I wound up being the coach for C2’s Pre-K/K soccer team this season. I have never coached a sport nor do I have much experience with pre-K kids beyond being a babysitter when I was younger and a parent of one now. But, I’ve learned a lot over the span of the season, and I’ve wound up having fun, in spite of being stressed about it.
So, I thought I would share some things I have learned as the coach of a Pre-K/K soccer team. I feel like lots of these things could be applicable to other areas of life, and dealing with people of other ages, too.
- Make everything a game. The activities the kids love the most are the ones that feel like games. Their favorites have been red light/green light, freeze tag and simon says, all played with the soccer ball.
- Give out lots of high fives and “good jobs”. The only way to keep them going through an entire practice is to encourage them when they are doing something good.
- Don’t be afraid to take a break. We take at least one break in a 30 minute practice, but often we take 2 or 3. Their attention span only lasts so long, so when they start to fade, we take a break and it’s usually better after that.
- Try to talk to them about things outside of just playing. We have had lots of conversations about teamwork and how everyone has to do their best to make the team strong as well as the importance of listening. I figure even if they don’t keep playing soccer, they will be able to take these lessons with them. I try to have a focus for each practice outside of the game itself.
- Have a team cheer. It amazes me how excited these kids get to do their team cheer – which is just put your hands in, 1-2-3-Go team! Their faces light up and they are so happy when it is time to do our cheer.
While I think being coach may have caused C2 not to want to play as much (I feel like he tells me “no” when he wouldn’t tell another adult “no”), it has still been fun and it’s been great to watch the kids’ skills progress. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still herding a group of kids around the ball, but they have started to learn some foundational skills. I won’t miss being up early on Saturdays to do a soccer game when we finish in a couple of weeks, but I will miss the kiddos that I’ve gotten to play with the last couple of months.