Children First, Self Second.

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.25.43 PMScreen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.26.21 PMToday was the beginning of a new Softball Season in Long County. What’s crazy is that we have the talent, but every year we fail to capitalize, because “Toxic” coaches somehow infiltrate the system and forget why it is they coach, the Children.

Last year, somehow the teams were stacked with all the experienced and seasoned players on one team and the players that have never played the game on the other. Although we never beat the experienced and seasoned team, there is one thing I can say about our girls, they improved every time we played. They never improved. Our last game versus this team we almost won, but a bad call by them umpire changed the outcome of that game. At the end of the season, that coach felt he was entitled to coach the All-Star Team because of the 2 teams we had in the 10U age group, he had the most wins. Of course, since we had a new Recreation Director, he let it go. This year, that is not going to happen. During evaluations, we did grade hard, but that was our whole goal, to evaluate. We were not to coach, we are to do that once we get our team together.

We have the talent, but the parents feel that they know more than the coaches. That’s a big reason why I chose to coach this year. I gave our coaching staff last year a hard time and I felt that I could do a better job, so I will see. During the regular season, it wasn’t bad, because the coaches kept the children first, but during the All-Star portion of the season the coach all of sudden expected that the kids could coach themselves. Every practice was wasted and not used to teach or didn’t have a focus. We played 4 All-Star games and lost every single one. Our worst lost was 38-9. Instead of making adjustments, the coach just rolled with what he had. The problem just so happened to be between 2nd and 3rd Base, players from his original team. Every team we played capitalized off of that and hit into that gap almost every time at bat.

It wasn’t until our last game in the bottom of the 2nd inning, a parent with a wealth of experience made a change himself. Yes, he destroyed the power-base of the All-Star coach, but how do you think the kids felt when they were being beat 31-1? I’m glad this parent made the change, because we started to see positive results. I felt so bad for the kids. We had the talent, but if you don’t practice the right way, it’s not all of a sudden going to happen because you wish for it to happen. Not once did the All-Star coach say anything positive about the girls play, all he did was point out their mistakes. If you are down by a significant margin in the bottom of the 1st inning and you don’t make any changes, how is it the children’s fault?Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.27.55 PM

My goal this year is to teach the fundamentals of the game and mold each of my players into All-Stars, so when it does come down to it, it will make my decision difficult. I really believe that if we had a coach that cared about the kids last year, we could have made a lot of noise, but we embarrassed a lot parents and children. Some were so embarrassed that they are now stating that they will never play in this county again. What kind of example are you setting if all you do is point out the bad in what a child does? As a child, I know that I hated it. How about my hustle? How about my RBI or my sacrifice fly in order to put a point on the board? I’m sure that the kids don’t look that deep into the game, but me being the coach needs to pull out the positive and come up with a game plan to rid the team of all the negative plays.

Today, I saw a lot of new faces and a couple of old. Hopefully, once we get our program on the right track, the players that have gone abroad to play will eventually migrate back here. When it comes to coaching, I can be very emotional, especially if I feel that my kids aren’t being treated fairly (I feel they are my own children during that 60 minutes I have to spend with them, during practice and on game day). After the evaluations today, I see a lot of positive coming out of this program this year. The picture in this post, some people ask me why I keep it? I keep it as a reminder, it’s not about me, it’s about the children. The picture is a result of looking out for self instead of them. We will get this program back on track and will finally have parents knocking and kicking at the door to keep their kids here.

 

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So as most of you already know that the soccer season for our county is done. Our All-Star Team played their hearts out. Though we lost, it was a win for our kids. The reason I say it was a win for our kids is because this is the first time that our county has EVER had a soccer All-Star Team. I told the kids that NO ONE can take that away from them. They were the 1st set of kids to do it, if you think about it, they made history. The team we played was against a neighboring county. The awkward thing about it is that the kids on that team, our All-Star Head Coach, coaches 7 of the 12 kids on a traveling team.

We were already at a disadvantage, but our kids didn’t care. The kids took every practice serious and learned a lot. I know I did. I’m going to take some his coaching points and add my own little touch to make it my own. He won’t be coaching next year, so if I get a good set of kids, we can do it big! Just kidding, I really believe that if you are playing any sport at the recreation level the focus needs to be on fundamentals. Once they have mastered the fundamentals, then that puts them a couple of steps ahead of other kids when and if they decide to play in middle school or even high school. Next year, I plan on coming up with my own version of  “The Process” something similar to what Coach Nick Saban has. You can hate him all you want, but he knows how to win. That’s what type of coach I want to be. I want to be able to take an inexperienced player and by the end of the of the season that player has made a 180 degree turn around, because he has mastered the fundamentals and has worked on the small things.

If I remember correctly, I think it was in maybe my 3rd or 4th posts I said that I was 33 and I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. The reason I said that is because I hadn’t found my niche or found anything that I was passionate about. Now that has changed. I want to Coach, not just Coach, but teach individuals how to be better. I hope that doesn’t sound weird to anyone. Whenever I am Coaching, I have no worries and I am not thinking about anything else but the kids that are in front of me. It makes me feel pretty good to have a kid come up to you after the season is over and say to you, Coach Thank You for taking the time to teach me, I know that you volunteered and didn’t have to do it. You took the time out to teach us. I’ve mentioned this once before, that having a parent say Thank You for Coaching their child who had never played a sport in their life and now they are passionate about that sport and they want to play next year, but they only want to play if you are Coaching. It is pretty rewarding.

Last week I ate lunch with my girls. On Monday I ate with one, Tuesday I ate with the other then on Friday I ate with them both. On those three days that I was at the school, I had kids I had never ever seen or talked to walking up to me saying Hi Coach Jared. It felt kind of weird, but of course I returned the greeting. I think it is crazy when my daughters come home from school and they tell me that their friends are asking when is your dad coming back? They get mad, because their friends aren’t supposed to like their dad. On several occasions I’ve been told by the faculty that I would be a great substitute, but I think they were trying to subliminally plant that seed in my head, because I went to the board of education and asked for an application. I don’t know what it is, I think I do pretty well with children, even though I don’t like watching or interacting with other people’s kids during my free time. When I’m coaching that’s different, but if those same kids asked if they could come to my house, I would say NO!

Also, the principal said it would be a “shock and awe” moment for the children to see a male sub, because they usually treat the women any kind of way. It feels good to finally have something that I am passionate about. Before anyone makes any crude or stupid remarks, I like to teach children, not touch them. I’m no pedophile. I have A VERY STRONG HATE for those individuals. I felt the need to say that because I know there is an immature individual out there that is either thinking it or is brave enough to post a stupid-ass remark of that sort. Its crazy that I even have to mention that, because of the immaturity of a lot of so-called adults in today’s society. Now that I have found my passion, I am going to continue to do it and seriously get into it; get all required certifications to coach on different levels. I don’t even care if I were paid or not. My goal is to set a good example and do my best to have a positive impact on a child’s life for the better. Who knows, maybe I’ll coach the next Michael Jordan or Abby Wambach.

 

#ROLLDAMNTIDE!

 

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八十四

Today was very busy. I can’t wait to win this tournament so we can go to state! We have been practicing our pants off. Tomorrow is our last day of practice, so it’s going to be a little intense, just to get the heart rate up, a lot of stretching and going over the very basic skills of the game. Some of the kids are so ready to play, that they making mistakes that they usually wouldn’t make.

So let me tell you how smart I was on Monday, Tuesday and today. The Head Coaches son is really good, he’s short, but quick, he can put his foot on the ball, it’s crazy how he makes it look too easy. On Monday, at the end of practice he says to me, “Coach Jared, can you help me with something?” I said, “Sure, what’s up?” He says, 1 v 1. I said What? He wanted to play a game of 1 on 1. Like the smart and intelligent man that I am I said lets do it. He scores on me, gives me the ball, takes it and scores a goal. That happened 3 times. After that, I said I’m done. At this point there are 3 kids in the wings waiting for their turn to go one on one with Coach Jared. I have had to schedule the Coach Jared 1 on 1’s  before and after practice. My own kids make fun of me when I fall or the ball gets taken away from me. I tell them everyday, that I’m old and broken, but they are kids, they don’t care, all they want to do is play soccer. So I fight through the pain and play. It feel good to actually be active again.

The first day we started practicing, the kids really didn’t know what I was doing on the field. A lot of them only knew me as being the Head Coach of The Tide. So I really didn’t say anything, I just helped set up drills, take pictures and grab jackets for the kids if the want them. Now that has all changed. The first day I didn’t take my cleats. Once they saw me with cleats and gear to play, I started to earn their trust. Now everybody always asks me if they are doing the correct drill or kicking it right. I know to you may say, “What’s so special about that?” If you ever get the chance to take a group of kids, that have the skill to play, and your job is to bring it out of them. That is a great feeling.

Overall, I think that we will do well, but if we don’t win, me and the Head Coach explained to the kids not to worry about it. He told them that they are making history, because Long County has never played in an All-Star Tournament. This is their first Soccer All-Star Team. They can say that they were the first to do it and they have some cool jerseys to wear. I’m proud of my girls for taking soccer serious. Now I have the Coaching bug. After we finish the tournament then we have to start basketball season. I will be coaching the 9-10 girls and my girls are going to play. From one busy sport to another.

Those that know me, know that I suck at basketball, but I can coach it. I know how to teach defense, offense, the proper way to shoot and all the other fundamentals of the game. If I have a  question, I will be asking you guys. A lot of you may not know it, but the girls appreciate the support and wish that all of you could see them play in person. I will be sure to take video and great pictures of the game so I can share with you guys.

#ROLLDAMNTIDE

*Note: I want to apologize for the quality of the pictures, I was using my iPhone. Next time I will my camera.

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Since I have taken the backseat to be the Assistant Coach for the Long County All-Star Soccer team, I have learned a lot from the Head Coach. If your team loses, it’s not their fault that they lost. They were only doing what they were taught to do and they played exactly how they practiced. At the end of the regular season, my team did not win 1 single game. I will be the one who takes all the responsibility for an unsuccessful season, if you want to look at it as Wins/Loses; my players were only doing what I taught them. I had certain players that would only show up for game time. They didn’t feel the need to practice. So if we had a specific plan on how we are going to play that day, those players are not on the same sheet as the rest of the team, but I can truthfully say is that I didn’t have a choice. The reason I say that I didn’t have a choice was because it was my players that had experience playing soccer that decided that they didn’t want to show up; but playing for the Recreation Department, you have to be fair and everyone has to be given the right to play. Now that we are going to start our All-Star team push, all that is thrown in the wind.

The fair participation rule doesn’t apply on the All-Star team. If you don’t show that you want to contribute to the team, you can easily be replaced by an Alternate. Before I recommended my girls for the All-Star team, I asked myself and also talked to my wife if I was being fair. She told me that I was the Head Coach and if I felt that they had a chance to compete and contribute to being apart of the All-Star team, then it shouldn’t be a problem, because at the end of the day, I was the Head Coach. Another reason that helped with my decision was the Head Coach for the All-Star team wanted my daughters to play, though it was their first year playing serious soccer. They played when they were 4 & 5 years of age, but at that age, they aren’t really playing for a winner. They want all the players to get a chance to play and have fun. That’s the approach I took as a Head Coach this year. All I cared about was that my players gave me 100% and they had fun. If the players felt they gave 100% and the game was fun for them, then I said I accomplished my goal.

Now looking back on it, I wish I would have taken it a little more serious. I was thinking that no one is getting paid for this so why not let the kids have fun, right? The 3 Coaches of the U12 teams came together and submitted who we thought were the best players on our teams. So again, I asked myself, do I think my girls were better than other players on the team? I can truthfully say yes, because they never gave up and gave 110% every time they stepped on the soccer field. With my 2 daughters on the All-Star team, they are at a disadvantage, because they are smaller and weigh a lot less than some of the players on the All-Star team and that will be the same as we prepare to play other counties. Now that they are on the All-Star team, they are around a group of kids that love playing soccer and they know how to play the game. Being the Assistant Coach, I am able to work specifically with both of my daughters and make sure they understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.

At the end of day, I’m glad that I recommended the girls for the All-Star team, because they are around other good players and they are being taught the right fundamentals of the game. Yes, you can say that I did show a little favoritism, but it’s for their own good, because the Head Coach is focusing on the fundamentals. I know that they might not get the chance to start, but the Head Coach has told me that he would rather have a player that needs help polishing their fundamentals, rather than a player that has it set in his/her mind that the way they were taught to play the game is the right way or are willing to let something else other than school, take second place. Once you are recommended, the player and the parent sign a contract saying that they are willing to adhere to whatever the Head Coach deems necessary. The girls have a lot of potential and they not only practice on the days they are set to practice, but they go out of there way to make sure whatever we went over that day or in a previous practice; to make sure they can do what is asked if them, of course this is done after all their homework is done or during the weekend.

What sucks about our first tournament, it is single elimination. I think we will do fine with the talented players we have. Whether we win our first game or lose it, the girls and the rest of the players on the team are making history. How, you ask? This is the first year that Long County has put a Soccer All-Star team together. There has always  been a spot for them, but since Long County didn’t have a strong soccer program, they never filled that slot. Now hopefully the players that live in this county will stop going to neighboring counties to play and will see that Long County is finally taking the soccer program serious and hopefully this will keep the good players playing in their own county. I always thought that there was a “recipe” to win, but there isn’t. There isn’t a special drill that will make your players winners overnight. It’s all about fundamentals and how the players are coached. One thing that I can say that I took from the Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban is “The Process.”

I know that I’ve already talked about The Process in one of my earlier posts, so I will briefly remind those who already know what it is and briefly explain it to those that don’t. In its most basic form, the Process is Nick Saban’s term for concentrating on the steps to success rather than worrying about the end result. Instead of thinking about the scoreboard, think about dominating the man on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage. Instead of thinking about a conference title, think about finishing a ninth rep in the weight room. Instead of thinking about graduating, think about writing a great paper for Intro to Psych. Pretty much all he is saying is worry about the little things and not so much on the end result, because if you are making sure that you do your job and make sure you’ve done all the little things the end result will be what everyone as a team wants and that is success.

3 BCS Titles in 4 Years keep-calm-and-roll-damn-tide-2