Let Them Lead
We talk a lot about how kids today lack the soft skills needed for the future. "They don't know how to problem solve", "they can't work as a team", "bullying is everywhere because kids don't know how to treat one another," you get the idea. We also talk a lot about how sports can help bridge that gap that has been created. Recently, I had a coach at our Roosevelt location describe sports helping to turn out players into leaders.
After noting that this season has been more of a challenge for the group than they have experienced in the past, he describes what happened on a rainy day at the fields:
"I'd like to take a moment to give a massive shout out to our kids over at Roosevelt. Yesterday our numbers were slightly lower than usual, but as we were getting ready to start practice the 3-5 and 6-8 groups came together, organized themselves, and started a full-sized game all on their own. After witnessing fair play, sportsmanship, communication with each other, and using the techniques and skills they've learned over the last few weeks I felt no need to disrupt the game. Everyone between both age groups was included in the game, and they were playing so well that they played the full hour and half. No questions asked. The only times the coaches had to step in were to decide on corner/goal kicks and keeping the pace of the game going."
In so many ways, this coach described the essesence of all the amazing things that sports can teach. The players, on their own, figured out how to organize themselves, how to include players of all ages and levels together, how to lead themselves and their peers, and how to regulate the experience. It was all them.
One of our goals at Algonquin Sports is for our coaches to guide our players enough so that they become leaders. Sports are a catalyst to teach these skills. Our players will one day lead their communities and on the fields they have the ability to explore and develop those skills.
They may still be young, but because of their efforts over the season and the guidance of trusted adults who believed in them, our players are learning valuable skills for the future.