Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Art of Coaching

Last weekend marked the end of the fall season for the boys soccer team I coach. We finished in third place in our bracket out of twelve teams (and in first place amongst Round Rock teams) with an 8-2-2 record and qualified for the end-of-season champions tournament. Overall, the boys had an excellent season.

We played three games in the champions tournament last Saturday, and although we didn't qualify for the semifinals the boys played really well. The final game was played in the cold and rain, included a 30 minute delay for lightning, and finished in near-darkness due to our field not having working lights. As you can see from the picture, even coaches who brought umbrellas got wet. :)

Coach Gary, the team's other coach, and I have coached for fifteen seasons - some good, some bad. Last spring was one of our bad seasons, one in which we finished 0-10 and scored only one goal the entire season. It was a long, grueling season, and it was difficult to maintain the kids' enthusiasm.

This fall was one of our good seasons. We managed to surpass last season's totals for goals and wins in our first game when we won 7-1. Also, this fall we never gave up more than 3 goals in a game which was a vast improvement over last season as well.

I don't consider myself a good soccer coach. I never played organized soccer growing up, and I'm sure most of the other coaches know more about the game than I do. Granted, after fifteen seasons and a few coaching clinics I know more than when I started, but I'm still no expert.

But I do consider myself to be a good coach. I don't yell and scream at the kids, I try to make the practices fun, and I make sure every kid gets to play at least half of the game. You'd be surprised at how many coaches don't play all of their kids, even though most soccer associations require it.

The point is this: don't let a lack of knowledge ever stop you from volunteering with kids. A little time, a little patience, and a little fun are all you need to have an impact.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Never mind

Back in the 70's, Gilda Radner played a character on Saturday Night Live named Emily Litella. (You know, back when SNL was funny.) Miss Litella was an older woman who would misunderstand the topic of a commentary by a single word, but would still discuss the topic at length until her mistake was brought to her attention. For example, she once wondered why people were against violins on television. She thought we needed more violins and less of that loud rock music. When told that people were actually against violence on television, and not violins, she responded with her usual, "Oh, well that's different. Never mind."

Several months ago, I was reading the news headlines on Yahoo when one caught my eye. It stated that some people had been injured by tomatoes in Florida. I remembered the spinach deaths prior to that, and I thought to myself, "This is why I'm a carnivore. Vegetables are evil, and I didn't work my way up the food chain just to eat grass! Vegetables aren't food. They're what food eats."

So I clicked the link to view the entire article. I then realized that I had misread the headline. The people weren't hurt by tomatoes in Florida; they were hurt by tornadoes.

Well, that's different. Never mind.