For me, one of the highlights of coaching is seeing the ‘Light Bulb’ switch on. Seeing the kid realize that the pads actually work. That they can throw their bodies around and enjoy it, to learn to love to compete, and realize they are much tougher than they think they are…
Every season, we get a couple of kids who are a bit timid, inhibited or just down right scared of contact. We bring these kids along slowly trying to set them up for success in various drills, we encourage, praise, and do our best to motivate them to come out of their shell. Most seasons, by game 3 the light bulb clicks on, and those who can be reached are starting to throw themselves into the fray.
This season we had a lot more of those kids than usual. Kids who are pretty agile, score well on the tests in Combine, looking good in shorts, but not so much in pads, seeking to avoid contact. And, about the time we usually start seeing them come out of that shell, well, the time had come and gone. I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. We were having some serious discussions about our inability to help the kids break through.
Then last week (leading into Labor Day) one of the kids pulled the string and light bulb came on, and this week 2 more of them did, too.
Last night our next-to-littlest guy, suddenly starting flying up in run support and making audible collisions. Couple times got sent head over heels, After practice he was proudly showing off the scrape on his forearm, from one of the hits, (lost some skin, tiny bit of blood, about the size of nickel) a week ago, any bump that might have caused that “wound” would have left him on the ground writhing in agony. Last night he was grinning and talking about his ‘big hit’. Man, I love it when a kid discovers the joy of collision.
This has been a very frustrating season, so far, still got a couple more kids to bring around, but we’re finally starting to see progress.
Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?
Yep. I live for those moments.
When in doot . . . glass and oot.