I was not a good coach on Friday. Tired, short-tempered, impatient. One of my players wasn’t listening when I was talking so I stepped on his hand. I stepped on a kid’s hand. On purpose.
I have another player diagnosed with ADHD. I yelled at him to pay attention. I know the PCA and others emphasize paying attention to the 16 players who are working well, who are attentive, and who are engaged. Sometimes you just blow it.
It’s hard right now. We got blown out of the Association Cup. Five hundred miles round-trip to Lemoore, CA to get our asses handed to us three times. We don’t have a practice permit on Fridays. Weather’s not great and it’s dark at 5:30. You have to keep plugging. Which raises the question, what keeps you going when you’re in the middle of a long season?
For me, positive feedback is a great tonic. Here are some examples:
On New Year’s Day I get a message from one of the Hammer parents. Usually as a coach your first reaction is cautious alarm, like when you’re in your car and you see the SFPD in your rear-view mirror. You think back on what you might have done wrong — fortunately this was before the stepping on of hand incident. Then you click on the message and read:
“You have had a huge influence on our boys during this wonderful stage of their young lives, as they are grow from children into lanky teenagers. Patience, caring, courage and joy from doing things well are among the many things you have taught them. We have watched with admiration as the the Team blossomed in 2010 and look forward to another exciting year. They are lucky to have you as their teacher.
(My wife) and I wanted to start out the first morning of 2011 by wishing you and your family a peaceful and happy year ahead!”
The mom of one of my captains sent this on Saturday:
“(her son) had a concussion this morning …. Very scary … He fell down stairs at a friends house in Tahoe, passed out, lost memory.
First thing he said when he came to was, ‘Will I be able to play soccer?’
Everything seems to be ok…..”
And sometimes it’s a player you’ve coached doing well elsewhere, this from the mom of a kid I did GK training with last fall. I also loaned him a pair of gloves in Lemoore after he forgot his at home:
“He wants to know how much you want for those gloves? 🙂 kidding aside, he’s grateful for the gk training *and* the gloves…he came up very big today, 2 clean sheets, *lots* of great saves, good distribution, and they’re squeaking through to next weekend on a 0-0 tie and a 1-0 win over the Cosmos…”
When things are hard, a kind voice can do a lot to tide you over. As these parents have done for me, I will remember to do the same for their kids.