My first day of coaching started off, literally, in a lawn chair on the sidelines of my kid’s soccer game. The coach’s assistant, a dad of one of the kids on the field, couldn’t make the game. The coach, another dad of one of the kids on the team, needed someone to keep the time. I didn’t realize that one needed to keep time at asoccer game, but I agreed to help out. Besides, I thought it might be cool to be on the coach’s side of the field with a stopwatch, and I figured… how hard could this be?The answer to any question involving the word "should" really depends, as the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland so cleverly points out, on where we want to go. Where we want to go isn't limited to the World Cup. In fact, so few soccer players will end up playing in a World Cup, that it's hardly worth talking about.We're not focused on college scholarships either. According to ScholarshipStats.com, the odds of playing sports in college in any division are 13:1. For Division I, odds drop to 87:1. The odds of going pro are 835:1!So if we're not focused on the World Cup, college scholarships, or going pro, what are 450,000 boys and 388,000 girls playing High School sports for? Why are there over 3 Million youth soccer players in the United States?The answer is bigger than scholarships or pro opportunities. It has to do with character development, skills development, and fun. Tell me what human being is more dedicated to Character and Fun for kids than a mother or father? The skills development piece can be outsourced or learned, but the rest of what a youth coach is primarily focused on comes along with the parent title. This makes moms and dads ideally suited for coaching in the youth soccer space - with the caveat that they invest some time to understand the coaching craft. Coaching isn't something that comes without study, and the old paradigms of what a coach was when the current generation of parents grew up has evolved.Then we have the memory making benefits of coaching. Coaching provides powerful memory-making opportunities that last a lifetime.I remembered my father being assistant coach for my little league team. I know now that he wasn’t particularly good at baseball, but he was out there on the field with me, and even though I personally hated baseball, I enjoyed looking over and seeing my Dad out there with me. It made me feel good to know we were doing something together. He’ll always be there in my memory - larger than life. Playing catch with him was about the only thing I liked about baseball - and it had nothing to do with the ball or the game.Fast forward a few decades, and I’m watching my kids on the soccer field. From the coach’s side!I literally couldn't figure out how to make my cell phone countdown on a 7-minute timer, but I was coaching. My kids noticed that I was part of their world - right there in the trenches with them. Memories of my father were strong with me that day. I was giving that gift to my kids now. Pretty cool.Last season, we launched our transition academy. This is a grouping of kids who are 7 and 8 years olds. They’re transitioning from an academy style of play - where all the kids basically parallel play in a big group - to a more team structure. We introduce rules of the game, coaches, individual fields for games, scores, team Web sites… the whole nine.Our Club is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization. We’ve paid a few coaches, but our fees are so affordable to the community that we can’t afford to run the Club without volunteers.I asked for four parents to raise their hands. Four dad hands went up. I asked them to stand in a special place. They would become our new coaches - at least for the day. Then I asked for four more hands raised. a few moms and a dad raised their hands. I set them up in a slightly different position. They would be our new timers.I put all the kids in a row on a line, sorted them into four teams, matched kids with their parents,
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