Does the coach always have to be right?
The dollar-store masks come out this week. It's October -- time to turn my soccer parents into "monsters," plant them on the field and have my U-6 players dribble around them. First the monsters stand still. Then they make scary noises. Then they try to steal the ball. Then we practice changing directions to move the ball away from those monsters. It's all good training.
And it's how I will paper over our latest 3-0 loss.
My heart aches for Albert and Ethan, shown here in blue, and I worry a little bit about their confidence. Albert (right) played goalie for most of the game but asked to change positions after he was scored on three times. It was totally not his fault; we knew the other team had an amazing striker (my former player, Sebastian, described in this post). We should have kept our defense back to cover Sebastian. But we didn't and poor Albert paid the price.
Ethan (#10, our oldest player and strongest forward) complained that the opposing players were laughing at him. Who knows, but the point is, they got in his head!
I'm pretty sure Ethan will bounce back. As for Albert ... here's the dilemma. Part of me wants to acknowledge that, as coaches, we slip up. But, young as these kids are, they might be better off forgetting about the loss and moving on, right? Little Dillon (shown below) just blows us away every week. The newer players are progressing at practice and developing the coordination that will help them when they're ready to compete.
So my question for you sports parents and coaches is: Should a coach own up to a mistake? Or, in the case of young players, does that place too much importance on the result?
Marlene Sokol, Times Coach