Friday, September 23, 2011

Excellent Coaching is Rare

This is a series of emails that make me glad we have the select soccer coach we do. We were never planning on having our kids do select sports, because of the cost and committment as well as the fear it would suck the fun out of whatever sport was involved, but this makes me glad that when the opportunity to put together a team of these little dudes came up (they were 7 last summer when it got started) we said, "let's give it a try."

Our Coach sent us this today after a close game we won because the other team was (smartly) playing a ball back to the defense and it came off the recipient of the pass's foot wrong and went into the goal.

I'll let him do the talking:

Parents,  I know I am guilty of sending way to many emails but this is one I have to forward.  To give you some background, after games I often send a note to the coach we play (highlighting things I liked about their team) especially if I was impressed with their team.  I may ask them how often, with who, and style of their training.  Pierre and I believe this does three things.  One, it is the nice thing to do.  Two, it keeps us in contact with coaches and teams that our boys (all of our boys) may want to try out for some day and if that ever becomes the case hopefully gives them an edge.  Three, why invent something you can steal from someone else?  We want to make sure we are keeping up with any new trends or ideas.
I sent an email to the coach of the CU Lakota team we played last Wednesday night… and after a few email exchanges he was questioning his coaching methods with some disappointment in his result Wednesday.  You can start at the bottom to see my response letting him know that I thought his team looked excellent.  But his response is the item I would like you to concentrate on.  It reinforces that your boys are really working hard and reflect our group of parents.  Pierre’s homework is making a big difference.  And the support that the parents are giving from the sidelines and at home is evident.  Pierre and I both believe that it is easy to be good coaches with good kids.  Great parents and hot moms are just a added benefit.  

This is what he wrote, followed by the other coach's reply in chronological order so you don't have to read the bottom first!

On Sep 22, 2011, at 8:45 AM, Andy  wrote:
As always a pleasure.  As for better job coaching…  Your team really looked good.  You should be proud.  They did many things better than our boys.  I was impressed with the way they passed the ball (sometimes backwards) and played tenacious, disciplined defense.  Terrific goalkeeping in the second half also.  As we walked to our cars last night after the game, some of the first words out of the mouths of at least  two of my parents were… “That team is very well coached!”  I have to agree.  I have been around soccer my entire life and coached with some very talented professional coaches.  I am telling you that to back up my next statement.  I can tell you are doing a good job with your boys.  They get better every time I see them.  Unfortunately when you teach them the correct way to play 6soccer you have nights like last night where trying to do the right thing causes a mistake in the back.  Honestly I was frustrated with my boys on several occasions because they just kicked the ball long to get out of trouble.  Sure it may have been the best way to win last night but likely not the best way to win when they are 16.   (I would have rather seen them pass out of trouble (at this age), possibly making a mistake).  I don’t think you guys just knocked it long once without a target.  Your team makes me nervous every time we play.  Stay the course.  Think about this.  There are probably 50 teams playing in U-9 CUSL at various levels.  Your team is easily among the top few.  To put it simply I would be happy to have any of our kids play for a coach like you and on a team like we played last night. 

Good luck this weekend!

From: Matt
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 12:05 AM
To: Andy
Subject: Re: Game
You are way too complimentary - and I can't take too much credit as it is a team effort with my assistant coach, our trainer and one parent (the loud guy on our sideline) who we have jump in with us to work on small sided stuff a couple times a season because he gives us a different voice when we think they are tuning us out.

Your boys may have lost their normal style for a brief stretch there when they kicked it deep but they never panic - like there coach way too calm.......and I thought they got themselves back in 'shape' and closed the game like champs.  A couple of the drops back to Will were classic ball control and your left wing in particular made some heady plays down the stretch - any other kid would've tried to jam it ahead and he took the touch went sideline and shielded our defender until he had support....not your typical 8 year old move and they reflect your preparedness and calm.  I know that was not your best 50 mins but you guys are that good regardless because I'm not sure we can do much better.  I'll stand by my statement last spring you are the gold standard for the 02's of the tri-state - not debatable.
Our parents tonight at training could not say enough good things about the boys and families and coaches of BSC United.  They are an easy going veteran CU parent bunch so they don't impress easy - 7 of our 9 are little CU brothers - but one flat out said your group is the best parents/coach/and players they've been around in probably 5 years of involvement with select. 
Still owe you a beer.
Now, I do have a few things to say! First, what a compliment to our boys. They are almost all younger brothers that have that resilience that comes from having older siblings mess with you, they are all lightning fast, fun, and for the most part, just nice kids. To have an opposing coach say that stuff is awesome.

Second, our coach is a super guy, and it shows in the way he treats his opponents and the way he is looking out for our kids' future soccer experiences. I laugh at how "into it" he is, but he has spent a ton of cash on shirts, socks, and plenty of other things because he wants to. That's the kind of guy he is. He is calm on the sideline, and i have begun to model my coaching of our older kids on that model, letting them know that they can handle what's happening on the field all by themselves. A good lesson, I think.

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