Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Toy Soldiers Arrive at Project Coach!

The journey began with Andy Wood walking into Toys R Us (a place he swears he hasn’t been in a long time…) in search of toy soldiers. Why toy soldiers? Because that is what the coaches at Project Coach were using to learn about their plays and strategies. As I walked over to one group of coaches, I ask them why their little soldiers (who were actually toy firefighters and policemen) were set up in a circular formation, and not in a typical play formation. Coaches Richie Colon and Gabriela Rodriguez arranged this particular set up of small men and as I sent down, I asked them to explain it to me.

“There are in a huddle,” Richie explains. He continues, “Huddles are how coaches and players get to know each other, everyone gets to know everyone else’s names”. And in this particular exercise, the coaches lead the huddle by asking their players to describe their role model to the rest of the group. I ask them why discovering who the kids’ role models are is important, especially when it is being asked in a sports team huddle. Gabriela pauses, looks up at the ceiling, and tells me, “That’s a hard question!” After a few more minutes of consideration, she has an answer for me. “If a person they look up to is positive, it is good that the kids want to be more like them”. I ask her why it is important that the coaches know who the models are and she says, “As their coach, the athletes will automatically look up to us and so it is good to know who the kids look up to, and know what traits they admire, so we can make sure we do our best to people that are good role models for them and coaches they can connect to”.

Other tables of coaches had their miniature men set up in play formations, ready for action, as they discussed different plays and different scenarios.

Then everyone moved into the gym and the coaches took turns explaining their applied skill games and suddenly the toy firefighters and policemen became teens executing plays.

By Marie Wallace

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