Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Project Coach is back in full swing!

By Anna Bartolini, 2010 Project Coach Fellow

After an exciting few weeks of recruiting, interviewing, and training, we are finally out on the field doing what we do best: coaching! having fun! playing soccer! staying active! It certainly feels good to see Project Coach in motion again—from the smiles on the elementary kids’ faces, to the determination of our new set of high school coaches, things are falling into place.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the Fall 2010 season:

Project Coach Soccer underway in the North En d
Recruiting: Project coach must recruit from two angles. First, we need to recruit motivated high-school teens to work as coaches for our elementary students. We recruit through the Springfield schools (teachers and guidance counselors make recommendations), our veteran coaches help spread the word, and we post flyers. Second, we need to recruit a whole bunch of excited kids to come out and play! This part is not so hard, and we have successfully expanded our program to serve 90 kids this year!

Interviewing: All of our high school coaches go through a rigorous interview process. Over 80 applicants came out this year! After a few rounds of ice-breakers, group interviews, and mock scenarios, we narrowed down the field to a group of 21 extremely energetic and qualified teens.

Training: Each of our 21 coaches participated in an intensive pre-season training. The coaches learned all about communication, professionalism, and most importantly, the games that are the staple of our Games-Based approach to sports. Coaches were each given the chance to run a mock practice session—we even video taped their performances in order to really hone their individual skills as coaches.

Coaching: Last week, our 90 players, 21 coaches, 7 Red Shirts, and a handful of others took to the field! Within no time, our new coaches had kids rounded up in the huddle, learning names and building team spirit. Coaches then led the kids through a series of fun soccer games and scrimmages to practice dribbling, passing and general ball movement. After Wednesday’s and Friday’s sessions, it was apparent that Project Coach Fall 2010 is going to be a great season.

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