Ok, yesterday was the first practice of the year, but it really didn’t count. Well, the girls got out and ran and kicked and got caught up with each others lives. So that part is like a normal practice.
But this practice was not run by me. I was mostly a bystander while the club’s professional coach ran all the select teams thru some agility drills and other core strengthening exercises.
I praised, urged, sprinted 100 yards with the girls, but beyond that, it wan’t my practice.
But it was the first practice of the season. You could tell. Kids who had spent the winter playing basketball were more than willing to pick up the ball with their hands and throw it to people. Hands were preferred, not feet. That’s to be expected. But now they are mine for 3 moths (insert evil laugh). We must get the basketball out of their heads.
From a coaching perspective, the first practice is where you try to get them prepared to train hard. You start with a conversation, hoping some of it sticks.
I took my U12 aside and told them to push themselves today, so they would hurt and be sore today. That way in the games to come, they would be rested.
Back in the day, when I was in high school, my soccer team ran more than the schools cross country team and we hated the preseason. One mile under 6 minutes starting at 7 AM! Morning practice for 3 hours. Afternoon run of 2 miles under 13 minutes. Two hour afternoon practice. Starting at 6, 5.4 mile run on a trail in under 50 minutes. Three weeks straight of that.
I remember going home the first day feeling great. Sore, but peppy from what I accomplished that first day.
And then I woke up the next day.
The blankets were so heavy. My legs so rigid. Oh, the pain. But somehow I would get back out to the field at 7am and start running again. Once I moved, the soreness subsided (or all feeling was lost.)
Yesterday, the kids spent 45 minutes doing some agility drills, then 15 minutes of wheel barrels and crunches. Then, they spent a half hour playing some sloppy keep away and some 4 on 4… but the girls laughed and rolled around on the ground. Feet were stepped on, knees banged together, butts were jammed into guts… all good first practice aches that will eventually get more intense and require ice.
But the first practice wasn’t for instilling our new offense or correcting some of our defensive quirks. It was for getting the team back together. Have them socialize. Have them kick a ball. Have them run a bunch.
I asked X today how she felt. “I don’t get sore,” she said.
I think that was a challenge for the second practice.