This evening we had our second soccer practice for 4-6 year old bee hive soccer (if you’ve ever watched a little kid’s soccer game you know what I mean). The games on Tuesday and Saturday were unfortunately rained out. It was good to see the kids again and even better that all the names I remembered still stuck in my brain. I make a huge effort to know the kids’ names at the first practice. I tell the parents that I might never know their names (other than they are the parents of “Johnny”) but since we are here for the kids that I’ll get their names straight.

At the end of practice, we had a short scrimmage against the other team that was practicing. What was most exciting was seeing how different players developed or reacted in a game situation…..which is complete chaos with 20 little, unlimited energy machines driving legs and arms chasing this black and white geoshaped ball randomly. I was very excited when one of my little guys scored his first goal. This is a kid who hadn’t played before and doesn’t even come to practice with his own ball or cleats. He just gets into the fray and kicks the ball free with such determination that he had an opportunity to kick it into the goal on the other side. I had him give me a high five and made a special fuss in front of his parents at the end of the practice. He was beaming and I wanted that moment to be special for him. I hope I get that opportunity with each of my players — the feeling of achieving something special and being recognized for it. My philosophy at this age level is to make it an overall enjoyable experience and lots of fun. At this age, that is the only way to get them to return next year. If I can sneak in a soccer skill here or there (such as a throw in technique or stopping the ball with a “bug stop” — i.e. stepping on the ball), I will. However, the big picture is what is more important — them learning how to be part of a team and having fun playing sports.

As I said in my post title, “what a kick”. The first game is tomorrow and I hope to have more positive moments with these kids.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

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