Monday, September 27, 2010

First Days of Project Coach 2010-2011

I’m Angela, an undergraduate student at Smith College. This year I’ll be a Project Coach blog contributor. I was present during part of the interviewing process where over forty high school students applied to become youth coaches. Friday was the first day I was on the field, watching as the youth coaches and their graduate student supervisors led their small soccer teams of elementary school students in an array of different activities and games. The field, strewn with soccer balls, was set up with multiple small goalposts and cones. The elementary school students, from third to sixth grade, came from Springfield schools to spend a couple of hours on the field in the sun, running, shouting and playing soccer rather than staying at home. The players were broken up into smaller groups of about eight, participating in soccer related games led by their coaches who offered explanations and demonstrations on how games were played, learning to communicate with their players and offering words of encouragement. One player called Project Coaches’ co-director ‘Sam the ham’ when he introduced himself and a get to know your teammates name rhyming game ensued. The red light, green light game was enjoyed with new introductions like purple light and orange light in which players tried different drills with their soccer balls. Coaches frequently told their players to “Take a kneel!” before huddling up with their teammates or to “Hustle, hustle, hustle!” while playing a game. Parents and family members watched at the sidelines as the kids, who were wearing blue Project Coach jerseys that went down to some of the players’ knees, enjoyed the drills and games. Friday was sunny and the elementary school soccer players were grateful for the water coolers although one girl hoped that “the water is colder today.” Tired and hot, but for the most part energized and happy, one player asked his coach if his team could have more time to play once practice was over.

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