Thursday, July 24, 2008

Soccer Clinic

Soccer season is starting up again. Once again, I am going to be coaching LilKat1's team. But this year, I will also be coaching LilKat2's team as well. LilKat2 is going to be playing on a Kindergarten team, even though he is not yet in Kindergarten. The soccer organization needed some coaches and I volunteered to be one on the condition that LilKat1 be able to play as well.

But this year, LilKat1 will be on a 1st grade team. Last year, I went to this great soccer clinic where I learned all about how to coach Kindergarteners. Well, yesterday, I went to the clinic for coaching kids under 8 years old. I was quite excited about this. There was a lot of helpful information at the clinic last year that I was able to put into use in my practices, and I was looking forward to being able to find out some new helpful insights for my 1st grade team.

So how'd it go? Well, pretty much like last year...except the exact opposite.

Oh my goodness, this clinic was horrible. The guy that ran it used to play for the Irish national team as well as the local professional team apparently. But judging from the clinic, I don't know if he's ever taught little kids to play soccer in his life. At first, we were just doing some basic drills to warm up. Just dribbling the ball around and using different parts of our feet. Then he had us doing drills where we had to lift the ball off of the ground with our foot and then kick it from one foot to the other without letting it touch the ground. He told us to count how many times we could kick the ball. Immediately, I calculate the score that I think my kids will be able to get for this drill, either zero or one, with a very outside possibility of two.

Then he has us get in groups of 3 and pass the ball from one person to the other using only our heads. Again, not a drill that I see 1st grade kids performing very well.

After this, he has us start working 2 v 2. Now, we work drills like this sometimes, but we have to put them into a game form. When you're running 2 v 2, that means that everyone else is doing nothing. And for a 1st grade practice, having half the team doing nothing is usually not a good thing.

Anyhow, apparently, we weren't running the 2 v 2 drill how he wanted it to be run. He wanted the person with the ball to perform more 1 on 1 moves to beat the defender that was on him. Why? Because that's the problem with our National Team, you see. They can't beat their defenders one on one. If we're going to compete with teams like Argentina, then we really need to get our players developing better skills for attacking 1 on 1.

You see that confused look on your face that you have right now? That's the look that all 20 of us coaches had as he was telling us this.

My son is 6 years old. He's going into first grade. I have several goals as his coach, but preparing him for the National Team is not really anywhere on the list.

It's really too bad that this clinic was so horrible. Last year's clinic got me excited to start coaching. It gave me all sorts of great ideas that I wanted to try out. This year's was just a waste of time. I know that there were some first time coaches at this year's clinic that really could have benefited from the kind of helpful ideas that they talked about last year.

Actually, there was one good thing about the clinic. I found out that I can kick a ball in the air back and forth from foot to foot 9 times without letting it hit the ground. :)

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