Clearly I either have a poor memory or am a total glutton for punishment.
Anyways, despite my initial apprehension everything has been going fairly well thus far. Our “main” coach actually knows what he is doing and for the most part is at every practice and game, save for this past Friday where I would be coaching solo.
I thought to myself “no problem”! It’s just a game, all I need to do is call lines for an hour and go home. Right?!
So its last friday night and we are playing the other undefeated team in the league. Keep in mind this is U11 and not the NBA but the kids were jazzed about this since we have been doing really well thus far this season. And being the uber-competitive-but-trying-not-to-show-it coach that I am, I give my “It’s all about having fun and playing hard” speech right before show time.
Anyways, 7:40pm rolls around and the game is about to begin and we have 8 players which makes life simple for me for line calling since we play 4 on 4. Yay for simple! I got this!
But at the very last minute the 9th player shows up. Harumph!
It’s not the end of the world but it does complicate my line calling and everyone wants to get on the court a lot and is bugging me constantly about who is going out when and now almost everyone is going to have to sit two shifts in a row so that the lines will all balance out.
I tell all the kids about how the subs will work so noone feels like they are being benched or “punished” for not playing well. Equal-ish playing time is the mantra with an odd number of players. Now let’s cheer and go play a good game. I can do this coaching thing I think!
So, first shift out and one of the kids complains of stomach cramps. I tell (shout at) him to stick it out for a few more minutes til the end of the shift which he does. Awesome! Yay me! Such a supportive coach!
Same crampy kid, second shift out hurts his finger and comes off mid shift crying. Yet another shift later and the same kid is still complaining of cramps on the bench and his sore finger and isn’t playing very hard, or well for that matter. Maybe it’s the cramps, maybe not. But again, this is U11 and everyone plays with as much equal playing time as possible and I encourage him to “battle through” and get ready to play.
Fast forward to the last shift of the game. The game is tied 32-32 with 5 mins to go. Exciting! I should also add that the opposing teams coach was being a tad douchey during the game and I was feeling the fire to want to win this game.
I call three players onto the court and need to make a decision about the fourth. Two players have both been sitting off last shift and I need to put one last player on the court.
My choices are:
a) crampy kid or
b) Another kid who HAS been playing well and trying hard and has not complained about various ailments all game long
What would YOU do in this situation?
All things being equal you would assess the players and you’d put on the kid who has been playing well and trying hard right?!
And that’s what I did.
But what if the crampy kid was YOUR kid and he completely LOSES HIS SH*T because his mom did not choose him to go out onto the court and proceeds to have a EPIC tantrum for the next 5 minutes about how unfair it was that he wasn’t chosen and that he “WANTS A SHIFT!!!” while you are trying to coach the end of this close game and you have 8 other players counting on you and a lot of judgey parental eyes watching you.
Anyways, the point of all of this is that coaching is hard, parenting is HARDER and combining the two is downright IMPOSSIBLE at times.
(Did I mention we won the game 38-36 in the end?)