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Are kids crazier now, or am I just old?

Discussion in 'Coaches Corner' started by Nator, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. Nator

    Nator Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,712
    I am a relatively new soccer coach, I have been an assistant coach for my daughter's 7 & 8 year old team, and this year I am head coaching my son's 6 year old team.

    When I coached the girls, there was generally a little silliness, but nothing too crazy. I always joked to parents,"There is a little known rule that during practice at least one girl must be performing a cartwheel at all times." I really enjoyed teaching them the game, and watching them get better over a couple of years was nice to see.

    The boys are making me reassess whether or not I enjoy coaching. I swear that they are possessed by crazy monkey demons.

    I spend close to 15 minutes out of our 1 hour practice just trying to get them to listen.
    When I ask them to line up, they literally mill about in this blob that doesn't even come close to forming a line. I have to physically direct the boys to form a single file line. When I get to the 9th and 10th kid, kids 1-6 are now back to a chaos blob again.
    There are always 2 kids pushing/shoving or doing the "test of strength" thing that WWF wrestlers used to do back in the 80's.
    There are kids punting the ball directly into other groups of kids.
    They constantly steal & kick each others soccer balls all over the field.
    When we do get to running a drill, in which I specifically tell them to run around the outside of the practice area to get back into their line/blob, they run straight down the middle of the next 2 or 3 kids doing the drill. I have had at least 2 full-on collisions where I thought I would be calling an ambulance and then some parents about how their son was just concussed.
    I have kids at games that don't want to come out when it's time to substitute and start crying on the field until their parents walk them off. They usually get over it, but the whole field has to wait until we complete the substitution process.
    I have 2 space shots who will literally just wander aimlessly around anywhere at any time, usually pulling their arms inside their sleeves and staring at me with dead eyes as I tell them directly,"Hey, I need to to line up right here". I need to repeat this multiple times just to get them to stand in a single spot.

    I have already e-mailed the parents asking them to talk to their kids about listening to their coaches at practice so I can spend less time redirecting and more time actually doing soccer related activities.


    I played soccer from 6-14 years old. I know there was general goofing around and everything, but when my coach blew his whistle, we would get in line for the most part and start practicing. It seemed way less crazy than these guys are today. I feel like this goes way beyond normal 6 year old tomfoolery, and I am not sure if I am:

    A) Old and out-of-touch with youth (I'm 44, not that old, despite the thread title).
    B) Stuck with coaching the most chaotic band of children that the Midwest has ever seen (my kid included) and this is just a weird one-off situation I seemed inherit.
    C) If this is happening to anyone else, and kids are just lunatics nowadays.

    This was therapeutic for me to type, but is anyone else experiencing this? And, do you have any tips in general on how to, let me put this bluntly, get your kids to SETTLE THE FUCK DOWN SO I CAN TALK FOR 2 GODDAMN MINUTES ABOUT SOCCER!!!! just chill out in for a couple of minutes so I can teach you some soccer, young lads? I want to have fun with these guys, but I can't get there since they have exhausted my usual deep reservoir of patience.
     
  2. robssecondjob

    robssecondjob Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    596
    No lines for drills. Everybody needs to have a ball at that age. Dribbling relay races and that type of a thing to keep everybody moving at practice.

    At the high school level I get "we need to play shirts and skins today". Which is code for "the visiting girls team just showed up".
     
  3. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    7,643
    They're six year olds. They are there to learn soccer like a kindergartener is there to learn math. You're doing the lord's work providing structured babysitting with a spritz of beautiful game essence.

    Think of it that way. The kids are alright.
     
    #3 BroodsSexton, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  4. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    7,643
    Double post!
     
    #4 BroodsSexton, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  5. Omar's Wacky Neighbor

    Omar's Wacky Neighbor Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    6,380
    Sounds like the stuff you're trying to run is too formal for u7 rec.

    Indoor, you might be able to get away with a single coach. But for outdoor, you need either a pro trainer, or a few more coaches to keep things moving.

    And kids will ALWAYS run thru the middle of a drill to return to their spot.

    And you missed one: the player who has to be reminded several times each practice to stop standing on his ball.

    And the threat of not scrimmaging is powerful: if we get the drills done, then maybe we can scrimmage the final 20 minutes.

    Other bribe I'd use at this age, tho it worked better in the closed confines of indoor soccer, was "OK, if we get everything done, then you get to shoot on Coach as hard as you can at the end of practice."

    Great, now go get it.
     
    #5 Omar's Wacky Neighbor, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  6. Joe D Reid

    Joe D Reid Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,983
    Also keep in mind that the pool of people willing to coach youth sports is overrepresented by the type of kids who found youth sports interesting to play. Most of your teammates back when you were 6 didn't give a shit either. You just didn't realize it.
     
  7. wiffleballhero

    wiffleballhero Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    966
    What rob-job said. As little talking and standing as possible.

    Everybody moving with a ball.


    When you talk they are not listening anyway. When you run a drill there is no long term heuristic value the kids can see, so the drills need to be fun and coherent in themselves. It is fun to run fast and kick something hard. Imagine your drills are being done by kids who will never play soccer again. Will they maybe have fun with the drill/game/exercise, right then? If yes and it involves kicking the ball, running around and (dare to dream) not bunching up like hornets you are doing well.

    One of the challenges of U6 is that a team of 12 kids feels like it needs about 12 coaches. When I did U6 -- which admittedly is total mayhem -- I would end every practice with the same knock out drill: All the fat ass parents would have to get off their lawn chairs and go on the field. The kids would have to kick their balls and try to hit the parents. Parents leave after they have been hit. Last parent standing has 12 6yo "drilling" balls at her/him.

    Takes 10 minutes or more. Good fun unless you get some ya-hooish, mildly athletic parent who simply refuses to go down in the end. Stay on half field/in the goal box/center circle depending on the size of the field and # of kids.
     
  8. luckysox

    luckysox Eeyore Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    6,277
    This conversation is why I did not offer to coach my 6 year old's team (soccer or basketball). I did watch the most amazing father/coach do an fantastic job wrangling a team of 5 and 6 year olds every spring Saturday last season. He was calm. He never let himself get frustrated with their antics. he never raised his voice or got pissy. And the boys responded to it. I wish I had an ounce of his zen-like quality. He also kept them moving constantly - they did zombie warm ups which the kids loved - high knees, toe kicks, then "zombie" walks all over the field. They did lots of sharks vs. minnows with one or two kids trying to take the balls away from the rest of the kids. And he always did some "rapid fire" shooting on the coach from 5 feet away in a line - 8 kids basically right in front of him as goalie, each one shoots and retrieves their ball from one end to the other. He'd shout their names when it was their turn and then they had to get the ball back to the spot before he said their name again. So if they wanted to keep trying to score on Coach Ben, they had incentive to chase after their ball. I dunno nothin' about teaching actual soccer skills, but he kept these little buggers busy and my son always came home tired and happy. He also got a little bit better with some basic footwork and always being in on the play, vs. wandering around waiting for wolves to come out of the treeline near the field. Because he's 6 and that's the stuff some 6 year old boys are thinking about instead of soccer.
     
  9. luckysox

    luckysox Eeyore Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    6,277
    [All the fat ass parents would have to get off their lawn chairs and go on the field. The kids would have to kick their balls and try to hit the parents. Parents leave after they have been hit. Last parent standing has 12 6yo "drilling" balls at her/him.

    Takes 10 minutes or more. Good fun unless you get some ya-hooish, mildly athletic parent who simply refuses to go down in the end. Stay on half field/in the goal box/center circle depending on the size of the field and # of kids.[/QUOTE]
    Holy crap, this is fantastic.
     
  10. Monbo Jumbo

    Monbo Jumbo Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    24,094
    How many kids are on these teams? And how many coaches?

    I coached U6 one year. My only sports coaching experience. It was mixed boys and girls, 3 on 3, no goalie. Each team had 6 kids and two coaches. One of the boys was the proverbial "space case." I remember him sitting in the goal saying "It's like a geodesic dome!" We sucked until the youngest and smallest boy figured out he could control the ball and he was faster than everyone else. Once he could emerge from the hive, the rest was automatic. We were undefeated the second half of the season. Years later his mom stopped me in a mall. Said he still played and was passionate about it. I'm just glad I didn't fuck up the experience for him.
     
  11. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,138
    My kids are a little older, U10, and it's baseball. However, I recognize the problem you describe. Lots of ADD, etc. I tell them from the beginning three team rules: 1. Pay attention (This includes during the game, in the field, at the plate, in the dugout, etc., emphasis on safety) and never talk while coach is talking. 2. Hustle. 3. Have fun.

    If I am talking and one of them starts going with another kid. I stop what I'm saying and say something like, "The team will have to wait a few minutes because Joey has something very important to discuss with Johnny." And I look at the offender. Or I will interrupt my statement and call out or ask the offender directly, "What's the number one team rule??"

    I only have to do it a few times before the message gets through pretty good. Maybe not useful for U6 but maybe a variation of it would help.

    In my experience if you can get much more than one hour of attention span, you're doing well. I can see it break down completely by 90 minutes or so. You're better off having two one hour practices than one two hour.
     
  12. lowtide

    lowtide lurker

    Messages:
    11
    I coached a couple 6 year old teams; its difficult to get them to stand in a line. At that age you want them moving, preferably with a ball on their foot.

    First its fine to ignore kids or just have them go to the side. It doesn't have to be a punishment, "We're doing this drill, if you don't want to that is OK go to the side you need to be out of way."

    Some kids just need to be ignored, like toddlers throwing tantrums: "If you want to lay on the field that is OK, you can't do it here you'll get hurt."

    Here are some drills we all enjoyed.

    Hobbits and Dragons: each child has a ball; scatter your cones in the center circle. Children are "hobbits" who are trying to sneak in and steal the dragon's gold (the cones). Children start outside the circle, dribble in take one cone and dribble back out. All children play at the same time. Coaches are dragons who provide very light defense, if you lose your ball, you have drop your gold. Hobbit with the most gold wins.

    Hey! Thats My Cone: Divide the penalty box in half. Divide your cones in half. This can be accomplished by throwing your cones over the field and having the children get an equal number of cones in each hand. Divide the teams in half; have each team spread their cones over half of the penalty box, then switch sides. Each team gets one ball. Game starts, after a child makes a pass they may pick up one cone. First team to pick up all their cones wins.
     
    #12 lowtide, Oct 4, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  13. wiffleballhero

    wiffleballhero Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    966
    Nice drills. I suspect 'hey, that's my cone' would work well even with older kids.
     
  14. Nator

    Nator Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,712
    These are great ideas. I will give one or both of them a try tomorrow.
     
  15. Omar's Wacky Neighbor

    Omar's Wacky Neighbor Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    6,380
    Building on Lowtide: using topical or kiddie pop culture references goes a long way. Just find the hot property, and borrow names from that (one year, it was Frozen for the girls; last year, Pokemon Now; Star Wars for the boys any year that a new movie comes out.)

    I'd plug a buddy's soup-to-nuts training system, except it isn't cheap.
     

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