I coach my son’s 1st grade Futsal team with the Montclair United Soccer league.
Futsal is a five-on-five game, played indoors with a size 3 soccer ball on a basketball court. The ball is a little heavier than a standard soccer ball, so it bounces less and moves quicker.
The goal of Futsal is to improve a young player’s skill set, and reinforces dribbling, passing, accuracy and overall footwork.
I’m the coach of Team G (or Big Green as I like to call them), with Coach Anthony, a parent of one of the players. Our team has eleven players, six boys and five girls, and they come ready to play each week.
We lost our first game, 5-2, and I chalked it up to first-game jitters. The girls stood in place. Several of the boys used their hands. My son was slide-tackling every other player on the opposite team. We were, in a word, horrible.
Don’t get me wrong, the kids had a ball. Everyone got a chance to play, we scored a few goals, but from a coach’s perspective, our game play left much to be desired.
Last Saturday, in our second game against Team E, I wasn’t trying to swallow the bitter pill of defeat – again.
So I came up with a simple strategy to focus my players on the task at hand.
My strategy? Attack.
If the ball comes near you – ATTACK!
If a player on the other team has the ball – ATTACK!
You see a loose ball near the goal – ATTACK!
Don’t stand around and watch the player on the other team kick the ball – ATTACK!
All game long, I was running up and down the sidelines yelling “ATTACK THE BALL!”
The parents (and kids) laughed hysterically at this wild-eyed dread in the Polo tracksuit yelling like a nut at their children and siblings.
But you know what? It worked.
We won that game, 7 to 4.
The girls, who just stood around in Game 1, stood around less. (Hey, it takes time for my coaching to kick in).
The boys, were all over the ball. Sometimes they got a shin (guard), but most of the time, they struck leather.
Loose balls shuddered whenever Team G was around.
We’ve got a game tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. You know what I’m going to tell my players? ATTACK!
If they learn nothing from playing Futsal this season, they’ll learn that their coach is a total loon AND the importance of ‘ATTACK!’