A number of readers have asked for an update on The Swarm, the eight year old boys competitive soccer team I coached this past fall. In the last newsletter, I wrote that my limited knowledge of soccer skills forced me to select players based on the behaviors and attitudes they displayed during try-outs, rather than on their skills.
Well, after playing a total of 25 games, The Swarm ended up losing 4, tying 6, and winning 15, and finished near the top of the league. More important than their record or standings, however, the kids played hard, improved as players, and grew as a team. And better yet, they all want to play together again next year.
I did okay as a coach, and I don't use that descriptor with a sense of false modesty. I made plenty of mistakes and had to fight the natural temptation to worry too much about winning. And I had to remind myself, many times, to focus more on the development of the kids' self-esteem than their ability to put a corner kick into the back of the net.
More than anything, I learned that having other coaches around who are better than I am in various aspects of coaching, allows me to do what I enjoy most - motivate kids. I also believe that my "attitude over skill" experiment worked, based on the performance of the team and the comments we received regularly from parents, coaches and trainers.
And I have to admit that I learned a lot about soccer and can't wait for next year.