Oh, the joys of modern technology. Momma bought us a new camera for Christmas last year, a lovely thing with all sorts of tricks. We've come up with some pretty cool pictures of the boys playing soccer. We haven't gotten any good derby pictures yet because I suck at trying to do that sort of thing. I haven't figured out how to jump up and down and take pictures at derby bouts, and I just don't have time as I stalk the touch line during soccer games.
Momma discovered the lovely feature that allows you to hold the button down and take a series of pictures. That's how you get over four hundred pictures of a U10 game. It's also how I've learned my team's real need. Nearly every picture seems to be a group of my team, clustered together, kicking like hell at the ball. And I set up our most recent practice based on those pictures.
I need them to learn position, but I also need them to understand the idea of the team as a whole. One of the things I did was sort of interesting in a not-sure-if-it-made-any-impression-at-all sort of way, but it might possibly have seemed to at least been a good prelude to the practice. I had the team form a circle, each boy standing far enough from the team mate on either side so that they could then hold up a ball between them. I was on the outside and would move around, take steps backward, move side to side, and have the team move toward me. The goal was to move together without dropping any balls. I had to keep an eye on them and try to keep their hands on the sides, as the random hand would slip under the ball making it entirely too easy.
Whether or not they learned anything, this was really fun and hard to do. It was interesting to note that, more often than not, they never lost their soccer balls all at once, but several times, the one dropped ball would lead to at least two or three more if not all of them.
Next I made them crazy by almost scrimmaging. I tried my best to force them to walk, and I was constantly stopping play to point out their position and where they should be. It's always fun to tell a bunch of eight and nine year olds that they need to stop bunching like grandma's underwear. Every time I stopped play I would explain what I wanted from them and would then yell, "POSITION" by which I meant for them all to retreat to their respective ends of the field at which point I would restart play by passing the ball randomly into the field and yell, "WALK" because I really did want them to walk. They didn't, but I kept them slow enough so that I could yell things like YELLOW SHIRT, YOU JUST STOLE THE BALL FROM YOUR TEAM MATE and he would have time to think and process that info. Of course this would be when I once again called for the ball and yelled POSITION, and we started all over again.
It might have worked. When I turned them loose to actually scrimmage, they might have looked better. I've got good kids who can play the game; I just have to make them a team of good kids who can play the game and stay somewhat in position.
And in the picture, that is Big Brother with the ball, as if I'd show you the picture where he's goal keeping by sticking his butt out.