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The Accidental Soccer Mom

If Coach Phil ever leaves, I’m afraid so will we. My daughter loves his soccer class and this makes me realize just how much a coach or a teacher really means. My daughter – at 3 - is motivated by him to do her best. By best I don’t mean she is World Cup ready, but she is doing 3 out of the 10 things he asks. She wants to go to class each week. And for these achievements I yell GOAL!

I have to say, she has really good taste. Coach Phil is fun, British, enthusiastic and has the patience of a rock and skin of a rock - thick enough not to bruise after a full body slam by a 36 pounder over eagerly chasing the ball with much less grace than a Jack Russell terrier. He's the anti-Sue Sylvester for those of you who watch Glee. (<3) He has neither bullhorn nor shiny silver whistle of power.

He doesn't even use sarcasm. Where was this kind of coach when I was young?

When I was growing up, sports were taught by alpha males in thigh high tube socks who thought that by yelling long and hard enough we’d be driven to run one minute miles by the end of 3rd grade. It was winning above all. Praise only went to the fastest, meanest, and those who didn't cringe during teather ball. Teachers/Coaches would pick two pre-pubescent popular alpha males to lead two teams and they’d get to pick their players. I was always second to last. Thankfully I wasn’t wearing glasses yet at that age. And I always played far, far, left field – near the anthill and behind the left outfielder and the far left outfielder. We had a big class and I was the last line of defense in case an 8 year old hit that ball a quarter of a mile.

Also what is the point of yelling “go faster” at someone if they’re already going as fast as they can? I’m competitive, just not in sports. When you’re as marginally passable in something as I am in sports, it’s not about winning, it’s about learning skills and getting exercise in a fun way. Even more, it's about not being embarassed. In my daughter's class you'd never hear "Suck it up Princess. When the pain goes away it will stop hurting" or other similar gems.

A recent-ish study by the University of Alberta found that a person’s lifelong attitude towards physical activity could be determined by either a good or bad early experience with a coach or P.E. teacher.

I was the high schooler getting out of P.E. with the doctor’s note. I gave up on sports until I was 29 and I discovered fencing - well beyond the age I could attend weekend morning training sessions without a hangover. Then I gave up all sports again when I got pregnant. Coach O from Biscayne Elementary School I remember you well.

At this rate my daughter just may be ready for the World Cup someday. She looks forward to soccer each week. She pays attention. There is something to be said for positive reinforcement

It’s a great way to learn soccer especially considering that even the world’s absolute best soccer players can achieve only one goal in a game.

Now that’s about making goals and reaching them

For more information about our soccer class look up Soccer Tots. The program has different times and (indoor, air-conditioned) locations. There are different coaches, but I am told they all have the same kind of training and similar technique. I believe you can take one class for free to try it out, but I am not 100% sure. I am sure they'll tell you when you call.