Family, Health and wellbeing, Melbourne, Opinion, Parenting, Writing

An evening in the deep end

Many of you already know that I coach netball. The squad of sixteen girls, including Our Girl, means that I look after two teams (7 players on court during a match) each Saturday morning, school holidays aside. I played netball for many, many years so I know the sport very well, and am passionate about building each player’s skill level and the camaraderie of team sports .

About a two weeks ago, though, I was asked to step in and coach a training session for T1’s soccer team. If I’d said no, training would be cancelled for that evening. Gah! Cue jangled nerves, titanic nausea. Looking after a group of 11-12-year-old girls, most of whom I know very well, is quite different to guiding fifteen 14-year-old boys in training, particularly when I know nothing about the sport. OK, maybe I’m aware of a few rules—like not using your hands, unless you’re the GK and…well…that’s about it. That stupid offside rule has been explained to me about one hundred times and I still don’t get it. Perhaps it’s me that is stupid πŸ™‚

Anyway, I stepped up. I believe in team sports, and that doing something is better than nothing. The fitness-based drills I use in netball training transfer easily from sport to sport. Many of the passing drills I use also transfer quite well. And that’s what I did. A warm-up of a jog around the park, a fitness drill with running, squats, push-ups and sit-ups, then a passing drill. Then I handed over to the boys for a practice game comprising the last half hour of the session.

I didn’t tell T1 I was stepping in as coach until we were in the car, on the way there. I figured he probably wouldn’t throw himself out of a moving vehicle, but if we were home he might refuse to go. He coped just fine; I tried really hard not to embarrass him. But one kid said something disgusting during one of the drills, trying to be funny, and I pulled him up on it. Then I made the entire team jog around the park again (coz team sports, ya know?). Once they were all back, I gave them all a bit of a telling-off, and got back into it. I’m no pushover, and if I’m running a show the least I expect is to be listened to, and not have sexist comments made within my hearing. Basic respect, kiddos.

The session went alright. It wasn’t fun, I felt way out of my depth. Most of the boys were nice; some even thanked me at the end of the session, unprompted by their parent. T1 was quiet in the car, but I got him talking and he was fine by the time we got home.

But I’ll be sticking to netball, in case anyone’s wondering.

13 thoughts on “An evening in the deep end”

    1. Thanks Gary. It wasn’t too bad. T1 copped some teasing by some of the newer team members, saying they felt sorry for him because his mum’s so annoying. I was pretty sad about that for him, but like I said, we talked on the way home and he was fine. I also had one parent stay the entire session for moral support. I found out after training that she was actually supposed to be at a birthday party, but had quickly shot off a text to say she’d be late.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a lovely gesture on the part of the other parent. It was good to read how you reacted calmly and appropriately to poor language.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I am so glad you heard that little shit say something inappropriate and made the whole team do laps to let them all know that that sort of behaviour is not right. I really would have also told his parents but I guess that T1 would have melted. I am happy you did the coaching and now have a new level of confidence in yourself. Bravo Linda x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did say I’d tell his parents but he’s new to the squad so I haven’t met them yet. I passed it up the chain in the club though and the proper coaches also spoke about respect the next session. It wasn’t just about that comment either, apparently there was a lot of anti-semitic talk during the practice match that I had no idea about. Different kid too! Honestly, I don’t get any of that crap with my netballers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a great outcome. Boys have loud mouths and don’t care. Girls can be more sneaky and snarky.
        Linda – She takes no crap, takes no prisoners.
        You are the best x

        Liked by 1 person

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