It turns out I’m a hard ass. No, I’m not fit, I’m just strict.

This realization has come to me very clearly as a result of starting to coach my son’s soccer team of 7 year old boys.

I make them do laps if they don’t listen or pay attention.

I make them do push-ups when they don’t focus on passing the ball during a drill and miss the person they are passing too.

I run creative and somewhat sadistic passing, dribbling and shooting drills all practice to get them to work on their basic skills.

If they ask me “can we play a game now” during practice, I tell them “not until you stop asking”. They no longer ask…

However, if I need to address the behaviour of one player in particular, I make a big point of taking them aside, and talking to them calmly. I’ve had to do this twice so far.

I have also found that I don’t like watering down the game of soccer to make it ‘easier’ for them or ‘friendlier’. No group hug with the other team before the game; no letting off of defensive zone coverage when the opposing team has a throw-in; and if I am refereeing, no slack on calling plays down for hand balls or bad throw ins for either team.

I have found that I very strongly believe in teaching them to play soccer correctly. I also feel very strongly about soccer being a competitive, team sport. I have also discovered that I know an awful lot about soccer and the rules of soccer. Thanks mom and dad for keeping me in soccer when I was a kid. Thanks also to my many coaches, who if I remember correctly, felt the same way about this sport as I do.

Consistent + equitable = hard ass