I know the title of my blog is about wasting time. In the about me page I mention that it is really a look about where my life has gone. I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve wasted. Which is why I’m being careful while I write this entry because I don’t want people to think I hate what I do. I love coaching, and this entry is about my coaching. Why it is on this blog is because of the amazing amount of hours I have put into coaching when I could have been doing other things, like fixing the fence in the yard, or the pipes in the bathroom. I hope you get the picture.
When I moved to the United States I became a Dad to two wonderful daughters. One is a nutcase who doesn’t like Football (soccer), that’s O.K. she is a great kid and no one is perfect. My other daughter is soccer mad. She fell in love with the game, and that makes me a happy man. In other entries on this blog you will see about my love for the game, I have to love it, I’m an Ipswich Town fan, born to suffer.
When C.C. (as we call her) said she wanted to play I was overjoyed. She joined a local A.Y.S.O. region and because of her age she mainly stood there twirling her hair and running away from the ball. Still she kept playing, and I noticed that she wasn’t improving. For three seasons it was the same way and my frustration was growing, we changed A.Y.S.O. region because of a move and things improved a little, but still I was realising the obvious.
While C.C. had been playing I would offer her coach my assistance and been told thanks, but no thanks in many different ways, and my frustration at seeing simple mistakes being made kept growing. My wife kept telling me that I should coach, I just didn’t know if I wanted the responsibility. So for C.C.s first season at U-12 I stepped up to the touch-line! I’d say stepped up to the plate but that is baseball, and that’s a girls sport!
The Black Stallions had a great season, winning the spring season and finish third in a section tournament. This was great for my team, it was bad for my wife. I was now hooked.
As far as I’m concerned there is no bigger thrill in coaching than the “I get it” moment. When you see a kids eyes light up because they realise what they are supposed to be doing, or understand what you are saying and can take that and use it on the field.
Of course the following year after the stations I realised the harsh truth of coaching. Not all teams are great, and winning is a point of view. A win to me is watching players develop and turn into great people. I’ve now been coaching for six years and C.C. has improved and turned into not only a great player but a great role model for younger kids. She Refs u-8 and u-10 games, and plays in a u-17 co-ed A.Y.S.O. league.
Now as for me coaching, I’ve expanded my coaching just a little. I now coach five teams (this season, I promise next year I’ll cut down honest!) I have C.C.s team (u-17) I coach my nephew (u-12) I am coaching a u-16 team that I am taking to Tennessee for the A.Y.S.O. national games, I assist on my wife’s U-8 team, and I’m assisting with a u-19 team also going to nationals. I’m also a coaching administrator for my A.Y.S.O. region and Coach Instructor. My life outside of my normal work is Soccer. If there’s a game on TV I’m watching. I guess really I should have started this entry, hello, my name is Dave and I’m an addict!
I get asked to coach travel soccer all the time, and it is not for me. I love the philosophies of A.Y.S.O. especially the player development. I love that everyone can play. When I grew up in England I loved playing but wasn’t considered good enough for a youth team other than school games. A.Y.S.O. allows kids to play and that is what soccer is all about, it is a game after all. Yes there is a great thrill in winning a game, or a trophy at a tournament, but when you see a kid make a great play even though they are losing, it is still a victory.
I said that I coach five teams this year. really its six. I also coach our regions V.I.P.s. These are kids with special needs and disabilities. Each time I work with these kids there is never a loser. Each one of these superstars makes me smile and makes me realise just how great this game is. See a child who is autistic coming out of their shell just to kick a ball, or smiling just because they got the ball somewhere near the goal boosts your moral one thousand percent. You can never have a bad day coaching V.I.P.s and if your A.Y.S.O. region has one I recommend you get involved, If not start a V.I.P. program in your region.
At the end of each seasons, I get the kids to sign the game ball that we used that season, that is my trophy, that is what I use to remember all the great times I’ve had on the touch-line.
I love what I do, and I’m just glad my wife is now the registrar for our region otherwise I might be in trouble for all the hours I put in!