We have relatives over in Michigan who are enjoying their Memorial day weekend. Same time last year, my eight year old nephew began to play youth football. Similar to hockey here, grid-iron has its own culture and approach to playing the game. Perhaps, the vision of making the local high school team, playing for the Spartans or Wolverines against Ohio State, eventually being drafted by the Lions makes winning the number one goal. Unfortunately, his introduction to the sport was less than zero – he rarely played, despite hours and hours of dedicated practise. I know there’s more to it, but the reality is you can’t play if you don’t play.
I coach at our local soccer club, OSC – the largest in North America. They have created a long term development program from house league to rep that promotes growth in their coaches, refs, players, and parents with the skills and knowledge reflective of the beautiful game. As the club’s mission is to advance every player, the opportunities to play are extensive.
If only adults could better reflect upon how they were treated in their youth. The excitement of trying sport for the first time, getting the new uniform, making a big hit, scoring that all important goal, dropping that key pass, and so on. Some recognize this fact better than others. I was approached by a student’s grandparents after a recent skill session. They noticed how well I dealt with this group of nine year olds. In short, I replied that keeping the fun in fundamentals, the students will yearn to learn. Cliche, yes; redundant, no.
I understand that life is full of learning experiences. But, a poor start can often lead to a worse finish. Let’s remember to start off on the right foot today, and everyday.