Daugherty! Think the varsity is so interesting!?!? Take a lap! Get a closer look!
-Junior High coach yelling at me for gawking at the ‘big kids’-
I should make note that there is substantial difference between U8 girls soccer and junior high football [only year I played football, still have lingering injuries from that mistake]. The attention span is about the same, but frankly, you want to instill happiness in U8, not the fear of god [i.e. the coach].
However, with that said I will be the first to admit that this Thursday, while at practice..*deep breath*…two of my girls got to run laps.
Now, I’m first going to explain to you the circumstance, then I’m going to follow up with my reasoning, before finally discussing the error of my ways [is it evident that I did public speaking too many years]:
Three points and poem begins now:
Obviously, due to the state of minors I will never name any of my players. I’m hopeful at this point that I’m at elast that professional. However, understand that something happens up here when fall hits. The moon gets bigger, more ‘corn dust’ is kicked up in the air, and kids become crazier by the day. It’s just the facts of life in northwest Missouri.
Harvest time is here.
While attempting to give direction about the upcoming ‘game’ [drill], I had a girl that was repeatedly walking up another player in proper ‘resting position’, and kicked their ball as hard as they could. This caused a series of problems:
- It was an instant distraction for the team
- It hurt the feels of the girl who lost her ball
- It was a unspoken challenge to authority of the coach
I had warned this player a few times prior to the event taking place. Finally, with kids talking, no eye contact, and the player laughing, I said, “[players name] go take a lap”. To which at my surprise I got, “No”, in return. Ouch. As a person who studied the art of teaching I then went to level 2, I dropped an octave an said, “[players name] go take a lap”. At this point her father was standing along the sideline and yelled even louder for her to take a lap.
Away she went.
When she returned we were able to finish the drill and I was hoping this issue was resolved [a few weeks earlier every girl was crying for separate reasons and that about did me in as well].
We went to the next ‘game’, a basic drill with a player starting at midfield, passing to the coach on the right or left, and then receiving the ball for the go ahead shot. Basic. Perfect for U8.
While discussing the instructions I noted two players slapping each other with their hands, jokingly, yet distracting. I warned them once. I warned them twice. Then I looked at them again and said, “Take a lap.” One of them was a repeat from the previous event and her parental unit came onto the field and said, “Either go, or we’re going home”. The other girl was already a quarter of the way down the field. Through the pain and frustration they eventually both made it around the field.
I know some of the coaches reading this are thinking, “You don’t discipline with running”, and I completely agree. However, something was demonstrated to me while I was laying down watching/coaching our game; our girls can’t run. There is a difference between one lacking coordination, making the art of running look painful; and a skinny little mop headed kid coming up to the sideline and saying, “Coach, I’m tired, I’m going to need a sub”. THEY’RE EIGHT! Because of that, the concept of running didn’t really cross my mind as necessarily a bad thing to do.
While it didn’t cause damage to the team chemistry, nor did it upset parents; I admit that I did go home with a bad taste in my mouth. I recognized as a player, years ago, that, that was the penalty for messing up; you ran. Now, after transforming into a literal runner I start to note that running isn’t a curse, it isn’t the result of a violation; it’s part of the chemistry of the soccer player. The average player runs like crazy, I know, last night my shirt was literally soaked from head to toe after I played.
Hopefully we don’t have many more days like last Thursday. However, moments will come up. This time I’ll revert back to high school…push-ups and sit-ups. They’re good for you, they’re no fun, and they’re great punishment.
Yes, I’m a jerk, but as a growing, young coach it’ll break me of the easy habit of saying, “Take a lap!”.
P.S. Thoughts directed towards the art of running for punishment? Let me know over at Twitter: @CoachDaugherty