1) I realized how much effort comes along with the planning, organizing, and actually practicing with young kids. So, I have gained a newfound appreciation for the work my parents did as coaches, and – particularly – my Dad who did it for at least 15 years.
2) I did not realize that in coaching my 5-year old son, when he hears me praising other kids, he suddenly wants (and needs) reassurance himself. I’m not sure when I will need to sit him down and explain to him that I am his coach as well as his Dad, and he needs to realize that when I praise others, I am not critiquing him. I’m thinking that time is now, but I’m not sure he will understand that concept.
3) I realized how to win every game by a landslide by teaching the kids to play long ball so that they can bypass the “herd of 5 year olds” that usually happens in this age group. The drill will involve my assistant coach or me standing near the goal while players come in twos. One kicks the ball forward and they race past me to score. With what I saw last Saturday, we’d score at least 10 goals a game this way.
4) Somehow, I have to turn off “win” mode because AYSO (rightfully so) is designed to teach and to have fun (particularly at this age). The way I did this in our first game was to clap for the other team when they scored as well. I will confess that I am well aware that I clapped more for our team. Ahem.
5) I did not realize how fun it is to teach young kids how to play soccer.