Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wacky Wednesday Writers Guest Post By: Coach Daddy

     Wednesday seems to be the favorite day for guest blogging all over the blogosphere. I'm chatting about Christmas over at my good friend Starr's site http://www.theinsomniacsdream.com/2013/12/writers-retreat-tis-season.html so please stop by if you have a chance to say hello. In the meantime, many of you already know my Wacky Wednesday Writer guest today---Eli from http://coachdaddyblog.wordpress.com. Don't let the title of his blog fool you. It's not just a site for sports fans to follow up on their favorite teams.  Eli writes from a father's perspective on raising daughters, which I find to be a refreshing change from the sea of mom blogs that I read on a daily basis.   His posts vary in topic from sports, to good food, to humorous family stories. He also features a guest blogger on his site every Wednesday and has implemented an idea that he says is based on Hemingway's assertion  that any story can be told in a six-word sentence. He picks a prompt and bloggers are invited to answer the question in six words. He posts the responses on his site and it's truly amazing to see the different perspectives from each writer.
     Eli is a skilled, entertaining writer and I really enjoy reading his blog posts---yes, even the ones where he discusses sports, because it's always with a humorous twist. Please welcome him to Meno Mama's site today and be sure to leave lots of comment love!   

Title: How To Tell if Your Kid's Coach is a Schmuck


It's not always a cinch to spot a schmuck on a sports field.

Well, it's easy in traffic. And the grocery store. And congress.

But when your kid gets a soccer coach, it's not exactly the first thing they tell you as parents.

"Hello, I'm Cornelius, your kid's soccer coach," he'd open with. "And I've earned certification as a third-level schmuck."

No, you have to find out all on your own.

I'm a soccer coach. I'm not a certified schmuck. I speak with authority on this, because I have never, ever said or done anything in my capacity as a soccer coach that I would regret.

Ever.

I get angry at the Denver Broncos and yell at the TV. I grit my teeth while I watch others coach my kids. Somehow I believe that clenched dentition will keep the curse words from audibility. (They don't). Once, in the heat of battle in a championship match, I accidentally split my clipboard in two.

My teams don't always win.

But we're hell in cleats in tournaments. And the kids love to play. They'll take care of each other, think for themselves, and give their all, all the time. That's all I ask. I'm there to help them get better, love the game, and learn something about things that have nothing to do with soccer.

Back to the schmucks.

Whether you're turning your preschooler over to a skills academy program or your kid plays on the high school team, here are the surefire signs of schmuckdom on your sideline.

1. He makes your kid run – a lot

The three sins of soccer coaching: Lines, lectures and laps. Laps are the worst. Lap running is not soccer running. The games I choose for my teams in practice, the ones that involve kicking a ball – involve lots of running. Soccer running. Sprint, stop, struggle, repeat.

If your kid's team is running – it probably means the coach needs time to get his act together.

2. He rides the refs

I can't officiate. I have enough trouble trying to coach. If your coach is on the refs for every call and non-call, he's modeling badly for his kids, who will gripe and complain, too. Watch how your first date treats your restaurant server; that's how he or she will eventually treat you.

Similarly, watch how your coach treats the officials.

3. He loses patience

Don't confuse this with raising his voice for a little discipline. I love my players. They sometimes talk when I do, and when the silent treatment doesn't work, it's time to yell. (Check out my favorite Vince Lombardi quote.) If you turn up without a pouch of patience, you're doing the kids a disservice.

Kids will remember what you did more than what you said.

4. He punishes losses

This isn't Parris Island. You needn't break a kid down to build him up. There are lessons in losses. I hate to lose. The kids do too. But they get over it. The last thing I want is for my team to think losing is bad, like, stealing cookies bad. Kids flourish when they play with passion, not fear of losing.

Ever notice it's always the kids' fault, never the coach's, when they lose? Which brings me to …

5. He believes the kids are there for him – not the other way around

You've got it backwards, brother. Listen close: We are there for the kids. We're there to teach, guide, encourage, protect. Every brilliant save or deft pass or gnarly shot on goal, that's the kids. I give them the tools, and get to watch them build something great on Saturdays.

It's our job to foster their love for the game, and meet them where they love the game.

If you can do that … you can conquer anything.

Even schmuckdom.


When he isn't answering questions about dust mites, Eli writes a blog about fatherhood, food and futbol called Coach Daddy. Follow him on Twitter.

20 comments:

  1. Hi Eli, great observations. I think every single point is true for parents as well. I can't believe those pushy dads or accusing moms I tend to see at the ice rink.

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    1. Thanks Tamara. As a coach, I need the support and trust of the parents to know I'll do what's best for the kids - including protecting them from their own parents if need be!

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  2. Great guest post from the Coach! I had several wonderful swimming and running coaches growing up, and they were an endless source of inspiration to me, not just in the pool and on the track, but in life. I hope my girls have coaches like them - and like Eli - in all of their sporting endeavors.

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    1. Thanks, NG. We have potential to do great good - but if we can't do great good, we should avoid doing any kind of bad.

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  3. I liked this post. I think these rules can be broadened to apply to a ton of different areas, like a schmuck boss: running laps = busy work that has nothing to do with the real job.

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    1. Thanks Tamara! You're right ... they apply to all leadership positions, and it doesn't end when we grow up, does it?

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  4. This is awesome... I would love to have a coach like yourself coaching my daughter... great post :)

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    1. Thanks Launna! Once a kid's on my team ... she's always my player.

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  5. This is such an awesome post! Eli nailed it...as he always does!

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    1. Thanks Michelle! Glad Marcia asked me to share this ... aren't you glad you don't have to deal with a schmuck coach?

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  6. Sound and sensible ideas. You must be loved by your proteges.

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    1. It seems to easy to just keep the kids first, you know? I can't say every single kid has always loved being on my team, but I love that grown kids I barely recognize will see me in a store and still call me coach, with a smile.

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  7. Hi Meno-mama & of course Phil who we are already huge fans of and adore for the very sound reasons you pointed out M~M. Phil can be described by many wonderful titles but simply a coach & sports writer, he is not!! We've learned so much following his blog and like you are huge fans of his wicked sense of humor & his relationship to his daughters/family as well as his team is not only honorable, but endearing!! So glad to find him here on your beautiful blog & although we don't have any young ones in soccer,we will keep looking for the schmucks so as to advise other parents on the traits. Still...we keep hoping one day to run into the Beckham Coach so that we can really take the sport up with a new fired passion. LMAO. Luv the post Luv the guest, luv Meno Mama's blog!!! Merry Christmas guys & Happy New Year! Sharing now :)

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    1. Ginger - it's good to see you here! Thanks for the love. I would love for Hope Solo to help me to coach a team ... talk about a new fired passion!

      Thanks also for sharing!

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  8. Both my girls have been involved in soccer from age 4, basketball from age 6 and more recently volleyball, track and cross country, so I've seen the entire range of coaches. We've had schmucks and we've had amazing coaches. Amazing coaches are always better. Schmucks suck. Even 4 year olds know that.

    Great post, Eli!

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  9. We've had one great coach, and one schmuck of a coach...and I say that gingerly because I liked him (the schmuck). He had two unruly (still wonderful, but very unruly) children, one on the team, one not. The one not on the team would run on the field, and cry when he was told to leave (but not leave). Dad would take him to mom on the sidelines who would say, "what do you want me to do with him????" So dad, too nice coach, would try to parent and coach, and parenting always won out, leaving a bunch of kindergartners running the field w/o supervision (often). He was always kind and encouraging but didn't teach the kids much, and gave them way too little attention. It was an odd thing to witness, not fun to be a part of...and I wasn't sure who to feel worst for him or the kids. It ended up being the kids. Wasted season. That could turn a kid you know (from soccer fan to apathetic observer).

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    1. 'who to feel worse for,' sheesh.

      Happy to see you guesting at one of my fave blogs!! Nice pair up!

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  11. Great post and so true of many coaches nowadays. Not only do you see this on kids teams but even in college and the pro's. There are schmucks at every coaching level. They should all read this and take notes!

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  12. Great post Eli! Out of all of my kids, none of them play soccer. But they play other sports all year round, and this applies to coaches of football as well as futbol, and basketball and baseball and every other sport. I can't count the number of coaches my kids have had over the last 15 years, some of them good, some of them bad, a precious few of them great. It's easy to see you are one of the greats. Good for you. Keep doing what you know is right :)

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