5 Things I Learned Coaching Our First Soccer Game

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The sun was shining brightly and the sky was an amazing shade of blue. I could smell the green coming off the grass in fragrant whiffs as I walked through the field for my kids' very first soccer game. The day started out nice enough. The weather is beautiful here at eight in the morning, even when it peaks over a hundred during the hottest parts of the day in the early fall.

My husband went over to the head coach to find out which field our kids would be playing on, and was asked to coach our team's game. Which was fine, except he knows nothing about soccer. He's never played, never watched it, and was not really very interested to be honest. He is only interested because our kids want to play, and that's as far as it goes. I played soccer for seven years growing up, so I know a bit more. We both do pretty well with a group of small children though, in any situation. I figured between the two of us, we could get our team of four- and five-year-olds through one 30 minute game. We did, but it got pretty interesting.

Lesson #1: It doesn't matter how old your kids are, there are always going to be parents who take the game way too seriously.

You know in the movies you see the parents who scream at the coach, boss their children around like they are trying out for a spot on the Olympic team, or just look disgusted from the sidelines the whole time? They actually exist. That is not for dramatic effect; it's a reflection of reality. Even at the four- and five-year-old level. I did not expect that.

Lesson #2: There will always be someone who doesn't like what you're doing.

See lesson #1. Not all parents fit into this category, but Serious Parent is probably also Parent Who Thinks You Are Not Doing A Good Job. I was taken aback by this the first game, but I will know to expect it next time. It's not necessarily because you're not doing a good job, but you can't please everyone.

Lesson #3: Four-year-olds are often just short enough to get hit really hard with a soccer ball...where it counts.

Ouch. So close to the ground, and to the ball that is flying down the field by the five-year-old who has a really strong leg. Maybe four is a bit young for some things. I think we will wait until five with our other children.

Lesson #4: It's so worth it to see your team complete their first game and you helped them achieve that!

I had so much fun. I wish we could do it every game. With an infant and a two-year-old, I don't know how often it will work out. However, these kids all need encouragement and I can give that. They need to have fun and not stress over winning. I am all for that as well.

Lesson #5: Don't take it all too seriously.

In just a few short years, the pressure to succeed will get heavier and heavier on these little kids. Smell that grass. Teach them to share the ball. Build up a team and each individual. Have fun. Someone will probably cry, someone will get hurt, and someone will not want to walk back on the field. That's alright. It's part of learning the game, learning who they are, and learning how to be diligent.

5 Things I Learned Coaching Our First Soccer Game

I can't wait for the next game!

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