be missing my three best attacking players. He interrupted me to go into a 10 minute whine about how he was missing players and how the reschedule date we were considering was better because he wouldn’t be missing players but that date had the problem of giving him 3 games in 6 days and… well, I kind of tuned out after a while.

Then we got to the field and were chatting before the game and he started in his moaning again. Even after the game, he was whining about missing players. His team beat mine 4-1. If there’s anything more annoying than a coach making excuses, it’s a coach making excuses after he wins.

We met again earlier this week. I studiously tried to avoid him in pre-game. At one point, he found me and started sniveling again but the ref came by and saved me from saying what I was quite close to saying.

“Dear coach, I don’t give a crap about your excuses. I’m hear to work with my boys. It’s U12 soccer. GET OVER IT!”