This week is all about PATIENCE. PATIENCE is something that not only the children need to learn but that we as adults need to also practice on a daily basis.
PATIENCE is defined as the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper or irritation; an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. This is an amazing way to describe PATIENCE, mostly because if we look closely, it totally describes how we as coaches need to be with our kids at all times.
PATIENCE is definitely not something that comes naturally to our kids. They are very young and it something that can be hard to do even as adults. We just need to explain to our kids how being patient and waiting our turn can yield great results. By being patient we can show kindness by letting someone else have the ball first and by being patient we can share the joy of being a team and letting everyone have their turn.
PATIENCE it is not an easy word to emulate for any of us but the more we show these kids PATIENCE the more they will respect, listen, and enjoy Soccer Shots.
This week’s word of the day is COMMITMENT. This was a new word for me and I really like it. I also like how important this word is to our kids and how COMMITMENT can impact them for the future.
COMMITMENT is defined as a promise to do or give something; a promise to be loyal to someone or something; the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something. I wrote all these definitions down because they are all a different and unique perspective at looking at COMMITMENT. Each week that our kids show up to soccer they are making a COMMITMENT. Each week we show up to coach we are also showing COMMITMENT. We want to show our kids how committed we are to them by making Soccer Shots as enjoyable as possible.
Having the children understand COMMITMENT is very important. That is why I feel that as coaches we need to really show them how committed we are. The first day that we show up to do Soccer Shots at a school, we have made a promise to the children that we are here and that we will be there to support them going forward. We don’t want to break that promise and not be there for them if we can help it, even if it comes down to another coach coaching them instead, we still want to make sure we are showing how committed we are as a team and as a brand. We want each child we coach to walk away feeling special and knowing that we care and that is all about committing ourselves one hundred percent to all that we do.
As coaches at Soccer Shots, we spend countless hours a day, influencing young minds. We remind them to keep their bodies safe, to respect friends and toys, and to ask for help when they need it. In fact, when I am on the field, “I can’t do it…” is one of my least favorite things to hear, and I immediately respond with, ” let’s try one more time together,” or “you can say… I need help, please.”
When I heard about Robin Williams’ passing yesterday, as an educator, and a counselor, I couldn’t help but think to myself… What happened? At what age does asking for help go out of style? What makes it so difficult to have hard conversations? How do we prevent these things from happening…?
Some of my favorite characters crossed my mind a hundred times. Genie in Aladdin, Lovelace in Happy Feet, Mrs. Doubtfire, Patch Adams, Jack, Alan Parrish in Jumanji (even though I was terrified of that movie for quite some time), Professor Phillip Brainard in Flubber, Peter Pan in Hook, John Keating in Dead Poet’s Society, Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting… the list goes on and on.
Working with kids, we are consistently modeling the behavior we want to see from them. If we want them to dribble their soccer ball, we dribble with them. If we want them to sit criss-cross applesauce, we sit with them.
At age 3 and 4, a seemingly hard conversation might start with, “you have short hair, are you a boy or a girl?” Or, “that bug isn’t moving anymore, what happened to it?” But, as mentors, coaches, educators, friends, and parents, we have to have the hard conversations. We have to model this behavior too, so that at some point, kids (who become adults) don’t shy away from these conversations.
Here are some tips for having hard conversations with kids:
1. Listen and acknowledge. Recognize feelings, and provide reassurance or comfort if needed.
2. Ask and answer questions without judgement. Find out what your child thinks or already knows. Try to stay openminded.
3. Be honest. Know yourself. Take time to think of a response if needed. Follow through, make a point to revisit the conversation if you say you need time.
4. Explain simply. Tailor your response to the child’s age and developmental level.
5. Keep the lines of communication open. Provide encouragement to come back and talk more if needed.
“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Robin Williams as Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting
If you, or someone you know, needs help or even just someone to talk to, know that there are always options.
SHARING is a word that most of our kids know. Whether they like to share is another thing all together but this is one word they all should know.
SHARING is defined as to participate in, use, enjoy, or experience jointly or in turns. This perfectly describes what we do in soccer. We are constantly talking to the kids about how we are SHARING our soccer balls and how we should share our things with others.
I like that during this season, SHARING is paired with Passing and Trapping. In other seasons, Passing is paired with Teamwork, which is another great word, but Passing in soccer really is SHARING. It is easy to show the kids SHARING just by having them pass the ball to us or to the other kids. Kids may have a hard time when it comes to SHARING. It isn’t easy for them to share the soccer balls, to wait their turn to kick a goal or to share the cones or other items when we ask them to clean up. It is innate for us as humans to want to keep things for ourselves and not give anything to anyone else, but learning to share is important. It is important because it is how we learn to co-exist and help each other.
We want to make sure that we are showing them as much as possible how we can share anything we have with us at soccer and reward our friends who are SHARING by letting them shoot a goal first and pick out their sticker at the end of class first, this way everyone can see how that SHARING is a great and fun thing to do.
The word we are talking about in many of this week’s classes is HONESTY. I love this word because of how important it is to our kids. Teaching our kids to be truthful and honest in all they do is teaching them how to be ethical and fair, which will be needed in adulthood
HONESTY is defined as fairness and straightforwardness of conduct as well as adherence to the facts. I like this definition because it is clear-cut and makes sense, but to a child it may be a little wordy, so we can just say: tell the truth. Saying to tell the truth is easy but how do we show them what that means? We like to use small examples ofHONESTY; such as saying our shirt is green when it is green or saying a student’s name correctly, etc. These examples get part of the point across but we need to also explain to them what being dishonest does.
Explaining lying can be hard and making sure the kids truly understand it is tougher. Plus, the younger they are, the harder it will be. Make it simple. Telling them a story always helps. There are many different stories you can tell, for example: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” We just need to make sure that the story reminds them that telling the truth is important but also that the story doesn’t scare them.
HONESTY is also about trust. We want to make sure that our kids know that Soccer Shots is a safe place and that they can trust us no matter what. HONESTY with our kids is very important and showing them we are true to our word and presenting ourselves in the same way every time is crucial to showing them who we are and that they can trust us.