In addition to running, writing and massage therapy, I am also a youth soccer coach. My coaching career has allowed me to stay involved in the beautiful game of soccer while also having a positive influence working with today’s youth. One could argue that my dad being a coach (American football, of course) has something to do with my choice to accept such a path myself. Though I have coached high school and college players, I am currently coaching with Lonestar Soccer Club at the Junior Academy level. We work to develop players age seven through ten, giving them the foundations they need technically (the ability and skill they have with the ball), tactically (decisions they make on the field, how they use their skills), physically & psychologically. The fundamentals they learn through our program enable them to grow in their understanding, appreciation and execution of the game.
I enjoy coaching for many reasons but unfortunately can get caught up in the result sometimes. Recently, the girls team that I coach requested I replace my dried out expo marker with a purple one. Incidentally, I had one at home and brought it the game the next day. The girls were beyond excited. I took note that such a simple thing was able to bring them such immediate joy. After a challenging first half, the team seemed less than optimistic and slightly down. We had just finished discussing the need to pressure the ball when the other team was in possession; the importance of time and space in the game that defensively we wanted to eliminate the opponent’s ease-of-play. Prior to running back onto the field to begin the second half, we cheer something to get our spirits up… YOU know what a cheer is for. In this case we would cheer “pressure” but noticing their faces and posture I decided to change it up a little. I decided instead of pressure, we would cheer “PURPLE” and follow it with a whisper “pressure”. The cheer did the trick, we were able to finish the game strong and walk-away heads held high. We have adopted it as our regular halftime cheer. This single cheer manages to remind us to have fun and keep our composure under pressure. It reminds me to enjoy the game, the improvement, and the opportunity to encourage such enthusiasm.