Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I Need A Clue (or two)

First off, I would like to thank those of you that left me a message or emailed me over the past few days.  You know who you are....and I appreciate each and every one of one.  Friendship is a wonderful thing....whether it be one forged in person or over the Internet. 

Now, let's talk about something I really need help with.  As most of you know, I have five boys.  In this age of sitting around, watching TV, playing video games, etc., we decided to encourage them to play in a few organized sports.  One of the first sports they have each taken to has been soccer.  Each of the first four have played it for at least 2 years.  The oldest son (15) is still loving it.  And the nine year old who has a lot of similarities to the oldest is playing, too.

Now, when I grew up soccer was not on our playground/park list of sports.  We had baseball, football (including stq..don't ask), basketball, dodge ball, red rover, 4-square, and even tetherball.  So, my familiarity with the sport is somewhat limited.  I'm not saying soccer isn't a great sport...I'm just saying the strategy behind the game isn't in my base of sports knowledge.

So, when son #3 (we will call him Zook) started playing in Kindergarten, I was told that if I didn't coach, the team would not be able to play.  No one else would coach.  I figured, how much strategy can a game with 6 year olds have.  I was pretty much right.  I made sure they knew to not pick the ball up, to keep both feet down when throwing in, to not push people out of the way, and to only kick the ball into the opponent's goal.  That, coupled with the fact that Zook had been playing with his older brothers for a couple years at home which gave him advanced skills, made me look like a soccer genius.  To put it simply....we dominated.

Fast forward to this year.  I am now coaching at a level that requires some understanding of soccer's strategy.  Also, because we didn't have enough 4th graders, we got bumped into the 6th grade bracket.  Finally, some of the kids added to the team this year have slow feet.  No biggie, I figure this is a recreational league.  Everyone plays, its supposed to be for fun.  SUPPOSED TO BE.....

We are now lining up against teams that are older and have "travel team" players...meaning they play a lot more under the guidance of someone who knows what they are doing. 

Which brings me to last Saturday...first game of the Fall season.  End of the first quarter, 5-0 (Team WHW is behind).  Second quarter, I put our best players on defense....first half ends 5-0.  Next quarter I put one of my best players on defense, 3rd quarter ends 8-0.  Fourth quarter I decide to let the best players all attack....game ends 14-0.  Ouch.

Now, I love each and every one of the kids on my team.  I wouldn't trade any of them for different players.  I just feel a little guilty because I am supposed to coach them...and my coaching skills are a bit below this level.

So, I appeal to you, the all knowing readers.  Please post any soccer strategies you might employ.  I would be happy to work them into my "playbook".

I thank you, my team thanks you, and the poor referee who has to keep score thanks you.

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