For Crax: We gave Jarrett’s suggestion a try and shoved her in her carrier when she started being bad on Tuesday night (also happened to be 10 seconds before my alarm went off, which is 45 minutes later than usual.) And that seemed to make an impression. She hasn’t been bad at night since. (During the day… that’s another story.) Hopefully, this trend continues.
Soccer! Practice! Yay!
Practice tonight was great! After our horrible loss on Sunday (N. Korea lost worse, but not by much, we had some shots on goal), I saw that we needed to work mostly on getting open and available for routine plays in the game (goal kicks, throws and drop kicks from the keeper, throw-ins), because we lost 100% of them. We weren’t moving, we weren’t getting open, heck, we weren’t getting away from the goal fast enough to do any of these things. So, I made a suggestion to the co-captain, and she said I should just run practice since she didn’t know how to. When I said that she’s really more of the authority figure, she said that the only thing she had on me was playing with the league longer. So, I ran it.
We did a passing drill to start (note to self: a more structured one than “pass in groups of three, keep moving and overlapping” would be good for next time. Thinking: forced overlapping runs, a more formal 1-2-3 or wall pass exercise would be good.) Then, we divided into 2 groups to practice receiving and defending against goal kicks and other keeper-related activity. The getting open and moving, we did again with throw-ins, plus explaining how a throw-in works (since the other team had been called for a bad throw-in, I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t get called for it in future games.)
Finally, we scrimmaged, which was great because I could see that the “get open” practice had made some difference. I also could tell that my quad pull: still kinda bad. I played forward and marked a hurt defender (who lives about a mile from us.) We scored in the scrimmage and ended the game when the “other” team had a handball in the box. The main keeper and I (opposite teams for the play) decided it wasn’t worth playing out using cones for a goal. Plus, we were all tired and had learned a bunch after a good practice.
I gave a closing speech (after making sure we gathered around our gear instead of the middle of the field, to include all our players in it, since new ones had bowed out before and during scrimmage), just to reiterate that it was a great practice, we’d clearly learned to get open and that, by doing so, we’d make more opportunities to score by winning the ball. The basic post-practice “this is what we did, this is how it’s useful” coach talk.
I felt great, and then one of the women asked me for advice, and one asked about specific situations in the game: she was making the runs up and I didn’t pass to her, she wanted to know why. It was because she was doing such a great job winning the ball when it came near her that she was getting marked and the defender on me was cheating to this player’s side. By making the run, she was creating a vacuum of space behind her. I let her know that she was doing great, her run were spot-on, and that I totally whiffed on at least one of those occasions.
And then, on the way out, I got thanked for running practice. It was a weird feeling- I thought I was just sharing soccer drills with them, pointing out our improvement areas, and going over the basics. One said she really liked it because she has no formal soccer training, and this was fantastic to work on specific areas. I’ve gotta say, I’m really, really enjoying sharing this with other people, and loving that they love learning about this sport as much as I love sharing and talking about it.