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  • Writer's picturePaul Neville

How Does it Feel to Be Coached By Me?

That's one of the question John O'Sullivan in Every Moment Matters encourages coaches to ask their players. I didn't ask that question to this girl this past season. But it was in my head (and I am working on getting figuring out the setting in which I will ask it in the coming season). I featured this girl in my July 2020 initial post. I was writing about a tournament that took place in November 2019 - two years ago.

At that time she was a very promising player, 'playing up' on a U12 team. This Fall she was again on a U12 team but playing her age group. I still had her mostly in the same position on the field - center mid field - for the same reason as before. She is full of energy and never stops. She goes after the ball wherever it is on the field and she has good skill. But she is not very disciplined and I have a very hard time getting her to a) stay back on defense or, b) stay up as a Forward. Center midfield just kind of flows for her.

In addition to being a tremendous athlete she is fairly temperamental - doesn't like getting her way and definitely doesn't like coming out of the game for more than minute or so. Back in July 2020 I wrote about my suprise in realizing I had shown myself as a 'transactional coach' and discouraged a less develop player. I continual am doing my best to work against that. Along the way I find that a player like this is also challenging. When she is pouting about not getting her way it is easy for me to react to that and then even justify myself that I don't want to spoil her and players like her need discipline. It's true, but I also think about how young she is. On the one hand I want to be very conscious of the (so far) unasked question, 'how does it feel to be coached by me' and on the other hand I am very clear on the maxim that internally most kids have inside that they are yearning for adults to 'love me enough to set some limits'. (Love and Logic - Jim Fay). I know very well that the two thoughts are not at all in conflict. Not really. Finding the right balance, the right way to set firm limits but do it kindly and gently with great care toward the relationship - that is the challenge.

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