From The Storyteller
September 18, 2017, Soccer
A friend of mine once coached youth (8-10) soccer. He grew up playing; so when the league came up one coach short, he gave the “why not” answer. He smiles when he speaks of those days and his appreciation for folks who coach youth athletics.
He says the hardest part of his coaching experiencing was instilling the concept of team work. As you might expect, some of the kids were more aggressive than other. The idea of passing (kicking) the ball to another person on their own team did not compute. If they had the ball, their brain told them charge toward the goal and then kick the ball – hoping they make a goal.
My friend knew that, if one hopes to win in soccer, it required team work. He tried talking to his youthful charges. That didn’t work so he tried something different. During practice he designated one player to be the “goal kicker”. The goal kicker could move around, but not kick the ball toward the goal until the team had passed the ball to him (or her) three times. Only then could they try for a goal.
Rotating the goal kicker position among the kids and requiring the passing back and forth made the first couple of practices awkward. Fortunately the idea finally caught on. By the second game of the season his team actually had working plays and they began to shine. The parents, skeptical at first, considered the results almost magical. Better players would actually pass the ball to the younger kids who kept getting better. By the end of the season they were the team to beat.
My friend’s motto – You win as a team or you lose as a team.
Moral – In sports (and life), using your brain is not cheating.