I left soccer practice tonight feeling frustrated. Not the kind of frustrated that means I need some lovin’.. but the kind that makes me feel like I want to punch someone in the neck. Specifically, Coach B, who is not even a coach at all. Lemme back up.
Four weeks ago we had our first practice, Coach R and I spent hours going back and forth on what to do during that practice. He currently plays in an adult league and I played for 9 years as a kid but neither of us has coached before. We were a little anxious. So we get there, nothing really went as planned [more on why here] and we went back to the drawing board.
The second practice was cancelled due to “rain”, then we met again the following week. During that second practice, one of the parents approached us to offer his advice. Enter Coach B (who is not and has never been a coach either, but his two daughters played on travel teams “back home” and he’s seen his share of practices). We accepted gratefully as we were still grasping at straws, and he ran a couple of drills with the kids while explaining to us the reasons why and blah blah blah. It was AWESOME. Great, helpful stuff.
Week 3 rolls around and he is right there with us, practically taking over practice. It was awkward, but neither of us knew how to say “hey buddy, this isn’t helping, this is a full fledged takeover.” So we didn’t. Then I wasn’t there on Friday but from what I hear it was much of the same. Our first game was this past weekend and although Coach B stole the girls for some warm ups while Coach R and I decided who would play which position.. he finally took his seat with the rest of the parents. During the second half he literally started coaching from his seat, which pissed me off beyond belief.
That brings us to today. There was no kind of this time, he literally shot down what Coach R and I wanted to do and took it upon himself to run practice, despite our meek protests. With his taller stature and louder voice, the girls went right along with the flow. Dude is a straight up bulldozer. So after practice, R and I had a little bitch sesh about how we need to remind B that he is not actually one of the coaches and he needs to STAND DOWN!
So I wrote an email. That’s my kind of confrontation. I’m a wimp, I know. Unfortunately, R is even more of a wimp and I knew that if I consulted him on the content of my email he would have put the kibosh on it in an effort to keep the peace. In my mind, “Coach B” has already broken the peaceful relationship that this whole thing started with so to hell with being politically correct. Not only that, but Coach R will not be at practice on Friday or the game on Saturday and I’ll be damned if I let this guy run me over and run my team in a way I don’t agree with.
B,We have REALLY truly appreciated your help thus far. With a few weeks of practice and a game under our belts now, R and I are feeling more confident in our abilities to take the team back over, if you will. I don’t want to offend you or created any disharmony, but we are still the coaches. We volunteered to do this because we genuinely want to coach youth soccer and be involved in our daughter’s team. At this point in the game, we’re ready to do that competently using all the helpful suggestions you’ve given to us along the way. And if we miss the mark a little, it’s okay. We still welcome your input, that we can then utilize, rather than having you step in directly going forward.I wanted to touch base with you about today’s practice specifically. Towards the end, the girls that you and I were working with were frustrated and confused when we had them passing around the box and defenders inside following the passers. When I told you that it wasn’t working and they weren’t getting it, you asked for a couple more minutes… When you sat them down to discuss it more the looks on their faces were not ones that I want to see at a U9 rec practice. If a drill isn’t working we are going to simply move on to something else. Most importantly, they need to be having fun while playing soccer! As our league director put it at the coaches meeting “if they are excited to come back and play soccer again after this season, you’ve done a good job.”R and I both suggested small scrimmages and you shot it down. I understand your reasoning, the space issue, but really a game set-up is what we want them to be doing for a good chunk of practice. Stopping them along the way to coach whenever an opportunity presents itself. The drills focusing on specific skills should only be part of practice. For this Friday with a smaller number of girls, splitting them in half as we did today gives us plenty of space and opportunity to make small scrimmages work no problem.I am going to create a practice plan for you and I to use on Friday, with R’s input, and will send it to you for your suggestions as well. I’d like to stick to it and be the main coach at practice. I feel silly even typing that, but I’d appreciate an opportunity to do what I signed up to do. Also, they need to get used to hearing my voice and R’s voice for game day. This weekend being an exception of course.Speaking of game day, I can remember a specific moment last weekend when you were yelling at Little J to stay at her position in full back. I understand why you were yelling it, but she literally put her hands up in frustration because you kept yelling it repeatedly. I’m not saying this because she’s my kid, I’m bringing it up because when you’re on “that” sideline, we need you to be a parent and help cheer the kids on positively. The “coaching” side is where we’ll try to keep them focused. With that being said though, once they’re out on that field there really shouldn’t be much coaching, per say. Reminding them where they need to be if they’re in earshot or when they looked confused is what our goal was for this past weekend and it worked fine.Winning and losing is not the point. Winning is great, yes, but it isn’t the main goal (pun intended). Making sure they enjoy the game and are learning skills is what we are striving for. I hope that this email hasn’t come across in the wrong way, as I said we sincerely appreciate your help. I just want to make sure that when R and I are both at practice going forward, the girls know that we are the coaches.I welcome your feedback, please let me know if you have any comments on what I’ve mentioned here. I’ll send along the practice plan for Friday sometime tomorrow.Warmest regards,Amanda