Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The danger of "The Deal" when a new soccer player recruits you.

Winning is not a crime.  Wanting to win is not a crime. Recruiting is not a crime.  As a parent, wanting a better place for your child to play is not a crime.  Wanting to find another place to coach is not a crime. Let's all understand those points.  Good people have good reasons for a change.

I've had a lot of time to consider my position on recruiting.  I know people say I am not aggressive enough in recruiting and that it was my biggest weakness as a youth coach.  I take that as a compliment :)

When some coaches engage in heavy recruiting, I don't see them as bad people (although I don't like heavy recruiting).  But I do wonder

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Maybe enjoying soccer as a parent is not that complicated.

Soccer parent
Yesterday was a day I was dreading for a while.  Watching my old team play.

I coached Welland 1999 boys for 3 seasons (U11/U12/U13).  For various reasons, I did not return to coach, but my son is still playing.

Yesterday was their first competition.  I only saw tryouts in small chunks, but I did deliver two sessions for Coach John over the past 6 weeks.

Yesterday did not go how I thought it would.  I was thinking I would over-analyze everything, being frustrated, yelling instructions and seeing how the old players are doing and how the new players fit in, etc etc etc.

Instead, I watched from the sideline, had a blast with the other parents and enjoyed watching my son play without his father on the bench.   Chomping on my sunflower seeds, drinking my Timmy's (Green tea, black, bag out, in case it's your round...) being a wise-guy and cheering.  That was me.

The level of the games was "OK" at best, but they were all exciting.  The first game they drew 1-1 with a team that beat them 6-0 last week in a friendly.  Then they lost 3-2 in a tight game and lost the last game in penalty kicks after an exciting 2-2 draw. They played with a lot of confidence and intensity.
"Chomping on my sunflower seeds, drinking my Timmy's, being a wise-guy and cheering. 
That was me."
I have been just as relaxed watching my other son's senior high school games.  I could write a 200 page technical report on both teams (good, bad and ugly), but in this case, it's more fun and very easy to just watch and enjoy.  I don't think my wife and I discussed the games at all on the way home.

Enjoying myself is not only good for me, it's being fair to my children and their coaches.  Their coaches know that other parents ask me questions all the time, but I never engage in that kind of talk. 

I still coach a lot and do so with 110% of everything I have, but I intend to enjoy watching when my job is a parent.

If the game is not enjoyable at U14, they will walk away and do something else.  I intend to contribute to that enjoyment as much as I can.

I am proud of this program.  There have been 2 teams since U9 and both teams are still full.  Some players have come, left and returned and many have been there since U9.  Neither team is exceptionally strong, but some so called "power houses" have imploded around us over the years.  I hope the program stays strong until U18.

P.S.  Do not let this negate the fact that I do miss those boys.  :)