Four games. Halfway through and I’m really encouraged by how the girls are improving week to week. And they look good doing it with their shiny new Penny Hoodies.
This last Saturday’s game was especially gratifying. As Jonathan Clapper noted, “No matter who was on the field, all three girls were playing soccer all the time.” Indeed they were passing, scoring and defending, but more importantly they were making good choices.
Often enough at practices and games, the girls are prone to distraction, but yesterday they were totally focused. They played hard despite the weather. And they were really responsive to coaching. Again, it was gratifying as both a coach and a parent.
During the second half of the season, we’ll continue working on skill building. I’ll be circling back to the skill cards to continue building confidence on the ball. Mostly we’ve been working on comfort and control. Next we’ll start working on speed and distance with change of pace and passing drills.
I’m looking forward to seeing how they continue to grow as players and as people over the next month or so.
I bought these headbands for the Pennies because (a) they’re pretty cool and (b) I want them to choose to be soccer players. In a perfect world, their headbands are sacred. And each Penny cares about protecting it. The headbands could be symbols of their commitment to soccer.
Each family needs to decide about whether and how important it is. But my ideal, is that they wear their headbands to games, practices and even when they’re messing around in the backyard.
In any case,I have been asking the Pennies, “What does your headband mean?”
It means, “I am a soccer player.”
I’ve noticed some Pennies have been doing cartwheels or twirls or brainfarts when they should be playing soccer. I have threatened taking their headbands away.
I’d be grateful for your support in helping them stay focused. And if the headbands can be a meaningful symbol, awesome.
We’re a few weeks into a new season. It’s really fun to have everyone back. Take a look at some of the pics from last year and then look at your Pennies now. Pretty incredible how much they’ve grown.
With a new season, we’re working on new ideas. Here are a few additions to the “Penny Glossary”
- Be a Shark: Last year I introduced the question: “Where does your body go?” That was about defensive position. “Be a Shark” is about defensive attitude. Specifically, I want them to attack the ball when another team has it.
- Green Means Go: This is me giving Penny permission to go straight to goal. If I yell, “green means go”, I want them to forget everything and go score. For now “green means go” is for a single player. Soon it will be a corporate effort.
- Lanes: At practice I’ve been using cones to divide the field into three “lanes”. I never want 3 Pennies in the same lane. Never. You’ll hear me reference lanes on Saturdays. Sometimes I just want them to spread out. I may also yell “Change Lanes” which means I want Penny to change direction with speed.
- Yes: I want the Pennies to start speaking soccer language on the field. We’re starting with “Yes”. Which is soccer for “I’m open.” You’ll hear them yelling “YES! YES!” a bunch. They won’t necessarily be open, but they are communicating, which is good.
As always, you can reinforce these ideas by asking the Penny what means what. AND when you see the Pennies assimilating these ideas, let them know.
Special thanks to Chad Smith (Kyla’s dad) for creating this logo. You might note the similarity to the official FIFA logo. Cool, right?!
ALL GAMES at Hillwood Park – 19001 3rd AVE NW in Shoreline.
Sept 7 – 11:30 vs. Pink Zebras
Sept 14 – 9:00 vs. Shooting Stars
Sept 21 – 12:45 vs. Tinkerbells
Sept 28 – 9:00 vs. Raindbow Dolphins
Oct 5 – 10:15 vs. Cleat Heat
Oct 12 – 9:00 vs. Running Bananas
Oct 19 – 9:00 vs. Grasshoppers
Oct 26 – 11:30 vs. Pink Zebras
I love this team and it has been really really fun coaching them. I look forward to playing together again soon. In the meantime I wanted to share this literary excerpt which may help explain why I named our team the Pennies. It may also provide a little bit of insight into how I think about coaching, parenting, being.
One of my favorite books is Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Chapter 2 is titled “Seeing”. In it she writes:
The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But–and this is the point–who get’s excited about a mere penny?
I do. Or at least I’m learning to. It’s really easy to celebrate big stuff. But if that’s all we celebrate, I think we miss the point. Dillard continues:
It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won’t stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.
So, I hope that you will get excited about pennies. I hope you will celebrate and reward every time you see Penny playing soccer. I hope you’ll give her a penny and that her new change purse will get really heavy. Remind her that “little things add up”.
And I hope that each of you yourselves will collect your own pennies and that you’ll realize that you have more than a bunch of coins. Indeed, you’ll have a lifetime of days.
I’ve been dreaming about getting sweatshirts or something for our team. I think that would be the coolest. I had a friend mock up some ideas, which I’ve included below. Let me know what you think.
I had hoped to get something done in time for our party, but I think we’ll wait for next season. Next season! I’m already excited.
Yesterday’s game was a little odd. For 3 quarters we scored a lot of goals. In the 4th quarter, we stopped. I asked the girls to try something new: passing.
We’ve been talking about it a lot more – specifically “sharing not stealing” – but it’s been a tough concept for the girls to execute. My own personal philosophy is that if we can get them thinking about it, their bodies will eventually figure out how to do it.
Still, it was fun to see them explore new options during that game. Each of the Pennies were aware that passing was an option. Most often it was a player without the ball shouting “PASS!”.
Next week, my plan is to work with the player without the ball. If she wants another Penny to pass, she needs to be in a place where that pass can be helpful. It doesn’t make any sense for a Penny to give the ball to someone standing next to her.
So, look for the Pennies to be spreading out a bit more…especially on throw-ins and goal kicks. During the run of play it’ll be a little tougher, but we’ll get there eventually. We may not score quite as much, but we’ll develop a more complete game and we’ll ultimately have more options.
Though not quite Halloween, the Pennies had a Wacky Practice tonight. In case you’re confused when they explain it to you, here’s what we did.
- We did our usual warm-up focusing on Tiny Touches and the Hat Dance as well as a new move. (Ask them to show you “Steamroller Outside”. ) The Wacky Part was that we did it without the ball.
- We played a passing game where we concentrated on moving the ball out of the middle on defense and back to the goal on offense (i.e. the Diamond). It was kind of like a big scrimmage, except the girls couldn’t use their feet. Only hand-balls were allowed.
- We played a shooting game to see who could score the most goals. Normally, we’d play this game with one ball at a time. Tonight, we played with seven balls at a time. It was a little overstimulating, but they got to score a lot.
Wacky, right? I think it’s safe to say that the girls didn’t learn very much tonight. But they sure did laugh a lot. Last practice is next Wednesday. We’ll try to get some work done then.