I think the thing I have found most exciting about coaching is, growth. Watching the players change, get better, grow. When we started this season in February some players had talent, some had little talent. In the past two months the change in all of them is noticeable, very noticeable in others. It adds another dimension to the game, watching them do things, right or wrong, but knowing that it was something we had worked on. I’m seeing the same thing with the kids team (under 12’s) I coach. Just not as noticeable since we only get to practice twice a week for an hour. There really isn’t time for them to learn something new and get comfortable with it, but I can see them growing. Even though they loose a game I’m proud of them for demonstrating how they have learned something new and used it on the field. That doesn’t make me very useful at the end of the game when the players are disappointed about losing and I’ve got a smile on my face cause I saw how hard they tried. In my mind they won the important game. They grew.
At their last game the Girls team was down 2-1 with 3 minutes to play. The final score was 2-2. They didn’t give up, they knew they could score, and because of all the hard work they put in during the pre-season, running the hills and all the suicides, they had the fitness to finish the match strong. In past seasons they hadn’t run nearly as much we made them, this bit of information came from them. So this increased amount of work and expectation was new for them. I heard no complaints. In fact, I had players show up for practice asking, “Are we running hill today?”, with a gleam of excitement in their eye. Not only were they ready for the work, some of them were looking forward to it. I can see this commitment paying off. They did the running in the pre-season and now, at the end of a game, they are still going strong. The obstacle of fitness is not in their way. They may not have the talent of some of the teams we play but they have the fitness to be in the game the whole time.