Organized Sports – How young is too young?

Baby is growing up so fast. Being new to the community, we thought it would be fun to get her involved in an organized sport. We found a soccer club in our local newspaper and DH quickly signed Baby up online. As quickly as she was registered, back came an email asking for parent volunteers to coach the teams. I was not surprised when my husband said it would be something he would like to try, and we entered the realm of soccer season.

There was a preliminary coaches meeting for DH before the “season” actually started. He received a team roster and uniforms for each child, but to my amazement, he didn’t receive any structured plan on how to coach the children. As a two time dad and uncle he certainly has plenty of kid experience, but not so much in the actual organized coaching arena. Then again, we are talking about a team of six (all about five years old), so how organized was it really expected to be?

graco-soccer-11For kids at this age, it’s all about fun and games and learning some basic skills and the rules of the game along the way. DH concentrates on keeping the kids engaged and having fun, rather than focusing on formal drill type activities. Fellow blogger, David, has coached similar youngsters in the past, so he was quick to lend a few tips too which were very appreciated. At practice, Baby’s new favorite game is Ouch!, followed by Freeze Tag at a close second. She likes to participate but also gets upset quickly because she doesn’t get that she has to fight for the ball.  She has to learn about the game and try and take it back when someone takes it from her.

Saturday was her first game and I really wasn’t sure what to expect, so I just hoped for the best. What I got was, ummmm…not the best. Some tears, but mostly a bunch of whiny “I don’t want to’s. What’s a mom to do (besides of course, have flashbacks of her own short lived soccer career)? Do you force a child to finish what they start? Do you let them quit? Or do you see if you can send them over to Matthew’s house?

graco-soccer2In the end, I chose to try and bribe her with everything from Chuck E Cheese to going to the pool just let her sit out the game until she was ready to go back in and play.  In the end, Baby did get out on the field to randomly play at times, but still didn’t make it to the end of the game (and we sooo did not go to Chuck E Cheese’s mind you). I have no idea what Baby’s reaction will be on Tuesday afternoon when she needs to get ready and go to practice, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. If any experienced soccer parents have any advice to pass on to me, or DH too for that matter, we are all ears. We could always meet at Chuck E Cheese to discuss. :-)

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3 Responses to “Organized Sports – How young is too young?”

  1. Tina September 14, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    Oh Karen,
    Your blog takes me back to my coaching days with Josh and Zach. Josh was “all out” competition from 4 years old on. Zach, on the other hand when old enough to play, enjoyed practices, but not the games. Because our teams played on Saturday mornings, I didn’t always have enough players to make up a whole team. I remember one morning when Zach DID NOT want to play and unless he played, the team would have to “forfeit” (I know, what does a 5 year old know about that!!) So, I picked up Zach, placed him on the field and asked him to stand there. He did not move. I even had to go pick him up at the end of the first quarter and bring him back to the sideline. It ended up that he did get more involved in the game as time went on, but for new players, we considered the game a BEEHIVE. All the little bumblebees buzzing around the ball. I’ll have to see if I have any fun games written up from my coaching career and email them to you for Joe. I learned a lot by attending a soccer camp for coaches hosted by our Soccer League. I’m sure if you do a search for soccer learning games you can find a lot. Hope Baby doesn’t give you a hard time for practice. Love ya,

  2. Kim @ What's That Smell? September 14, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    My son plays football at age 5. Full-on tackle football. I’ve never seen a group of kindergarteners and first graders so organized. It’s kind of creepy!

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