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#101745 - 08/15/16 04:22 AM new coach.....lots of questions
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
Although I have a ton of questions I'll just do a couple at a time after a short intro.
I'm coaching my daughters U13 team this year basically because no one else would. Yay me!!! My daughter is 10 and loves the sport. She's played since she was 4 and plays spring, fall, and indoor winter rec leagues every year. She's pretty decent and plays with her head by thinking ahead of other players. She's not fast but she's super aggressive.....I mean really really aggressive. She plays legal but she plays hard and leans towards bumping people over finesse.
So I get a mass text with all the parents from her team last week that we have no coach. Season starts in 2 weeks. I waited a couple days to reply because surely others know far more than I do about the game. No replies so I volunteered to do it.
Question 1: Where can I print a diagram showing positions? Watching her previous teams it's apparent that the kids don't know where they're supposed to be. I know the positions but want to print handouts for the kids to have so when I say left midfield they know where I'm talking about.
Question 2: I've spent the last few days reading on formations. No idea what would work best for me. We haven't even practiced yet so I have no idea what type of players I have but watching her teams over the years tells me I'll have maybe 3 players that can actually play. I see a lot of people liking the 3-3-1 but was reading tonight about 2-1-2-2 being better for lower level players. How much thought should I put into what formation to run?
My plan right now is to spend the lions share of practices working on corner kicks and throw ins and setting up shots on goal. I figure quite a bit of time will be spent on holding positions and not bunching up because I see that every year with these kids. There will be some fundamentals in practice but with only 6 practices before our first game I want them to have a good idea of what to do in game time situations.
Any tips or help you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated. I'm excited for the challenge and look forward to spending more time with my daughter playing the sport she loves so much. I may not be the most knowledgeable coach out there but I can learn and will do what I can to help these kids win.

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#101747 - 08/15/16 11:53 AM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
tblack Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 39
Here's my two cents and I'm not an expert by any means. Just do a Google search for the diagram. I've never coached 8v8, but I think having three levels (backs, mids, forwards) is simpler to understand than four. Whether that's a 3-3-1 or 3-2-2, I don't think that's critical. Usually for U13 teams, you've moved on to more tactics and less skills to some degree. However for a rec team, I'd suggest doing just the opposite. I'd spend more time on skills (dribbling, passing, shielding, etc.) all under pressure. The chances that anyone scores off a corner/free kick is slim, so personally I think there is more benefit to working on skills that all players will use during the game than set plays that will be 50/50 most times.

Sounds like this is a team where most of the girls are playing for fun, so that needs to be the focus. Make the drills into mini-games that everyone is participating. Minimize the standing in lines. Keep them moving. Have fun yourself. Bravo for stepping up.

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#101748 - 08/15/16 12:38 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
thanks for the reply and advice....found the diagrams. My thinking on corner kicks was to get them at least to have shots on goal from corners. I know last spring we had a ton of corners and very few would ever end up as a shot on goal. That was my thinking as far as why I wanted to spend a lot of time on those. Not necessarily a direct shot from a corner kick but at least winning possession and getting a shot from that. Throw ins are kind of in that same category. It's something you see a lot of during games so I wanted to try and make those a focus so we didn't lose possession and maybe get more shots on goal.
This is all new and I'm sure things will change as I learn from my mistakes...just looking for some starting points.

I know drills are important and teach basic ball handling skills so there will be time spent on those. My plan is to divide the team and field in half. Half the field will be for drills and the other half for game situation practices. I'll rotate them throughout the practice so everyone gets to do everything and being in smaller groups will help manage them and make practices move faster.

Not sure I'm even cut out for coaching but didn't seem like there were many other options this time around. My daughter would've been heart broken if something happened and she couldn't play this fall.

2 years ago...she's #8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZROm-Lysv0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0HEdPBgk2Q

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#101749 - 08/15/16 09:13 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
first practice this afternoon. Went ok. I learned some things already. I need to slow my roll and go a little slower on things. Felt like I was cramming them too much. There is a sense of urgency on my part because we only get 5 more practices before our first game. I'll get it and the kids got some work done today. Next practice is Wed. weather permitting and I'm really hoping we don't have to call any off for weather. Rain I can handle....thunderstorms not so much and we've been in that pattern lately.

Substitutions....no idea how to go about doing those where we keep a competitive edge. Should I sub frequently to keep fresh legs on the field or should I sub less frequent to keep better players in position longer?

Also....how do I coach positions in such a limited time when kids will be rotating through them? It doesn't feel like I have enough time to show each kid every positions responsibilities so what do I do there?

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#101750 - 08/16/16 10:44 AM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
Tom Mura Offline

enthusiast

Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 226
Loc: Overland Park
Orion,

I've covered many of the topics you're asking about on our weekly podcast at coachingsoccerweekly.com. I think you'll find a lot of information that you'll find useful.

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#101754 - 08/17/16 10:08 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
Thanks Tom....not really a podcast person but I did find some of your stuff on youtube that I've watched and have used a few things from that already.
Had our 2nd practice today. Starting to get the hang of it a little bit I think. Set them in positions and had a scrimmage just to get an idea of how they're going to do in a game. Walked through the field pointing out things to them as we went. Have quite a few areas to work on but overall I think we'll be ready for our first game in 2 weeks. We don't have the time to go over each single thing over and over to make it automatic but we will at least touch on the roughest areas several times. I was kind of surprised really how well they stayed in position and how well the defensive players were doing. I want to win but will be happy to just field a competitive team.

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#101778 - 08/22/16 09:26 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
Few more practices in the books. There's a ton of fluctuation in how these kids play. Some days I leave practice thinking we got in some good work and some days it was like I dropped a ball in a flock of chickens. Just running everywhere with no purpose. I'm hoping when the games start next week the first group shows up.

I pretty well have my "A" roster figured out. I need to figure out how to mix them with the B's and how often to sub. I'm thinking of giving myself the best chance to score early and hopefully get a lead then move my most physical ball control people to defense and stopper to try and hold the lead.

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#101809 - 08/27/16 01:35 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
coachkev Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 5331
Loc: UK
Orion,
The single biggest lesson you will need to learn is that Kids are the EXPERTS at Games where we once were, we have grown up and think as adults.

Think of practice where 3 C's are your goal:
CHALLENGE = Kids love challenges and NOT rules & conditions
COMPETITION = "Who Can do This the best?" / 1v1 / team v team
CONSISTENCY = Always remind players of THEIR standards

Simple Specific and brief dialogue and watch THEM show you what they can do!
i.e.
Hide what you want by giving them a focus which WILL need what you are REALLY after.
Naive coaches that want to see faster play and players not getting caught in possession...
No "one touch passing or two touch passing", instead "You have the challenge to complete three one touch passes before any goal counts".

In this way, the players focus on trying to complete the 3 one touch passes but even if they complete two one touch passes and then take an extra touch then they STILL continue but know they still face the challenge of completing the passes.
They dont stand around sticking their backsides out trying to shield the ball from opponents, they just carry on like they would in a game.

And the bonus is that the team speed of play WILL increase and very rarely will they get caught in possession so everyone wins!

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#101831 - 08/30/16 09:49 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
Thanks for the advice. Had our first game. Lost 6-2. That may seem bad on first look but it wasn't as bad as you might think. We played one of the league presidents 2 teams which, as you might expect, have a bunch of good players.
I had a plan going in to save my best goalie for later in the game and that proved to be a mistake. We gave up 5 goals in the first half. The silver lining is we outscored them 2-1 in the second half.
Kids started out pretty rough in general but settled in for the 2nd half. We certainly have things to work on next practice but there's also some positives to take from the game and I want to make sure I point those out.
We stayed onside while catching them offside a few times with our D pushed up. We played very physical but had no roughing penalties. We only had 1 penalty the whole game....a holding penalty.
We really have to work on getting our offense up field together for more shots on goal. That was a real problem. Our mids were getting stuck in the middle of the field and couldn't keep up with the fwd when he would drive to the goal resulting in him having no one to pass the ball. I tried moving him around in the midfield but pretty much the same result. He would be up field taking on their D by himself. He had 7 shots on goal and scored both of our goals. I had one other player with a legit shot on goal that made it to the goalie. We have to fix that. I'm not sure whether to try and fix it by slowing him down and passing the ball around earlier or what. He's just much faster than anyone else we have on the team.
I also have to work on doing subs. It was very overwhelming and several times during the game I had no idea who was where or when they were sub'd in. I'll be purchasing a dry erase board for the next game and see if I can't keep track of that better. I had a sub plan going in but very quickly learned that it wasn't going to work.


Edited by 0rion (08/30/16 09:53 PM)

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#101832 - 08/31/16 08:31 AM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
tblack Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 39
I'm with you on the subs. I have to make a spreadsheet that tells me where everyone is playing and when they sub in. Then I have the alarm on my watch set to go off 1 min before they sub in (so I can get them ready) and then when they are supposed to go in. Sounds complicated but it isn't bad and it works for me. Otherwise I'd probably leave my starters in the whole half and forget to sub. Keep it up. The best thing you have going is enthusiasm and the kids will feed off that. Good luck.

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#101839 - 09/01/16 06:02 AM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
I had my subs planned out and had them all written down on paper and when they went in. I spent several days planning that out and went through 764 pieces of paper doing it and redoing it over and over. Finally had it set up where I liked the groupings and thought it was the most balanced we could get. What I wasn't planning for was 5 minutes into the game about 3 kids yelling over that they were tired already. That threw a wrench in my notepad right off the bat. I sub'd in early and not where I wanted to sub and from that point on my notepad meant absolutely nothing.
The dry erase board I think will help. At least I can keep track of them better. Still not sure how I'm going to sub to keep the right players in positions I want them to be in. I only have 4 subs so I'm limited as to how much I can do that. At some point I'm just going to have people in places I don't want. I don't see a way around that.

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#101944 - 09/09/16 06:26 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
coachkev Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 5331
Loc: UK
Orion,
Try the WHAT IF concept...

What you do before a game is to go over EVERY situation you can think of that might occur in the match and then write them down on the left side of an A4 size piece of paper.
Then on the right you write down the solution/s to that What If.
i.e.
What If........................................Solution

- My striker is injured.....................Play X or promote Y
- The wind is against us first half......Play Plan B
etc...
Then, if they DO occur, you dont need to panic as you've prepared for this occurring.

Playing players out of position is all about selling the idea to the player...."The team needs a great player to play X and I'm convinced that you are the best I have to do that role - what about it?"

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#101947 - 09/10/16 01:21 AM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
we had another game Wed. Got stomped pretty bad (8-0) by a team that really wasn't very good. I'm learning a lot as we go. Last game I learned these kids aren't nearly as invested in winning as I am. Took quite a bit of wind out of my sails really. Going to be a long season I think. This may be my 1 and only season as a coach.
The dry erase made things run much smoother on the sideline. The problem I had mostly was kids that just didn't want to play. Everyone wants to play defense. I'm guessing the running is too much for them up front. I have 2 kids that would play the entire game in any position but the rest are constantly asking to be sub'd out if they're midfield and then asking to go back in on defense. Frustrating.
I was so excited going into the season and thought we would be able to be competitive with teams. Finding out the hard way that isn't the case.
We practice Monday then games Tue. and Wed. We're going to all spend the first few minutes of practice having a talk and see if we can't sort out a few issues of where and when people play. Either they're there to play and try and win or they're not. If they're comfortable with 8-0 losses then I'm not the right coach for them because I'm not.

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#101951 - 09/10/16 06:49 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
coachkev Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 5331
Loc: UK
Orion,
If you go into a restaurant and order a meal, would you blame the waiter if the meal was horrible??......no you would blame the Chef - the person who cooked the meal.

They're 12 years old for Christs sake....
When you look at matches in terms of performances instead of winning and losing, THEN maybe you will make it enjoyable for your players.

You are probably right about it being your one and only season as a coach. Yes... you CARE of course, but unless you 'get it' that its about the PLAYERS, then you cannot engage with them in the way that they respond to what you want to see.

Winning is the residue of Hard Work, the application of learned skills towards a focused target and that includes the coach seeing if there is another way to communicate with players so they provide the necessary feedback and response from any decisions made.

I would hate to guess what your players responses to you as their coach at the moment if you asked them whether they wanted you as their coach, if you consider a majority of them of not wanting to play - maybe they DO want to play but not necessarily under you.

Most experienced coaches have all been through similar situations in their early careers as coaches - they have felt exactly the same as you but have found that when they consciously adapted their thinking so that the players were the focus, so did their positive experience of coaching.....and the teams win ratio climbing.

Obviously you don't have to take on board the contents of this post - its only my opinion.....but I offer it for no other reason than to help you from going crazy!!

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#101955 - 09/11/16 11:39 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
you assume because I vent here that I would say any of this to a kid. Of course I realize they're kids and would never say anything that made them feel like a failure. I focus on positives and things they did right while showing them things we can all do as a team to improve. I do however hold them responsible for their own effort. If you're not putting forth the effort you're making the rest of your team pick up your slack. Wanting to sit back on defense the whole game is not trying to win a game....it's being selfish and letting everyone else put in the work to score goals. Would I say that to them? No, but that doesn't make it any less true. I will figure out a way to get the message across that it takes a team effort to win games.

The hardest part of this entire thing is because they're rec league kids. Several of those kids should not be playing soccer period. They can't kick the ball. At 12 years old you should be able to kick a ball. They've had no basic skills taught to them. My 3 year old son can kick better than 2 of my players and he has a better grasp on how the game is played. What do you do with kids like that? I put them out there and spend extra time in practice with them on basic skills, such as kicking a ball, but during a game they're completely outmatched by 99% of the kids on the field.

At the end of the day this will be my 1 and only season coaching. Not because the team loses but because it's took away some of the enjoyment I've had over the years watching my daughter play. I don't do this stuff for me....I do it for her and it's been "our" thing since she was 4. It's better if I just go back to that so me and her can get as much enjoyment out of this as possible while she's still young. I thought this would make it better so we could enjoy it together as a team but that isn't the case. I spend far too much time trying to figure out how to teach a 10 year to kick a ball or how to motivate someone else's kid enough to want to hustle and play hard for 1 hour a week.

and ps
the waiter certainly gets the blame.....you've obviously never worked in a restaurant. laugh

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#101976 - 09/13/16 06:09 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
coachkev Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 5331
Loc: UK
Watching your kid is whole world away from coaching your own kid.
Having done both I can fully understand how it can screw up your passion.

Oh, and IF I were a waiter in THOSE restaurants then any customer blaming ME for the crap food would be given the name of the Chef so they could take it up with THEM laugh

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#101977 - 09/13/16 08:40 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
I would be fine if I had a field full of my own kids. My daughter plays her guts out. Another game down.....lost 9-0 today.
We practiced Monday. I spent a good portion doing a walk through with them and showing them how to stay in position and how to work the ball down the field as a team passing (which is tough to do when very few passes are on target). I then did 4v4 offense against defense over and over stopping practice and showing people when they were out of position. Worked on passing quite a bit trying to give them the feel of making the pass and accepting the pass.
Today during the game it was like I had said nothing about it to them at all. Almost every kid I have is a 1 kick and done and it doesn't matter which way they're pointing when they kick. They just kick it once as hard as they can whichever direction they're pointing and stand there. I really think most of it is the lack of basic skills that's killing them and now they're at a level where they don't have that cushion to learn them. Parents don't want to practice more than once or twice a week. I was having 3 a week starting out and by Friday I would have 4 kids there. These kids just don't have the time to learn all they need to learn in one season.
I think for the spring season coming up I'm going to move my daughter to select or a travel team where she'll have real coaches and kids that share the same drive to play well.

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#102063 - 09/20/16 12:59 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
jrSoccer Offline
stranger

Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 1
Chin up, my friend. I currently find myself in the exact same position. I agreed to take on a team of kids whose parents were frustrated with rec coaches and their kids wanted to be more serious soccer players, but they weren't sure they wanted to make a step up to the expense of club teams. So, I now have a bunch of u12 boys who can't kick, can't pass, and can barely remember to kick off after a goal is scored. Many of them are good athletes and will eventually make decent players but right now it's like having more physically mature u-6 players.

Really early on I identified that I was going to have to break these kids down and go all the way back rudimentary skills before I could expect much. I've spent 8-weeks re-teaching dribbling, kicking, and basic positioning. We've played 4 games and we've been outscored 38-2, and yet, I actually think they're starting to get it. I've had to work really hard to re-assure the kids, the parents, and myself that this is a long term process and the results will come. I liken it to reading, you don't give a 1st grader Harry Potter and you don't give a 6th grader War and Peace.

I'll admit, this is tough to process as a coach, but when I start critically evaluating their game performance I can see that the kids are starting to handle the ball better, their passes actually look intentional (instead of kicking in the right direction), and I can tell I'm starting to make a dent in their playing level. I think you'll find that when you start to ignore the results and the expectation of better tactics, you'll also find that you are making progress with your kids.

Hang in there brother, you're doing fine, just focus on teaching the skills and sooner or later they'll jump up and surprise you with a result.

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#102067 - 09/20/16 05:48 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
coachkev Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 5331
Loc: UK
Kids just want to PLAY....results are what adults are consumed by.
When I became a grandfatehr, I began to learn HOW to be in a childs world again.

When a coach suddenly realises that playing IS the goal for kids and that performing is what ALL kids are capable of, then THATS the moment when they will be able to engage in a developmental way with their players.

So, its about challenging them to show you what they are capable of and NOT what YOU want to see....CHALLENGE >> COMPETITION >> CONSISTENCY.

Results will only start to emerge when you have consistency of purpose....allow them to have YOUR way!!

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#102068 - 09/20/16 11:43 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
Had a game tonight....lost 13-1 laugh

There have been some positives the last couple of games and practices. I no longer care about the score. I've just accepted there's a really good chance we won't win a game all season and most likely will lose them all in grand fashion haha. I'm focusing more on just teaching these kids the basics and letting them have fun. We spent a big chunk of practice this week just on throw ins and keeping feet down. Were losing a lot of possessions on those. Now I just have to show them not to throw directly to the opposing team. laugh
I've simplified my subs so that most can stay in the same position. I think that's helping them out some at least with what their roles are.
I'm still trying to get them to stop just kicking the ball 1 time and actually start dribbling and looking for passing opportunities. Today's game I did see a few attempts at that and while unsuccessful there was at least effort to do so.
The team we played today was a good team. It's all the "A" players in the league so going in I knew it was going to be bad. I congratulated my kids on playing hard all the way up to the final whistle and not giving up or turning on one another during the game. It's hard to go out and lose....much harder than winning and their drive and effort shows character.
All in all it was a good game....as good as losing 13-1 can be. My daughter scored our lone goal so we had that moment together. It was late in the game when she scored and I yelled to the kids "we've cracked the seal....just need 12 more". Kids and parents alike all started laughing which was a good moment. laugh
I still have no intentions of ever coaching again but I'm going to make the best out of our last 5 games and just see what we can do.

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#102121 - 10/01/16 06:15 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
getting closer.....lost our last game 2-1. Huge improvement over how we've been playing. I took the team out for milkshakes and we had a good time. I had a parent come up to me and thank me for coaching and said their kid loved playing this year and was having fun. That's all that really matters. I would love to get these guys a win so they can have that feeling. Gonna be tough to do...we only have 2 games left and both are against good teams. Disappointing that they won't get that feeling of walking off the field after a win this season. That's one of the reasons we did milkshakes after the 2-1 loss....in my mind's eye that's a victory for us just due to the improvement made. Hopefully we can build off that. We had 13 shots on goal that game from 4 different players.....just needed a couple more to slip in there and that could've been the one.

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#102122 - 10/01/16 08:12 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
Willy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/05/01
Posts: 2568
Loc: Washington DC Area
You need to hang in there and the wins will come in due time.

Many years ago, I agreed to take over a girls rec team for a short period of time. I only cared about development, fun, etc. For the first three or four games they could not even score a goal let alone win. On the following game, as doubt started to creep into my head, they defended an attack very well and six one-touch passes later the ball was in the back of the net for their first goal of the season!!
_________________________
"The difference between genius and stupidity, is that stupidity has no limits!"

Albert Einstein

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#102130 - 10/03/16 10:55 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
another close one....lost this one 2-3 and had the lead for a chunk of the game. We have one game left and play it on Wed. against the team we played first game of the year and lost 2-6. I'm curious to see what this outcome will be. I'm completely positive that we're a better team and I'm sure they are too after a full season. Seems that right as we're making progress the season comes to an end.

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#102136 - 10/04/16 06:18 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
coachkev Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 5331
Loc: UK
Nice time to do the "WE'VE REACHED THIS MOMENT" speech

You know, the one that goes "Today, we are at the moment we all spoke about at the beginning of this season - ALL the hard work and sacrifices have brought us all here - the game that will define us for our future......the day we ALL made it count...."

Theres a lot more but its worth a try

Good Luck

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#102144 - 10/06/16 10:44 PM Re: new coach.....lots of questions [Re: 0rion]
0rion Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/10/16
Posts: 14
lost 3-7 so I guess about the same. That doesn't really tell the whole story. It was actually 3-5 with just a few minutes left. We had a girl on our team that asked to play goalie every single game this year. She's completely incapable of playing goalie. I let her play goal during practice once hopefully to convince her that it wasn't for her. Didn't work....she still asked every game. Few minutes left in the last game of the year and wasn't looking like we were going to make it up so I put her in goal. Made her season. She quickly gave up 2 goals though haha.
The other difference was our 3 goals were by 3 different players. My daughter had a beautiful redirect goal. The kids started getting it there towards the end of the season and you would see more and more attempts to get a pass to someone for a shot. They still were just leaps and bounds behind the other teams on basics. You can't learn that stuff in 10 games and about about as many practices.


I still stand by my earlier statement....this was it for me as far as coaching. I have no desire to do it again. If the league was a little more evenly divided it would be different but in it's current state I don't see that happening.

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