Monday, October 29, 2012

Texas' motivational speech

Texas captivates his audience with a great message about working towards success!

          During our last Monday night coaching academy session, Texas (a graduate fellow or Red Shirt) delivered an amazing motivation speech about wanting success and how to work towards it. His speech told the story of a young man who wanted success very badly and sought the help of a famous guru. The guru agreed to help and told the young man to meet him at the beach at 4am the next day. The young man complied, showing up in a suit. The guru, instructed the young man to walk into the ocean until he was up to his neck in water. The guru held the young man's head under water and let him up just before he passed out. The young man, convinced the guru was crazy, was relieved to catch his breath. The guru told the young man that when he wanted success as badly as he had just wanted to breathe, then he will get it. Texas used this story to explain that wanting success is great, but without hard work, heart, utilizing your resources, and setting goals that success will remain elusive. 
          Texas shared that in order to work towards success, people must surround themselves with individuals who are already where they want to be. Many coaches nodded their heads and even said "yes!" out loud after this statement. Texas shared how many of us around the table have people who say they are there for us and supportive, but in reality are not. He pushed the coaches to find people who will help them towards success and spend time with those people. The room broke into smiles when he described inviting all of your friends over and then surprising them with a study party! 
         Towards the end of the speech, Texas moved towards a focus of Project Coach -- Goal Setting! He explained that goal setting needs to start with short term goals and "winning the day." Only by winning the day can you hope to win a month, a year, or a few years. Many coaches nodded in agreement as Texas spoke about setting small goals that lead you to success. After his speech, the whole group clapped vigorously. Then our teenage coaches split up into their home teams and discussed with their Red Shirt what resonated with them. They also worked to set new SMART goals and discuss possible obstacles. This was a very timely activity for our group since grades for the first quarter of high school close this week. Many of our coaches continued to reach out for more help academically during the week, and quite a few coaches asked for help in addition to the usual tutoring sessions. Clearly, Texas' message was well received by all! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

F Level MA Youth Soccer Training
October 21st, 2012

             On Sunday, red shirts, blue shirts, and purple shirts all came together for an excellent training on how to coach youth soccer. Starting at 9am, coaches and staff were engrossed in a review of the G level training, and on their way to starting the F level. The training was free of cost for all of us, thanks to our great partnership with MA Youth Soccer. After learning about the way to plan a successful practice, the big ideas of coaching children, and the variables we should remember when planning practices, the whole group went over to the beautiful Smith soccer fields to learn through playing. We started off with activities on dribbling, and a great 1 vs. 1 dribble tag game. Within minutes we were all taking off our jackets and sweating. Before long, we were working on coaching dribbling techniques, headers, and more exciting small sided games. When lunch finally arrived, the group was so hungry! 

          The most exciting part of the training were all of the things we took away to improve our coaching. Some that really stuck with many of us were the importance of demonstrating everything you want your players to do in slow motion, giving players as many touches on the ball as possible, and what ethics means and how ethics relates to coaching. We had a great dialogue about making hard (but correct) decisions as a coach, making sure all players have fun, and the importance of games. We also learned some great coaching points relating to tactics and coaching defense. By the end of the eight hours, everyone in the group was pretty worn out, but as Loeb Rosario said we all learned a lot! Thanks to our instructor, Evan Holmes, and MA Youth Soccer for this great opportunity! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012


            Dressed to the nines, 15 coaches and 6 adults stood outside Symphony Hall awaiting the start of an exciting night. In spite of the rain, the steps to the historic building were filled with people coming out to see a unique orchestra all the way from Puerto Rico. Thanks to our partnership with the New North Campus Coalition, Project Coach was able to invite all of our coaches and staff to attend this formal, and important, cultural event. Sharing an auditorium with incredibly talented musicians, multiple dignitaries (including the mayors of both Holyoke and Springfield), Project Coach enjoyed three hours of beautiful music. 
         During the performance, many of us exchanged whispers about how amazing the violinists were, how the vocalist gave us chills, and how inspiring it was to watch the orchestra play. During one song, Efrain (a veteran coach in our program), translated the beautifully sung Spanish lyrics to help some of us better appreciate the tragic love story being told. The peak of the performance, a rendition of the score from West Side Story, captured the history of clashing cultures and the hope of cultures coming together and living in harmony. Notably, the audience listening to this score was a magnificent mix of Springfield's many cultures, ages, and backgrounds. 
        After intermission, it was announced that tickets to this symphony guaranteed a free ticket to an upcoming classical orchestra visiting Springfield. The moment after it was announced, all of the teenage coaches looked down the line with excitement and commented that they couldn't wait to attend that one as well. As coach Efrain Lopez commented about the night, "It was like a breath of fresh air. I loved the combination of Hispanic culture and classical music." The experience certainly made an impact on all of the coaches, and PC is already scheduling the second orchestra outing.