Zach’s team tied their game the other night.
And we celebrated!!
Yes, we celebrated a tie! It was a 1-1 tie, no less.
This was the first non-loss all season. They have come to expect losing. Big losses. Like 11-0, or 7-1. Crushing, defeating, big losses.
This is especially tough because Josh’s team is always a “winning” team. Even if they lose, it’s not a big deal because it is an anomaly. Zach has always been supportive of Josh, celebrating with him, but I can imagine it is hard.
It’s hard for me! It breaks my heart when I see them work so hard, and come out broken and defeated. Yes, losing teaches you a lot about “real life”, but maybe not so many “real life lessons” are needed for 12 year olds?!?!
About two weeks ago I sat at yet another crushing game. The score was about 8-0 when another parent said to me, “Maybe our boys just don’t have what it takes. Maybe they just aren’t good enough.”
Well, maybe that is what he wants to think about his kid, but not mine!!
For sure, there are some kids who perhaps should not be playing at this level of soccer. But, there are a lot of good kids.
My take on it was different.
I replied to this parent, “No, they just need some leadership. They need to be taught. They need to be supported. They need to be encouraged. They need to be coached differently.”
That night, the coach quit.
And we celebrated by going to get milkshakes.
I’m a big believer in respect for everyone, but I’m not a big believer in blindly following someone simply because of their role and authoritative status. As much as I have encouraged Zach to listen to his coach, I have also taught the lesson “sometimes people are in your life so you can learn how you don’t want to be in the future.”
I was not a fan of this coach at all. ‘Personality disorder’ is the first thing I think of when I think of him. However, Zach has respected him, put up with him, endured him, and bit his tongue around him for 2 years.
It was time to celebrate him leaving, so we did.
A new coach was brought in the next day.
He has worked with the same team for 2 weeks.
Last week, the team lost, but the score was close.
This week they tied.
(Next game, they win)
The kids are more confident, they are more positive, they are playing better, they are understanding better, and yet, they are still the same kids.
The difference is the coach and the coaching.
Zach told me the other morning, “You know Mom, this coach is like in the movies and on TV. You know, the kind of coach that you want to listen to and have a conversation with.”
Josh has had this kind of coach for 2 years, and what a difference it makes.
This got me to thinking of “coaches” in real life.
I am a coach to each of my five kids. If a coach makes that much difference to a soccer team, imagine the difference a coach makes in real life.
When my kids are not performing well, or are feeling defeated and beaten down, is there something that I can do to help them more?
I work with many young adults (especially young men) following a head injury. They often have so many issues, and so many challenges – and many of these challenges existed before their injuries. Their parents often look to the team to “make their kid right”. Our goal, however, is to try to get someone back to their pre-existing life. Parents often get upset, and I am often so tempted to say to them, “What you want me to do now was your job years ago.” Ouch.
Yes, kids can be messed up. Yes, kids can be rotten. Yes, kids have their own free agency to make their own choices and we, as parents, can not make those choices for them.
But, we do have the responsibility to assess our coaching every once in a while (ok, often) and see what is working. If our team is always losing, and always defeated, maybe there is something that we can be doing differently in how we are coaching. Maybe we need to coach more, or coach less, or ask for the assistant to step in, or give more encouragement, or give more guidance.
Maybe our same child can do a bit better with a different kind of coaching.
Because the coach really does make all the difference.
Side note: We won our next game last night! I’m telling you – the coach makes the difference!!!