Look, I get it. Sometimes we’re a little too burned out to give 110% at 7:00 at night. Sometimes you’re phoning it in because it’s all you can do to get through the day.
But when you agree to coach then you’re committing to bringing your A game for the kids. You’re human, you’re allowed to have an off day, but that cannot be the norm. You have got to show up.
So while I typically go by the motto of put up or shut up – meaning if you didn’t volunteer to coach then keep your opinions to yourself – at a certain point I can’t help asking what the hell they’re doing on that field.
I managed to sit through exactly two and a half of T-man’s practices this season. Two and a half. That’s about all I could stomach without decompensating into a mad woman, screaming from the bleachers and no doubt sending my kid into a shame spiral once the coach heard me bellowing Oh for the love of all things holy, DO SOMETHING with those kids.
The number one thing that makes me jump out of my skin? Drills with fifteen players standing around while three kids run a play. How can you even call that soccer? Only three kids are touching the freaking ball! In a forty-five minute period T-man only ran the actual drill five times. Five. Which means for half of that night’s practice my kid touched the ball every nine minutes. What was he doing the rest of the time? Looking at the sky, goofing around with the kid behind him in line, or just sitting with a glazed stare as he waited for a turn.
Give me a break. That’s not soccer, it’s a bad P.E. class.
I’m also not down with mass punishment in an effort to create a team pressure cooker. Someone forgets to pick up their water bottle? Everyone runs two laps. Come in second on a passing drill? Losing team runs a lap. See, I get having the kid who’s late run an extra lap before practice. It gives that particular player an incentive to get their butt to the field on time, but those other examples? That just makes kids pissed at each other, which is pretty much the opposite of fostering a team mentality.
I’ll be the first to admit that coaching can be a thankless gig. Sometimes the days are long and hot and the kids aren’t listening worth a damn, but that’s the deal. No one sweet talks these guys into volunteering with promises of free beer and nachos. They don’t agree to coach after being told they’re in for high fives, kids always on their game, and parent raves every night. Coaching has its positives and negatives, and just like anything else you get out of it what you put into it.
Which is why I’m stymied by folks who don’t put in the effort. It’s not like I expect you to spend hours a day on soccer, but are you honestly telling me you can’t come up with better skills work than drills that involve only three people at a time? It’s called the Internet, people. Use it.
Or risk the wrath of mama bear hollering from the sidelines.