DJ on Saturday got frustrated while playing soccer – incredibly frustrated. I could tell from halfway across the field that she was ready to walk off of the field, but was sticking it out because it was the right thing to do.
She was playing goalie. She enjoys it. She got up early and asked for us to help her fix her drop kick the ball – a skill she was learning, and wanted to use this game. We did. She was very excited. She had a great warm-up. Her coach was excited at how she was drop kicking the soccer ball. It was shaping up to be a great game for her.
But she forgot the important lesson of team athletics. She is only able to do so much as an individual. A lesson she became acutely aware of by the half. Her defense kept collapsing – they kept getting so far out of position that she was, three times in a row, faced with a three-on-one situation. One she kept losing.
Then, because her teammates are on that tween verge, they kept yelling at her for not doing her job.
I hate girls when they are this age. They sense weakness and attack.
Thankfully, the coach decided to give her the floor when they got back in the huddle. The head coach is a great soccer coach. Hell, she coaches 4 teams right now – and most are undefeated. She tries to teach the kids the skills – but also teaches them the mental game. So, she decided to use this as a teachable moment. She asked DJ how she was feeling about the first half. And DJ told them why she was frustrated – how teamwork was lacking – how she can’t do it alone. She didn’t make it personal. She didn’t attack anyway. She just told it like it was.
The coach used it as a opportunity to get the team reset. And it worked. It didn’t stop the yelling at each other – but they at least played better.
I hate the yelling at each other. When I coached 12-14 year old girls, I had a rule. You yell at your teammates in a non-constructive way, you sit. I hate that sort of thing. As the coach, I got to yell at them like that. Encourage your teammates – don’t discourage them. That was my rule – especially for the girls.
And maybe, for me, that is because of the old school coaches I always had. I swear a few did a great job creating team cohesiveness through being a hard-ass coach. You mouthed off to your teammate – didn’t follow directions of your coach? You’ll be running laps. You keep doing it? You sit. When I coached the softball team, the first baseman learned that lesson quick when I told her she wasn’t going back out on the field. I didn’t have a problem with any of them after that.
This coach that DJ has started yanking people towards the end of the game. She’d yank them, make it clear they were there because of their mouth, and then rotate them back in for the next one being a brat. She mentioned to me as we were leaving that this would be a discussion point this week during practice. She is fed up with it.
I hope it works ….. because I know if it doesn’t at practice, she makes them run. I like that.
I guess if they are sucking air, they can’t be too mouthy.
At least that was my philosophy – a philosophy I was taught.