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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Soccer Practice



He's officially in soccer now. I had very mixed emotions during his first practice and I realized suddenly that I had expectations. Danny was the sweetest player out there, he allowed the other boys to take his soccer ball, even though he wasn't supposed to. There was a little boy who didn't want to play who was crying and Danny kept going up to him and telling him it was okay and patting him on the back. He ran his little heart out the minute we arrived, kicking his little soccer ball all over the field and not once using his hands. A proud mama moment!

Then...
He kept calling the coach 'mummie', "Mummie, can I go over there?", "Mummie, can I get a drink?" It was sweet that he was asking but he wasn't listening to his Coach Mummie. She would give instructions and Danny would be thinking or doing something else. I don't know why I expected him to get it the first time, that's when I realized that I had expectations that weren't coming to fruition.

I will have to work with him about what she was trying to teach him, the poor coach was overwhelmed and she's a volunteer. I want him to listen and follow directions, it seems it will be something that is built up instead of instantaneous. I had to keep telling myself that this is for fun, if he doesn't get it- it's okay as long as he's having fun and to let the coach worry about teaching him.

Dh wasn't able to attend the practice with us due to a meeting, I don't know if my presence on the field is actually helpful for Danny or not. He kept looking back at me instead of listening. Sigh. I have mixed emotions about the whole charade, I want to be there so that I can see him doing this but then again, I don't want to be there feeling like I did yesterday. After practice, I went up to the overwhelmed coach and told her that this is Danny's first organized activity. I didn't want to say aloud that Danny hasn't been to preschool or been in a school setting. It was obvious to me that the other children had been and they understood what it meant to listen to the teacher.

For the first time, I felt a little embarrassed to say that we're homeschoolers. Danny hasn't technically been homeschooled yet, so I didn't want his lack of school experience (at home or elsewhere) to reflect what a homeschooler's lifestyle is like. It's completely silly, I know. I'll talk to the coach in private about Danny's lack of organized experience and explain that we'll be starting preschool at home soon. Until then, I'm going to work on my own perspective of this whole affair, sheesh.

Soccer is just his first sports activity, as any parent, I want him to do well but most of all I want him to have fun. It's going to be a learning experience for all of us. We hope after soccer season ends that both children will be able to participate in karate.

 

6 comments:

Linders said...

Jessica, I feel for you and wanted to offer a couple of things.

Homeschooled or public-schooled, organized sports for young kids is a pure trial for parents. I wouldn't do it at all if it weren't for the fact that all their friends are tied up there. I've learned that I just need to accept that it is a social run-around time, not real sports. I have learned to bite my lip as one DS does somersaults on the field in the middle of the game "to celebrate good kicks" and the other DS (playing goalie) was more interested in catching crickets, faling to notice the ball headed his way.

Second, while my DS are doing wonderfully with homeschooling, I do notice at soccer and swim lessons and Cub Scouts that they aren't as ready as many of the other kids to focus on the coach/teacher or even do the "everybody line up" thing. I've been trying to use a visual cue a bit - when I see them looking at me instead of the coach/teacher, I point at my eyes then at the teacher to remind them who should have their attention. It does help (although it seems to surprise them - they seem to think I am the person who deserves their attention).

Just sit back on a blanket, laugh with the other parents, and let him be a 4-year-old. Kick a ball around at home if you want, but really, Danny will do fine. Okay, maybe he isn't destined for pro soccer, but that isn't a bad thing:).

Linda

weinstock4jc said...

We are a homeschool family and we participate in soccer, t ball and baseball.
There were some children Danny's age on my son's soccer team last year.
One preschooled girl cried most of the games because she didn't want to participate. My son, was one of the oldest (5y/o at the time )and he didn't try very much at all to score goals. He also frequently left the field for a drink.
I just read a new book called *Boys Should Be Boys*. In the book Dr. Meg Meeker is not a huge fan of organized sports for young children.
Myself, I could take it or leave it. My husband would rather take it so we do it. :)
I wouldn't worry much about what you're describing.
I remember children on my eldest son's soccer team back when they were three. One in particular paid no attention at all at age 3, 4, and 5 and now at age nine he is an all star player.
I haven't seen any difference it's made in children being preschooled or not.
I do think that young children have more fun just playing outside with friends.
I'm not saying you are doing the wrong thing. Only you know your own son.
My 9 y/o son also have difficulty taking the ball from fellow players and he is too polite on the soccer field.
I would just relax and take a few photos. They're wonderful to have in the years to come.

Jennifer said...

Jessica-

Try to just sit back and smile - he's young and he's having fun, and that's all that really matters in the long run. Of course, that is easy for me to say - it wasn't so easy for me to do. When my son played soccer at 4yo, he was more interested in following the white line around the field, digging with his cleats, and rolling down a nearby hill. He loved practices, but did not like games because "everyone takes the ball away from me." I had a hard time watching him fool around while other kids played their hearts out... but that's just my little guy! He was in preschool at the time, so I don't think homeschool/preschool really makes the difference. If you feel better making a distinction, say "He was in preschool, but we've decided to try homeschooling him this year." As it turned out, my little guy didn't play soccer after the two seasons in FL. We moved north and he got into ice skating instead, but he still (almost 4 years later) has fond memories of soccer, and no matter what my feelings were at that time, I am thrilled that HE remembers the time fondly!
-Jennifer

Anonymous said...

I'll give you another perspective to the other posters BUT I will say the same thing they have.

As a teenager I coached kids soccer. Really at that age that is what they do even if they have been to pre-school/nursery. Trust me he'll get what he is supposed to be doing.

Tell the coach that you are working with him on his listening ears and that you really appreciate what she is doing. Parents can be a pest in organised sport. You aren't. The pest parents are the "You must always win" parents. You simply want your son to participate and to listen to the coach. If you can give her some pointers on what works with your kid she will appreciate it. You know him best.

Next time it will be another child who is distracted by that nice sand pile at the goal (building sandcastles), needing the bathroom in the middle of a game and not waiting to be subbed (funniest thing ever when you don't have a goalie because he has run off to mummy to go to the bathroom) or the one who spots a train/a really cool truck etc.

Did he seem to enjoy it? If the answer is yes then let him continue and just keep doing what you are doing.

Z

barrellfullofmonkeys said...

Oh, we went thru this about three years ago!! Enjoy this time, he'll enjoy it more, and he will pick up what he needs from it. Our middle boy (just turned four at the time) could almost never even get close to the ball. He wasn't that phased by it, but he was able to run and run and run, which was what he needed!! At the second to last game, he actually reached the ball first and kicked it! He stopped, turned toward me, and started screaming while jumping up and down "Mom!!! I kicked it!!! I kicked it!!!" He didn't care a whip that he could have kept going with it. The best part? His coach was right behind him doing the same thing, giving him high fives and praising his progress. THAT was a great preschool coach :) He still has good memories from the experience.

The next "sport" we did was karate. It was much easier for him since he was responsible for just himself , no one running after him or anything ;) He's asking to take more karate this fall.

Enjoy little Danny, he's doing just what a four year old little boy does.

Kathy D.

mom24 said...

Such great advice above! I hope that you are encouraged by it. It is always a little nerve-wracking to take our hs kids into a different environment. Danny's behavior looks totally normal though. When I put J into karate last spring, I went through the same thing. He didn't focus well on another teacher and always looked over at me - EVERY time the teacher talked to him! He is adjusting well and I know that Danny will too. It will be a great place for him to run, learn and explore something different!

Blessings,
Andrea